The Stray Story
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I remember my first backpacker bus trip. It was December 1988 with my mates Duncan and Mike. We had 24 hard won passengers to play with on our new thing (which we called Kiwi Experience - which I sold out of about 12 years ago to do Stray). A trip, which has been credited with being the first ever 'get -on get-off' (although we called it 'get off on us') Backpacker Bus Trip - if we had known it was going to be so special we may have remembered to fuel the bus. I remember our second trip. We had no prebookings but as we used to tell people just to turn up, we headed around the Auckland hostels on the morning of departure in our cars anyway. We ended up with 7 backpackers and Gyro the dog in my old VW and Duncan's old Holden for the first 1 1/2 hours of the trip until we picked up a bus...
I remember my first trip around New Zealand for Stray. It was in my old truck with a clean sheet of paper and an open mind to find alternative things for travellers to better show them New Zealand. I remember being blown away by how much great stuff there was out there that people were missing and how much potential there was to offer something great and different. Finding accommodation was one of the biggest challenges we faced in the amazing places like Abel Tasman National Park, Hahei and Raglan and we had to work hard to find suitable options. This is probably why other companies take the easy route and stay in larger towns and cities rather than next to the attractions.
I remember my first Stray travel agents famil (industry slang for showing people stuff). I was with Ceri our sales rep, 28 travel agents, a Stray bus group and a group of Maori school kids at our alternative cultural show.
Ceri said 'Mate you must be so happy' and yes I was. This was the perfect example of the 'down to earth' New Zealand we wanted to get travellers involved in. The great thing is that it was just one of the many things that are unique - that are now our top rating features - that better help adventurous travellers fully experience New Zealand.
Anyway, the point is - we have huge experience and a passion for showing off the real New Zealand. We are now bringing this passion for adventurous, flexible travel to South-East Asia, if you are heading to Thailand, Laos and/or Cambodia and want to get further off the beaten track, check out www.straytravel.asia.
The best thing is, and our customer surveys and reviews prove this - either here in NZ, or in Asia, you will love it!
Neil Geddes, Founder of Stray.