Sunday, October 14, 2007


Recently I lost my way in Bangkok, I had no map and spent several hours wandering through an unknown to me area of the city. As a reward I discovered several cool places that are not listed in Lonely Planet (and probably in no other guide) and are way off the usual tourist paths. This experience inspired the following business idea I had the next day which could be called Lost Tours.

The idea:

Wouldn’t it be great to find yourself in an unknown city, without any maps, just with a cell phone and a special “rescue” number?

This is how it works:

Tourists will be transported in a helicopter (or a car), blindfolded, to special destinations and left there on their own for a certain period of time which should be agreed upon in advance. For example, from one hour to several hours. When the time is over, “lost tourists” would call the rescue number, tell the operator their present coordinates, i.e. name of the street or a building they find themselves at the moment, and a helicopter will fly to pick them up.

The advantage:

Being purposefully lost in an unknown territory provides a special sensory experience of time and place.

You don’t have to worry about losing your bearings in an unknown territory. You know you can be rescued at anytime (just one phone call), and this gives you the freedom to wonder wherever you want – carefree about time and direction. This is Zen-like experience – focusing at what is in hand at the present moment without any destructions (like time pressure, am I going the right way, how do I find the way back, etc.)

This experience especially suits couples who want to have a relaxed romantic adventure.

Also people with not so good sense of direction, who want to have a stress-free adventure.

For those clients who wish to have a more gamely experience, we introduce some playful challenges. For example, using a special map with clues, tourists would have to search the “hot spots” of the area. It could be a cosy restaurant off the usual tourist path, a shop with interesting souvenirs, a bar with live band, etc. To make it especially attractive, the tourists will to pay only a fraction of the full price in the “hot spots”. This can be arranged through a partnership program with the selected businesses.

By the end of the tour clients are transported back to base without blindfolds.


Say you want to spend a few hours in foreign city somewhere in Europe. You don’t want to know in advance what city you want to be flown to (for maximum excitement, of course).

So you go to Lost Tour webpage (or office), fill in a form that would give the company idea of your interests and places you’ve already been to... and your home address.

Next thing, Lost Tour rep picks you up at home, gives you an iPod to cover your ears, blindfolds you… and takes you to your surprise destination (by car, plane or train, etc)…

Once in the area the rep takes awaythe iPod and blindfold and gives you a cell phone to call in case of emergency. With a handshake and “I will see you in a few hours” he leaves you alone and free to go … any direction.

Now, say you are in the middle of some European city, but you are not yet sure which one. You look on the street signs... you listen to people’s language. Aha, this might be Poland or Czech republic…. but what city? You go and ask a passer by: Excuse me, what is the name of this city? The passer by might not speak English or would look at you in surprise. You’re in Prague, my friend!

And you just keep walking enjoying the freedom of being lost. If you see something you want to buy - use your credit card.

Who might be interested to invest in setting up Lost Tours:

Travel agencies (i.e. Thomas Cook and smaller ones), Airlines (Virgin or even local budget airlines), a chain of hotels or a bus / train company.