Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
Below you'll find some of our most frequently asked questions on a variety of different topics. Use the sidebar to quick-jump to a topic or use the search bar & buttons below. If what you're looking for isn't here, send us an email or give us a call - we're always here to help!
If you are having any questions or difficulties with your fundraising, you should contact your charity representative directly. They are the experts when it comes to hitting your target and will be able to help you by answering any questions that you may have, putting together a customized fundraising plan with you, or offering advice from previous experience. If you're looking for some inspiration, check out some of our blog posts below!
All challenge places are confirmed 8 weeks before you travel so the deadline will be around this date. If you have any questions regarding your fundraising deadline, then you should contact your charity directly.
If you cancel your place throughout the year, then you will not be obliged to complete your fundraising target. This means that you will never be hit with a bill for the remainder of your fundraising target. If you would like to supplement your fundraising efforts personally, then you are welcome to do so.
If you don’t hit your minimum fundraising target, then you will not be able to travel on your original challenge. You do, however, have the option to defer to a trip leaving for the same challenge at a later date, giving yourself more time to fundraise. If you are interested in this option contact us at email@example.com
If you are worried about hitting your target, then you should get in touch with your charity representative prior to the fundraising deadline and they will be able to discuss all of the available options with you.
Read first hand how some of our trekkers not only reached their fundraising targets... but exceeded them!
Visit our Fundraising Tips Section
Still have a question?
We work closely will all of our partners in-country to ensure that all of your accommodation and transport is of a high standard. We also monitor the US State Department advice for all of the countries that we operate in to ensure that our information is up to date. You can find up to date travel advice from the USSD at their website.
You can also refer to your Challenge Briefing Pack for additional advice on how to ensure you stay safe while you are away.
Although (with the exception of our Kilimanjaro Trek) there will not always be a doctor taking part on your challenge, all guides are trained in emergency response and wilderness first aid.
All of our guides also carry a comprehensive first aid kit at all times.
Yes - all of our main guides will be fluent in English
All of our support staff are paid a fair wage for their efforts. Nonetheless, they do work hard in challenging conditions so, if you feel that they have provided an excellent service, you may consider tipping them. Please refer to your Challenge Briefing Pack for recommended tipping amounts and procedures.
Avoid wearing flashy jewelry and keep your money and valuables well hidden.
Avoid external money pouches, dangling backpacks and camera bags.
When bargaining or discussing prices you should not do so with your money or wallet in your hands.
Don't wander around at night, always stay in a group and use a licensed taxi.
Be skeptical of any strangers who approach you asking if you remember them from the airport, hotel, etc. no matter how friendly the seem.
Keep your bags close to you at all times.
Only exchange money using authorized banks or moneychangers and always insist on a receipt.
Try to learn at least a few phrases in the local language - it will be appreciated.
Keep your money and passport in a safe place at all times.
Don't become involved in drugs of any kind. The penalties for smuggling, possession, purchase, and use of drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines, irrespective of nationality.
If you have any emergencies during US office hours (9:00AM-5:00PM EST) then please call 646-568-9694
For emergencies outside of these hours then please call +44 208 798 0080 to reach our english-speaking 24/7 help line.
Always follow the advice of your guides; they are highly experienced and have been leading teams on all of our challenges for many years.
Take everything nice and slowly. There is plenty of time on each given day to complete the required distance, so there is no need to rush as this will tire you out more than necessary and increase the chance of injury or accident.
If you have any questions or concerns do not be afraid to ask. There is no such thing as a stupid question and it is much harder to help if any potential issues go unnoticed.
We have included a recommended list of supplies specific to each challenge in your Challenge Briefing Pack. The information below, however, can be applied to all of our challenges.
You will need 3 types of bags for your challenge.
Firstly a large hiking pack which will carry all of your extra clothes/sleeping bag etc. which your porter will carry. This can be anywhere between 70-90 liters and should be a soft bag with no frame.
You will also need a smaller day bag/backpack which you will carry each day. This bag will be to hold the essential items that you will need on a day to day basis such as your water, some snacks, sunscreen and valuables. We would recommend that this bag should be no bigger than 24-35 liters
You should also bring an empty, third bag to leave back at the hotel with any items that you won't need on the trekking element of your trip.
No, we will provide all of your camping equipment including your tent. For most of our challenges, however, you will need your own sleeping bag (season 4) and a sleeping mat for comfort if you prefer.
Please refer to the equipment & gear list in your Challenge Briefing Pack for a complete list of what you will need to bring with you and what can be rented in-country.
You will need a set of hiking boots, with good ankle support and a deep tread (remember to break these in before you travel). We would recommend talking to someone at a local outdoor specialist store if you are unsure.
Keeping warm is all about using multiple layers instead of just wearing one large coat. You will stay much warmer by having 4-5 layers on, since you trap in more air and insulate yourself against the cold.
An LED head lamp is vital for your trek. They are brighter and last much longer on their batteries than traditional torches - remember to bring plenty of spare batteries as well!
