10 unexpected experiences trekking the Great Wall

October 28, 2019

Charity Challenge’s Marketing Manager, Jenny, had many wonderfully unexpected experiences on the Great Wall Discovery Challenge. She’s shared her top 10, so anyone thinking of joining this challenge can have a better idea than she did about what they are going to experience.

When I decided to join the Great Wall Discovery Challenge earlier this year, I thought I had a good idea what I was in for. I expected to challenge myself physically walking on the uneven steps of the wall for five days straight. I knew I’d meet incredible people who would inspire me. The encounters with squat toilets were also (unfortunately) not a surprise.

However, there was so much more to the challenge than I ever could have expected. It turned out the unexpected was what made the Great Wall Discovery Challenge such a magical experience.

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Great Wall Trek with Charity Challenge

September 30, 2019

Charity Challenge invited photographer and blogger, Philipp Ammon, to join the Great Wall Discovery Challenge. He was blown away by the experience it provided. Especially getting to know the incredible other people on the Great Wall trek, who’d signed up to make a difference.

Great Wall Discovery with Charity Challenge

I’m truly at my happiest when I’m outside, exploring the world for all it has to offer. For me, nothing beats the challenge of an open trail, the sights of mountains, lakes oceans and rivers. I love learning about cultures and their customs all while being immersed in the very environment that has had such an impact in shaping them. It makes me feel more connected to humankind and this planet. It’s what inspires me to care more about those around me and our planet.

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Top Packing Tips for the Sahara Desert Trek

August 7, 2019

You may envisage yourself trekking the Sahara Desert in shorts, t-shirts and sunglasses (and there definitely is some of this!). But we spoke to a group of recent participants and their packing tips for the Sahara Desert Trek contained a few unexpected items.

Make sure you’re ready for your Sahara Desert Challenge by following these recommended packing tips.

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20 Top Tips to Travel Responsibly!

July 2, 2019

Check out the Charity Challenge top tips to help you travel responsibly on your next challenge. Make the world a better place, in more ways than one.

