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OVERVIEW

What to expect

ITINERARY

What you will do

COSTS

Ways to pay

INFORMATION

All you need to know

Everything you need to know

This page provides you with a variety of information about the challenge that you might find useful.

Level of Difficulty

Money

Visa

Vaccinations

Flights

Insurance

Group Size

Leadership

Climate

Terrain

Luggage allowance and valuables

Responsible Tourism

Typical day

Accommodation

Food & Drink

Clothing and equipment

Toilets

Phone and WiFi

Safety

Emergencies

Training

Training Weekends

Level of Difficulty

The Beyond the Grand Canyon challenge is graded as Challenging. This is the perfect challenge for participants who are of an adventurous spirit and an open mind, but perhaps haven’t taken on a strenuous challenge event before and are hoping to push themselves out of their comfort zone. You could tell your supporters that during the Beyond the Grand Canyon challenge you will be:

  • Trekking between 5-6 hours a day.
  • Manoevering through tunnels and ladders that are not for the faint hearted.
  • Experiencing high temperatures of up to approximately 30 degrees
  • Actively participating in the setting up of camp and preparation of meals.

Money

Currency: US currency is the U S Dollar. For an up to date currency exchange, go to www.xe.com.

Credit Cards: Credit Cards are very widely accepted in restaurants, shops and hotels. Most types of cards are accepted (preferably Visa and MasterCard). Outside of major cities, credit cards are not as widely accepted. Please ensure you carry enough cash with you.

ATMs: You will have access to ATMs on arrival at the airport and at the end while in Las Vegas, but otherwise access outside of the major cities will be limited. Please ensure you carry cash with you.

How much to bring: All accommodation and meals are included within the price of the trip, as well as water during the days of your trek. You will not need to carry a lot of money with you during the challenge and other than at the start and end of the trip, you will be in the mountains away from any foreign exchanges or banks. You will only need money for tips, any additional food & drink, and gifts & souvenirs

Tipping: Tipping is personal and at your sole discretion. You should only tip if you feel that you have received good service. However, guides in the US rely on tipping as part of their wage as it is customary in the country. We recommend approx. US$10 per person per day (about US$70 in total) and this should be given to the challenge leader at the end of your trek, for distribution among the team.

Visa

From 26 October 2004, all British passport holders, travelling to the USA under the Visa Waiver Programme will need a full ten-year machine-readable passport valid for a further 6 months from the end of your expedition. All those travelling under the Visa Waiver Programme arriving by air or sea should provide details online at least 72 hours before travel. This is known as an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation or ESTA. If you don’t have an ESTA you’ll be refused travel to the USA. For more information, and to apply online, visit the official ESTA website.

Vaccinations

For up to date vaccination information please check the NHS ‘Fit for Travel’ website: http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/home.aspx. Although the Charity Challenge team are travel professionals, they are not medical experts and we would encourage you to visit your GP or travel nurse to discuss vaccination requirements.

Flights

You will be flying from London Heathrow to Phoenix. The flight is about 11 hours. You will return from Las Vegas to London Heathrow. Your flight tickets will be issued upon departure at the airport.  If you choose to book your own flights you must confirm with the Charity Challenge office before paying otherwise you may be liable for your included group flights (please contact flights@charitychallenge.com for further assistance).

Insurance

It is a condition of booking that you have a suitable travel insurance policy whilst participating on the challenge. We have a special policy which covers among other things, medical (emergency, evacuation and repatriation) arrangements, cancellation and curtailment of the challenge, and more specifically for the adventurous activities undertaken on this challenge. If you have your own travel insurance policy, you must ensure that it provides at least the same level of cover as our recommended policy, including protecting the charity in the event of your cancellation 56 days or less prior to departure. If you choose not to purchase our recommended policy when you book we will send you a disclaimer which you should complete and return.

For more general travel insurance questions, please refer to our main FAQs page.