Yes, however remember there will be limited - if any - opportunity to recharge them so make sure to bring spare batteries. Solar chargers can also be a useful alternative. Sleeping with your electronic items in your sleeping bag can help to keep them warm and preserve the battery life on cold nights.
You will need to drink roughly 5 liters (about a gallon and a half) per day - this is vital to remain hydrated and help your body acclimatize. You can carry your water in regular bottles, in a water bladder, or a combination of both depending on your preference.
While walking poles are not essential, they can be extremely helpful. They help keep you stable when you are tried. For anyone with knee issues, they can take up to 40% of the weight off of your legs. Walking poles are particularly useful when descending and are highly recommended!
Although there will be no access to power on your trek, you will have the opportunity for a quick charge in the hotel before and after your trek, so make sure you bring along an appropriate adapter.
We recommend not bringing valuables with you on your trip at all. But if you must, please make sure to keep them secure and on you at all times.
Firstly --We would definitely recommend asking your friends/family to see if you are able to borrow any supplies that you think may not use again after this trek! (sleeping bags, trekking poles, etc.)
If you would like to rent... then you can rent items of equipment locally from our overseas support staff upon arrival. We have highlighted the items that can be rented and their price in your Challenge Briefing Pack.
While you will want to ensure that you are nice and comfortable for your flight, we recommend wearing some of your trekking essentials.
For example, wearing your boots will save weight and space in your bag and will mean that if, for any reason, your main bag is delayed in reaching your final destination, you will still be able to start your trek with the rest of your group.
You will need to ensure that the name you have registered with us matches that on your passport exactly. You will need to make sure that your passport is valid for at least 6 months from your return date.
If you have renewed your passport then you will need to provide us with your new passport number. You may also need to make sure you have the valid visa for the country you are travelling to. Please refer to your Briefing Pack or our visas FAQ for further information.
You will receive your flight details 5-6 weeks before departure. All of our international flights leave from a New York City based airport (Newark Liberty International or John F. Kennedy International) unless stated otherwise on your flight details.
As a rule of thumb - whether you're traveling with us or are on your own personal travels in the future - it's always good arrive at the airport no later than 3 hours before an international flight is scheduled to depart. Make sure you check the flight status in case of changed departure times in the days leading up to your flight.
You will not be issued with an airline ticket. You will be able to check in using your Passport and Airline Booking Reference number.
Please check with your airline regarding baggage weight restrictions.
Food & Drink
Food & Drink
All your main meals and water will be provided on your challenge. Please refer to your Challenge Information Pack to see which meals are provided before and after your challenge.
All of the water provided by us on your challenge is safe to drink.
However, you may choose to treat your water with water purification tablets of filter it using special water bottles as a matter of personal preference.
You should aim to drink between 3 and 5 liters (at least a gallon) of water per day. We would recommend upping your intake of water in the weeks leading up to your challenge so that your body is used to drinking that much water by the time you are on your trek.
Hydration is extremely important. Drinking plenty of water while trekking will replace the fluids lost through sweating, help your body to acclimatize to any effects of altitude and regulate the chemical balance in your body.
It is a matter of personal preference as to how you would like to carry your water.
Water bladders are convenient as they allow you to drink and walk at the same time, but they can be trickier to keep clean. Wide mouth or sports cap water bottles will also work fine. We recommend carrying a combination of the two, so you can carry at least 3 liters of water at once and not have to refill often.
Always stick with bottled water rather than drinking from the tap. We would also recommend avoiding ice in any drinks that you may have.
We would advise avoiding alcoholic and highly caffeinated drinks before and during your challenge as they can dehydrate you and affect your sleeping patterns.
Keeping energy levels up is extremely important on trekking days. Altitude can cause loss of appetite, but it is important to eat at all mealtimes. Even if you are not feeling hungry or are nauseous, try and eat something; even if it’s just a cereal bar!
Good snacks to eat include:
Dried fruit & nuts
& many more
We'd recommend bringing some comfort snacks for if times get tough!
Visas & Currency
Visas & Currency
American nationals do not need to apply for visas for travel in Peru before their arrival in Cusco.
You can find the step-by-step and checklist for applying for your visa here. We suggest applying for an ordinary tourist visa.
You can apply for a visa in person, by mail or on arrival. We ask that you apply for a 30-day tourist visa and recommend doing so in advance.
You will be able to use ATMs in major towns and airports while on your challenge - however you should not rely on your card as you might in the US. For the majority of your trip you will need to rely heavily on cash.
It is always a good idea to inform your bank that you will be traveling abroad to ensure that your card will work. VISA is the most widely accepted form of credit or debit card. Some other cards may not be accepted.
You will be able to change most major currencies in main towns and airports. You will most likely be able to withdraw local currency from local ATMs. We recommend withdrawing cash and making exchanges before you leave. If you are looking to use an ATM while you are away then we would recommend letting your bank know.
NOTE: Only ever exchange money using authorized banks or money changers and always insist on - and check - receipts for your transactions.
Please refer to your Challenge Briefing pack for for the local currency in the country that you will be traveling to. US Dollars are also widely accepted in the destinations that Choose a Challenge travels to.
If you are using US dollars abroad then please ensure that they are issued after 2001 and in reasonable condition to avoid any issues with them being accepted.
