Boot scootin’ ‘n’ bull ridin’ - all the bucket list things to do down south in the USA

Published June 21st, 2017

After listening to her friends brag about the fun they get up to working for Universal Traveller, consultant Tiaan Gliddon decided to jump aboard and hasn’t stopped travelling since.

Her latest SF adventure has taken her boot scootin' in the USA; she tells us what it was like riding mechanical bulls and eating Texan BBQ down south with Contiki….

Could you tell us a little more about your recent trip to the USA?

I did the Contiki - "Boot, Scoot ‘N’ Blues" trip, the very first one ever ran! This trip changed my life (as cheesy as it sounds). Travelling on my own definitely challenged me- but life starts at the edge of your comfort zone!

We began the trip in Fort Worth and stopped in Austin, Houston, San Antonio, New Orleans, Memphis and Nashville. The trip has a focus on music, which meant we visited things such as Graceland, the Country Music Hall of Fame and a Live Jazz performance in New Orleans (plus tonnes more).

Which was your favourite city and why?

I loved Austin! Texas, in general, took me by surprise actually, but the reason Austin stands out is that Contiki took us stand up paddle boarding on Lady Bird Lake where the beautiful city of Austin is your backdrop!

We ate dinner at a Texan BBQ joint, followed by line dancing classes, riding mechanical bulls and then we hit the nightlife of 6th Street.

What sort of activities or day trips did you get to do?

The inclusions with Contiki were amazing! They really lay it on for their travellers. There were some cool nightlife activities included such as going to Billy Bob's - the largest Honky Tonk in the world, line dancing in Austin, some cool themed dinners, going backstage at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville and a haunted pub crawl in New Orleans.

Each day was packed with activities like stand up paddleboarding in Austin, bicycle tours through each city, haunted cemetery tours, airboat exploration through the swamplands of New Orleans, funky walking tours through each city plus heaps more!

We did get free time for shopping, I saved mine for Nashville as last time I was there we went to the big outlet mall Opry Mills in Nashville - spent a bit too much money this time too!

Any travel tips you would pass onto your BFF?

A travel tip I picked up in general over this trip is to pack an electrical power board - it’s quite often you need to charge your phone, camera and straighten your hair at the same time!

What is your favourite memory from this trip?

I'm not sure if I would say this is my only favourite memory but the one that comes to mind is the day we spent in Austin where we started out cowboy/girl boot shopping. We literally just tried on boots and cowboy hats, took funny photos and had a ball. 10/10 day!!

Did you go on the trip with anyone you already knew?

No, I didn't know anyone on the trip when I left home yet I met 16 legends that I now call my friends. I can’t wait to see them all again at some point on my future travels around Australia!

This trip 100% changed my life, travelling alone encouraged me to come out of my shell and get to know people that I may not normally take the time to have a chat with, and they were all in the same boat as me!

What was the best thing you ate?

FOOD! I feel like I rolled off the plane after my trip! Best thing - probably some Jambalaya in New Orleans!

Now for some career talk; how did you arrive at SF?

I have been with Universal Traveller nearly 2 years now, I came from another brand where I was working for 4 years.

I moved to Universal Traveller because I had some friends within the brand that always talked about how amazing Universal Traveller and its products were (Layby and U-Flexi - 3 free date change blew mind!). Along with them bragging about working in a fun office environment, with a tight knit supportive community.

I was looking at stepping up within the company to further my career and I chose Universal Traveller to move into as an Assistant Team Leader. From there I moved up to a Team Leader role and I haven't looked back!


Having major post travel blues! 2 weeks ago I found myself traveling to the Airport to board my flight for a yet another work trip I had won (not ungrateful I promise!) Little did I know I would spend an epic 10 days with a bunch of absolute bloody legends and have one of the best trips of my life. I am so grateful to have met each of you, every single one of you has left a little footprint melting my ice heart! Take me back 2 weeks ago, so I can relive every bloody moment #contikicowboys #2017ismyyear . . . . #instalike #instagood #instagram #travel #traveling #wanderlust #me #selfie #party #fun #holiday #best #usa #fortworth #takemeback #throwbackthursday #friends #happy #funny #instadaily #instahappy #instatravel

A post shared by Tiaan Gliddon (@tiaan.gliddon) on

Why book with Universal Traveller when you could go online and do it yourself?

First of all, Universal Traveller is full of like-minded travellers so you’re booking with someone that has often already experienced heaps of the trips we offer before and can give you first-hand experience!

We also have some awesome (and exclusive) perks like the ability to layby your holiday! Being able to layby fares has created flexibility for my customers to be able to book now and lock in an amazing deal but then have the luxury of paying off their holiday over time.

Not many discounted airfares even allow a week to pay off yet we’re able to give up to 9 months for customers to pay off their trips! Also, our U-Flexi offers customer Price Drop Protection, so they have the security in the unlikely event the price of their flights comes down - they’re able to use the dollar difference in the form of a voucher to book the rest of their trip.

And of course the three free date changes - these are super handy for our travellers looking for a bit more flexibility! 

Did we catch your interest? Get in touch with our amazing travel experts today or check out our DEALS page for our latest flights, tours & more.

Universal Traveller

Sam Aldenton

Sam Aldenton is a travel writer, digital content creator (read: takes photos/videos with her iphone and sometimes a real camera) and former retail and youth trend forecaster. When she's not off discovering the world’s best pizza (an obsession picked up from her 4-years in New York), she makes her home in Brisbane, Australia. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram at @samaaldenton.