Group Size

We can run this trip with 10-14 people, but there will be a small group supplement of £75.00. This is payable by your charity if you book under the Minimum Sponsorship or Flexi options, and by yourself if you choose the Self Funder option. We will notify you 12 weeks before departure if this is necessary.

Leadership

There will be an English-speaking challenge leader who will be responsible for the logistics and co-ordination of your challenge. There will also be numerous local support staff to assist them. The challenge leader will be ultimately responsible for the running of the itinerary and the safety of your group.

Climate

We run our challenges during spring and late summer. The temperatures are still comfortable having highs of 28 degrees and lows of 0 degrees during the evening. Remember that some areas are very dry and it can get very hot during the day, so wearing sun protection and being hydrated is of paramount importance.

Terrain

You will experience a variety of terrains as you trek through rocky mountains and across deserts. Some days you will be required to walk through some narrow tunnels and ladders.

Luggage allowance and valuables

The luggage allowance will depend on the airline we are using for your challenge, but in general it will be one piece of checked baggage at around 23kg. However, we suggest that for our Beyond the Grand Canyon challenge you should only need around 15kg-17kg. If you don’t need it, don’t bring it, is a good rule. Carry your passport with you and make sure you have a photocopy of your documents (travel insurance etc.) in case they get lost or damaged.

Responsible Tourism

At Charity Challenge we are committed to sustainable and responsible tourism, and work closely with bodies such as the International Porter Protection Group and Climate Care to ensure that our challenges benefit the local environments and communities in which they take place. We ensure that all rubbish is disposed of responsibly, and following local guidelines on cultural and environmental protection and respect, we aim to limit our impact on the natural environment. In addition to taking these practical steps to ensure that our challenges are sustainable, we also make a contribution each year to a number of local community projects, so as to give something back directly to the communities that we visit. Since 2000 we have donated almost £200,000 to such projects, supporting a range of initiatives, including schooling for children in Africa, shelter for street children in Brazil, and Orang-utan conservation in Indonesia. We recommend that any gifts brought over for children are given to the UK challenge leader and distributed where needed by them and our local Ground Agent. If you wish to do more, you should consider buying drinks, postcards and souvenirs from the local vendors. For many, it is their sole source of income. For more information, please visit our Responsible Tourism section..

Typical day

In order to visit all the sites included on the itinerary, large distances need to be covered by road transfer. Please be prepared for long road transfers. During the trekking days you rise early and pack up camp after breakfast, then trek carrying only daypacks for 4-6 hours. There will be packed lunches en-route and there will be plenty of time to stop and view the remarkable scenery. The trek zone is remote and rare flora and fauna will be seen. The evenings are spent in beautifully located camps in the forests and canyons. You will be asked to set up your own tents and help in the cooking and cleaning up afterwards.

Accommodation

In Phoenix,Kingman and Las Vegas we stay in comfortable rooms of tourist class standard hotels. During the trek you will camp in spacious two person tents with waterproof floors, and at campsites you will be expected to pitch in and set up your tents as part of your challenge. If you are travelling with a friend or partner who you wish to share with, please let Charity Challenge know in advance. If you would like your own room, this can be arranged but there will be a single room supplement, but please note that a single tent supplement is not available on this challenge.

Food & Drink

As part of your challenge experience, is the active role the group will be playing in assisting with the camping set up, food preparation and cleaning up.

Breakfast usually includes cereals, bread and fresh fruit, tea and coffee. Lunches will  be a self-made pack lunch to be carried in your daypack with snacks. Dinners are cooked in camp and always include a soup or salad, main course and a dessert. Vegetarian food is accommodated for. The 2 dinners in Havasu Canyon are very basic as we lack refrigeration here, and so they will usually be a version of pasta, rice or something that doesn't require cool storage.  Please let Charity Challenge know prior to departure if you have any specific dietary requirements or allergies.