Health & Fitness
Health & Fitness
When registering for your challenge, please indicate if you have a pre-existing condition and what this condition is. We always recommend you see your doctor and provide them with the itinerary of the trip so they can make an informed recommendation. Four months before your departure we send relevant medical declarations from registered participants to our trip doctors who will also make recommendations as to the ability for a participant to continue with taking on our challenge. If we cancel your spot on a trip because of pre-declared medical reasons, you will always receive a full refund of any fees paid regardless of the time of cancellation.
The fitter you are, the more you will enjoy your challenge. It is very difficult for us to provide an exact fitness-training program as it very much depends upon your personal preferences. Any fitness training should incorporate the following:
Aerobic training: Jogging, walking, cycling, swimming and gym sessions will help to build your general level of fitness. Build up your schedule steadily with it peaking towards the time of your departure. Make sure that you wind down your training a couple of weeks before you travel so that your body has time to rest in preparation for your trek.
Strength training: Weights are a good way to build strength in your legs, which will help you on the tough days of your challenge. If you are a member of a gym then ask an instructor to help devise a program for you.
Flexibility: This can be improved by a program of stretching exercises which will help you avoid any small injuries. For something different, try Pilates or Yoga classes. Stretching in the morning before breakfast is a great way to start your day!
Anaerobic training: High intensity interval training can really help to increase your strength and stamina.
Getting a few long walks/hikes in as part of your training program is highly recommended. On these long walks make sure you break in the boots that you will be wearing on your challenge and get used to carrying a full daypack.
Check out our Top 5 Tips on training for your trek here
On your challenge, washing facilities will be very basic. For the most part you will have a bowl of warm water to wash up with in the morning.
Please bring eco-friendly traveler's shampoo and soap and use them sparingly. We also recommend bringing biodegradable bath tissue to use throughout the trek.
Generally there will not be toilets between campsites, but please try and use the facilities provided as much as possible.
Nothing ruins a trek like an upset stomach. In order to avoid becoming ill while you are away, we recommend following these simple steps:
Carry hand sanitizer at all times.
Be sure to clean your hands before all meal times.
Keep an eye on the lids of your water containers. If they fall in the dirt then be sure to clean them with a sterile wipe.
You may wish to consider the option of taking Diamox. However, you should speak to your doctor in order to fully understand the pros and cons of taking altitude medication.
Walk slowly. There is plenty of time within each day's schedule, so there is no need to rush. Your guides will deliberately set a slow pace.
Sleep as much as you can. Sleep is an important part of the acclimatization process allowing your body to adjust. Avoid coffee or alcohol and make sure that you have enough layers to be warm at night. Make sure that you have a comfortable sleeping mat and something to use as a pillow.
Drink plenty of water. Adequate hydration is essential to allow your body to regulate its chemical balance.
Eat small amounts often - even if you don't feel hungry - in order to maintain your energy levels.
Follow the advice of your guides. They are experienced professionals, so they know what they’re doing. Feel free to ask any questions and get their advice along the way. Please also follow their advice when it comes to things such as food and medication.
The most common effect of trekking at high altitudes is a headache. Other mild to severe symptoms can include nausea, lack of appetite, insomnia, vomiting, and low energy levels.
If you are feeling unwell at any point during your challenge, please inform one of the guides straight away - even if you think that is is something minor.
We want to try and make sure that everyone remains fit and healthy while trekking and even minor ailments can become more severe if not dealt with quickly.
Always refer to a doctor or travel nurse for advice on medical preparations. You can also refer to the Center for Disease Control website for an overview of what is suggested.
Responsible & Ethical Tourism
Responsible & Ethical Tourism
Our policy is to carry out & throw away all non-biodegradable trash. Biodegradable trash should be left in the appropriate containers/bags. Please do not leave foods like apple cores and banana skins on the ground.
While trekking, there are generally no toliets between camps, so please try and use official toilets where possible. If you are caught short then please dispose of any toilet tissues appropriately in containers or bags.
Please do not hand out money to beggars. Giving to a local charity is far more effective and reduces expectations and reliance.
Haggling is all part of the fun when buying souvenirs abroad, but try not to be over-aggressive about prices that are relatively inexpensive to begin with. It may not seem like much to you, but it is someone else's living! Besides, a broad grin and a sense of humor are far more likely to get you the discount that you want.
If you would like to purchase any souvenirs then we suggest buying locally-made crafts that support local skills. Avoid buying items that exploit or threaten endangered wildlife species (e.g. ivory or "ancient artifacts"). These probably wouldn't be anywhere near as ancient as the vendor may imply.
Don't purchase any seashells or animal skins (e.g. snake skins) as you will be stopped at the airport.
Try not to damage any plants or trees that that you see along the route of your challenge. Any wild animals that you encounter should not be fed or disturbed.
Choose a Challenge is fully aware of the social and economic issues that can be associated with tourism in the developing countries our challenges take place. We only work with local ground operators who are ethically responsible and who support community tourism projects. Welfare of the porters is a top priority and our local partners are monitored to ensure standards are adhered to.