20 tips to travel responsibly

  1. Take a reusable water bottle. Fill up a reusable water bottle and take it with you wherever you go to avoid buying single-use bottles. Even better, why not invest in water filtration bottle (such as Water-To-Go) which delivers clean, safe drinking water from any non-saltwater source.
    Drinking Water
  2. Bring your own reusable shopping bag!! We all take our own bags to the supermarkets at home. Take this habit overseas and travel responsibly by remembering to take one with you and avoid collecting more.
  3. Respect locals and their culture. One of the best things about travelling is learning about other cultures, including their dos and don’ts. For example, in Vietnam, public affection – even hand holding and hugging – is seen as highly inappropriate. It’s always great to do a bit of research before you travel, so you can show your respect and avoid any embarrassing slip ups.
  4. Take travel essentials. In many countries, disposable objects like plastics or used toiletries, that you can’t be bothered to take home, are not recyclable. Choose instead, ‘green’ products such as eco-friendly toiletries, reusable bottles and ‘bags for life’ that you can take back home.
  5. Be wary of animal attractions – don’t photograph the animals held captive. Unfortunately, having a photograph taken with a wild animal is common whilst travelling. These animals are heavily sedated so tourists can get up close and personal. They are also usually kept in cramped cages with a poor quality of life. It’s always best to see these animals in the wild and there are plenty of ethical projects out there which can facilitate this in the correct way.
  6. Take what you need! You don’t need to carry big bottles of toiletries, so decant them into small reusable containers meaning that they can be used time and again on trips in the future.
  7. Offset your carbon footprint! Tourism accounts for about 10 per cent of the world’s carbon emissions each year. Consider contributing to an organisation that will offset your carbon footprint such as Climate Care, Gold Standard and Cool Earth. For example, did you know that to fly to Lima via Madrid and back you will expend 3.02 tonnes of CO2 and would cost you about £23 to offset. With companies such as Gold Standard you can offset your travel by donating to project such as Ethiopian Forest regeneration and fuel-efficient stoves in North Darfur.
  8. Shop locally! This is one of the easiest ways to travel responsibly and make a positive impact on the residents of the country you are visiting. Food bought from street vendors is often an authentic, tasty and budget friendly option. Hand crafted souvenirs found in local markets make fantastic gifts so pick these up along the way to support the local economy rather than buying mass produced items at the airport.
    Lady cooking street food in Vietnam
  9. Avoid the parabens! Choose environmentally friendly toiletries to ensure that you are not introducing potentially harmful chemicals into another eco-system. You don’t have to go without, just do some research and buy some eco-friendly products such as soaps and shampoos.
  10. Avoid plastic!! Tanzania and Kenya now ban plastic bags entering their countries.
  11. Respect dress codes. Even though temperatures may be soaring, dress appropriately, especially when travelling through local villages and towns. Remember to cover shoulders and legs before entering temples and religious sites. A shawl or sarong is a great addition to your day pack as it is lightweight and can be used as a cover up.
  12. Ask before you shoot!! We do mean photographs…. Rather than stopping, putting your camera to your eye and hitting the trigger, put yourself in their place. How would you like someone to come up to you and take your photograph? Many people don’t mind having their picture taken but some do find it intrusive (and others may ask you to pay for the privilege!). Just find out if they don’t mind having their picture taken. And if you’ve promised to send them a copy, please remember to do so.Tourists taking photos in China on the Great Wall
  13. Say no to plastic straws! Plastic straws are a huge contributor to unnecessary plastic pollution. Being easily carried by the wind, they often end up in waterways and oceans. They’re also prone to breaking into small pieces which releases harmful chemicals into the soil. If you prefer to use a straw, we suggest investing in a set of reusable stainless-steel straws. They’re available in a range of colours so you can sip your favourite drink in style.
  14. Be responsible when you are away! It’s easy to fall into bad habits and forget about usual recycling routines when you are away. Ideally, don’t take anything that you need to leave behind! Take only what you need and keep the weight of your luggage to a minimum. This not only helps reduce carbon emissions but also helps to reduce the amount of waste you might be tempted to leave behind.
  15. Respect the environment. Don’t be tempted to ‘take a bit home’! Avoid the temptation to pick up ‘souvenirs’ from the beach, national parks or archaeological sites. Take your rubbish back with you and pick up any that you see on the trail. Remember the principle of ‘Leave no trace’.
  16. Conserve water. When showering and brushing your teeth, don’t leave the water running! Put water into a cup and use that for brushing your teeth or turn the tap back on to rinse your mouth. And when in the shower don’t leave the water running when you scrub your body or shampoo your hair as this water goes to waste. Instead, turn the water off until it’s time to rinse yourself off.
  17. Bargain respectfully! Remember that often goods are hand-made, so offering a very low amount could be offensive. Decide on a price that you would be happy to pay and stick with that. If you decide that their final price is too high, then simply decline politely and explain that it is just a little out of your price range.Shopping in the markets in Peru
  18. Learn the Lingo! A little effort goes a long way and even learning hello, goodbye and thank you in the language will be appreciated. Either swat up before you leave or ask some of the locals that you meet to teach you the key phrases. Trust us, it won’t go un-noticed.
  19. Dispose of litter/waste properly. Taking in the beautiful scenery is one of the highlights of travelling, make sure you are play your part in keeping it pristine. Add a small bag to your day pack so that you can pop any waste into it. Dispose of you rubbish responsibly when you reach your destination in the evening. At the start of your trip, ask the local team about the recycling options so that you can sort your waste before you throw it out.
  20. If you want to give, give the right way! We all like taking something from home to offer out as gifts which is great. However, please don’t take sweets to hand out to children. Not only is it bad for their teeth, but it can encourage begging. Ask us if there are useful gifts that you could take out on your challenge for your hosts, local people or schools. What’s even better, you may be able to purchase these things once you arrive which then means support to local traders and businesses giving money to the local economy.

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Interview with the boss: 20 years of running Charity Challenge

June 26, 2019

20 years of running Charity Challenge has given Simon Albert many amazing opportunities to travel the world, meet the Queen, and share incredible experiences with his sons. But helping others raise money for charity and achieve their own personal goals has always been Simon’s chief motivator for running Charity Challenge.

In celebration of Charity Challenge’s 20th birthday, we grabbed an interview with the boss, to reflect on what makes the company he started 20 years ago special.

Charity Challenge founder, Simon Albert, on the Great Wall of China

How and why did you start Charity Challenge?

I participated in two trekking challenges in my early 20s, climbing Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and trekking through the desert in Jordan to reach the incredible ancient city of Petra. These were amazing experiences. I made loads of new friends and ticked off two things on my bucket list. I wanted to do more.

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June 18, 2019

Women are “Out-Toughing Men” Reports Fundraising Travel Company As It Launches New Challenges to Mark Milestone Anniversary

  • Demand for Charity Challenges has Grown 92 per cent in Five Years
  • Women are “Out-Toughing” Men
  • Adventurers are Seeking Travel Challenges Closer to Home
  • New Challenges for 2019 include an Uncharted Kilimanjaro Climb, a Trek in The Alps & a Trekking, Cycling and Kayaking Combo in The Lake District

Fundraising tour operator, Charity Challenge is celebrating its milestone 20th anniversary by revealing a raft of travel trends and launching three brand new challenges for 2019.

Charity Challenge has trawled through 20 years of booking data to reveal that women are “out-toughing” men. They’ve also found challenges closer to home are booming in popularity and, overall, demand for Charity Challenge expeditions is greater than ever.

“In the past 20 years, Charity Challenge has helped tens of thousands of individuals to achieve incredible personal goals. While also raising in excess of £55,000,000 for more than 1,800 worthwhile causes globally,” said Simon Albert, Director of Charity Challenge. “In the past five years, alone, we have seen the number of people taking on challenges with us grow by 92%. Continue Reading…