Clothing and equipment

Good quality, durable kit could mean the difference between a fantastic challenge experience and an uncomfortable one. For this challenge, waterproof, well-worn in boots will be indispensable, particularly coupled with some really good quality walking socks. The benefits of a comfortable day sack cannot be underestimated, so make sure that you train with this. Other essentials are a high quality gore-tex waterproof jacket and technical/wicking t-shirts rather than cotton shirts. A full kit list for this challenge can be found here, and once you book you will have access to kit discounts with our partners The Outdoor Shop, Outdoorhire and Cotswold Outdoor.

Toilets

While hiking we will use the bushes and bury our waste with a small portable trowel while carrying out toilet paper. While camping in the wilds we will have a portable toilet set up for the group’s use. Otherwise we will have access to organised toilet facilities. The toilet facilities in the Havasu Canyon are often not as clean as you may desire, but are to be expected in this rural area. While in Havasu Canyon, you can wash (without soap) in the creek and waterfalls. There is always a washbasin for personal use in case you feel you must use soap. This wash water must be disposed of at least 30m from any water source so to avoid contamination of surface water.

Phone and WiFi

Apart from Phoenix and Las Vegas, you will have limited phone and WIFI reception throughout the challenge.

Safety

Charity Challenge considers the safety of all of our participants and staff to be a top priority, and as such we have set up Challenge Safe, one of the most advanced and thorough safety management systems in the industry. Challenge Safe formalises our ethos when it comes to safety, and brings together the procedures and risk management strategies that we use to audit all aspects of our challenges, from vehicles to accommodation to the challenge activity itself. Your welfare is absolutely paramount!

In terms of your Beyond the Grand Canyon Challenge, there are a couple of important points that you should be aware of:

  • You will be walking through different terrain (rocky, flat, and mountainous)
  • There are some ladders within the national parks that are wooden, screwed into the rock. We have vetted their safety but would advise people with a fear of heights to be mentally prepared for this. There are options to avoid the ladders.
  • There will be some river crossings in the itinerary.
  • You will be expected to participate in the setting up of camp and meal preparations
  • You will experience high temperatures during the day and low temperatures at night.

Emergencies

The event is not run as a race and there is always a large discrepancy in people’s walking abilities, which are catered for. A group member will bring up the rear and the group will try to stay together as much as possible.  Back up support can be brought in, in the event of an emergency. Your guides will aim to keep in contact with the various National Parks’ Authorities along the trail. We will carry a first aid kit.

Training

Training and fitness are definitely required. Anyone who leads a fairly active and moderately healthy lifestyle should be OK ‘as long as they train regularly over a period of at least three months’ leading up to the expedition. Don’t forget that the temperature and the altitudes are different from the UK - the highest area en route is 2700m (8859ft). While strength is important, endurance training should be your primary focus. Walking up hills and climbing stairs are both ways to condition your lower body. Begin slowly, without the weight of a pack, eventually adding weight as you increase your training pace. Take a long hike (6-8 hours) several times with a weighted pack, up and down hills or on small mountains (weigh your pack with water containers and pour out the water before your descent to minimise knee stress). You can also look to join one of our training weekends.

Training Weekends

We offer superb training weekends across various locations in the UK, from Saturday morning to Sunday afternoon. These training weekends not only help you become physically prepared for the challenge, but our experienced instructors and leaders will talk you through your clothing and equipment, camp craft, health and wellbeing, trekking skills (walking on different terrain/at altitude/at night/using walking poles), teamwork on expedition and many more themes designed to make you get the most out of your challenge. The weekends are great ways for you to get out into the mountains of the UK, while also meeting other Charity Challengers and sharing your experiences. Please click here for more details.

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ATOL protected

We hold an Air Travel Organiser's Licence granted by the Civil Aviation Authority. Our ATOL number is 6546. Many of the flight-inclusive challenges on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. This ATOL protection only covers challenges that include flights booked by Charity Challenge and that originate in the UK. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOLcertificate

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