Creating and running your own tours can be a fun way to see more of the world, travel with like-minded people, fund your hobbies, and turn a nice profit, too.
Dracula fan and tour leader Charles Rosenay (a.k.a. Cryptmaster Chiller Chucky) has a great time taking groups of people to Transylvania to spend the night in Dracula’s castle. They tour medieval villages, learn about the mysterious history of the region, and dress up for a Monster Bash masquerade ball. We featured his tour in yesterday’s issue, here: Unique Story Angles: Four Ghoulish Tours .
I asked Charles how he got started earning a living with his Dracula tour, and if he had any tips for newbies interested in creating tours around their interests. Scroll down to see what he said…
Have a great weekend!
Great Escape Publishing
Interview with The Vampire… Tour Leader
BONNIE: Thanks for joining us, Charles. You live in the U.S., so what drove you to start running a Dracula tour to Transylvania?
CHARLES: Music and Monsters are two of my passions. I’m a fan of The Beatles and have been hosting, organizing, and promoting the “Magical History Tour” to Liverpool for Beatles Fans for 26 years. Liverpool quenched my thirst for travel in a music-themed tour, but because of my love for horror and vampires, I always wanted to visit Transylvania. I figured I wasn’t the only one “batty” enough to want to take a “vampire vacation,” so I started promoting a Dracula Tour, which has turned out to be very successful.
BONNIE: Has Dracula always been an interest of yours?
CHARLES: I’ve loved Dracula, Frankenstein, the Wolfman and all those classic monsters ever since I was young. I still go see every horror and vampire film that comes out, and always dreamed of spending Halloween night in Dracula’s Castle. It became a reality, and people from all walks of life come with me on the adventure and have the time of their lives.
BONNIE: What would you say is the highlight of your Dracula tour?
CHARLES: There is historical, educational, and entertainment value for anyone looking for an unusual week-long ghoulish goth getaway. While mixing the chills and thrills with the cultural aspect of the pilgrimage, we visit Snagov Island, where a secluded monastery contains Vlad’s coffin. (Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia — also referred to as Dracula — used brutal methods of torture. The vampire story is said to have sprung from his legendary cruelty.) There’s a journey to Vlad’s birthplace in the best-preserved medieval town in all of Europe, Sighisoara. The group explores the historic ruins of Vlad’s mountain-top Poenari Castle, along with famed Bran Castle. And ascending up Borgo Pass into the Carpethian Mountains, travelers follow the path of Jonathan Harker, the character described in the Dracula novel.
But the highlight is unquestionably Halloween, when travelers from all over the U.S., Canada, and overseas experience what is the definitive Monster Bash masquerade ball, in the dungeon room at Dracula’s Castle in Piatra Fantanele atop the Romanian Alps. The costume party is preceded by an outdoor bonfire with music by local gypsy musicians. Then there’s a six-course meal. And the evening culminates with a gala monster mash costume extravaganza and dancing into the early morning hours.
It’s a dream come true (or nightmare come true) for fans of Dracula or the horror genre, and is one of the more unique leisure vacations offered for Halloween.
BONNIE: What kinds of people take your Dracula tour?
CHARLES: We have had travelers as young as pre-teens and senior citizens in their 70’s. We get people from all walks of life and all demographics, but there are always a few goths, perhaps a vampire slayer, and maybe even a vampire wannabe. We also get a lot of travelers who have simply done every cruise, traditional sightseeing tour, and organized trip, and are looking for something a little more unique and off-beat.
BONNIE: What would be your number one tip for someone looking to start a tour that revolves around one of their interests? For example, I love dark chocolate, and always thought it would be fun to start a chocolate-lovers tour in France or Switzerland.
CHARLES: Go to the country and meet as many local tour guides as possible. Then build something special around it which fellow enthusiasts and die-hards would enjoy. Anyone could take people to these sites in Romania. We added the fun, novelty and uniqueness by showing movies on the coaches, having a costume ball, hiring actors to do a show, and tapping into features that would interest us. If I were preparing a dark chocolate-themed tour, you can bet I would have taste-test competitions, try to find experts to meet the group, and even get into factories that make the product, or companies that could throw us a party with samples.
BONNIE: Thanks, Charles!
If you have any further questions for Charles about his tours, you can contact him at: DracTours@aol.com or read more about his tours at ToursandEvents.com.
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]