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faqs

Please see below a list of our frequently asked questions. If your question relates to a particular challenge, then please find the challenge you are interested in and click on the ‘q&a’. If your question is not answered here, please click here to contact us.

administration

how are my personal details processed by Charity Challenge Travel Services?

which charity can I support?

I'm going on a Charity Challenge, do I need travel insurance?

I have my own travel insurance policy already. Do I still need to take your recommended policy?

is it safe to book or pay online at www.charitychallenge.ca?

how are challenge places allocated?

Are the flights included in the cost of the challenge?

what do I need to know about organizing my own transport to and from the departure airport to join the group?

what is the minimum age to do a challenge?

how are the cancellation charges applied?

the challenge

how do I convince sponsors that its not a holiday?

what should I expect?

who takes part in a charity challenge?

how fit do I need to be?

what will the accommodation be like?

general

is Charity Challenge TICO registered?

who organizes Charity Challenge?

how much of an impact will my long haul flight have on the environment?

should I just stop flying altogether?

can I organise my own private group?

can I raise money for two charities?

finance

how is the challenge funded?

what is included in the price?

what is not included?

how much sponsorship do I have to raise?

is there any guidance for my charity on receipting?

why do the deposits and sponsorship levels vary for similar challenges?

what if I can't raise the minimum sponsorship?

admin

how are my personal details processed by Charity Challenge Travel Services?

When you complete a booking form, you will provide us with a certain amount of personal data, which we will only process for the purposes of administering and marketing the expedition. Examples of this processing include (but are not limited to): your name, date of birth, passport number, is required for us to book flights and for hotel reservations overseas. Any dietary requirements, allergies, or medical conditions are used for informing the airline, ground handler and tour leader where necessary. Your name, age and address are needed to contact you and ensure that you are of an age to take on the challenge. Please refer to the terms and conditions for more information, or feel free to contact us.

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which charity can I support?

Raising sponsorship requires time and effort, so you need to be passionate about the cause you support. Charity Challenge allows you to choose which charity benefits from your efforts, providing it is registered in Canada. Our website lists many organisations who will welcome your support. Please click here for our associated charities. If you wish to support a charity that is not listed on the website, you can provide us with their contact details and we will introduce them to the Charity Challenge concept.

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I'm going on a Charity Challenge, do I need travel insurance?

It is a condition of booking a Charity Challenge that you obtain a suitable travel insurance policy to cover you for the challenge, with a minimum medical (emergency, evacuation and repatriation) coverage of $200,000.


You must also ensure that any policy purchased covers you for the adventurous activities you will be undertaking on your Charity Challenge (as well as the heights covered at altitude if applicable). It is strongly recommended that the coverage be extended to include cancellation, curtailment, and all other expenses that might arise as a result of loss, damage, injury, delay or inconvenience occurring to you. Please note that until you purchase suitable travel insurance for the challenge, your trip costs will not be covered in the event of your cancellation.

We recommend the all-inclusive insurance plan offered by Manulife Financial Services. They provide cover for all of our challenges, as well as covering both your money and the charity’s money in the event of your cancellation. Here is a copy of our current policy.

Please note that the Manulife policy will not cover our Avenue of the Volcanoes expedition, due to the use of crampons and ropes on the final day. There are other providers out there for treks such as these, so please arrange cover through a separate provider. Insurance will still be mandatory for this challenge.

If you have any questions on the policy or wish to purchase it, please send an email to insurance@charitychallenge.ca.

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I have my own travel insurance policy already. Do I still need to take your recommended policy?

We do appreciate that some of our participants already have a travel insurance policy. There are however, a few reasons why we advise that each person travelling with Charity Challenge has the specialist travel insurance, offered by Manulife, that we recommend*:

1.    The policy specifically covers the adventurous nature of our challenges, e.g. high altitude trekking and cycling and so on. Many alternative policies do not provide cover for some of the activities undertaken by participants on our challenges and will only insure you up to a relatively low altitude.

2.    The way the Charity Challenge trips are funded is unique in the travel market. Your charity can be paying hundreds or thousands of dollars towards your costs. If you were to cancel within eight weeks of the departure, the charity would lose a proportion or, or their whole contribution towards your challenge costs. We have specifically come to an agreement with Manulife Insurance whereby, in these exceptional circumstances, (subject to the cancellation terms), the insurance company, (in the event of a successful claim) would refund you your deposit, and any challenge costs paid out by the charity would be refunded directly to the charity. In this way this unique insurance protects the charity's money as well as yours.

3.    By providing insurance cover which gives adequate medical emergency and evacuation cover, we shall not be faced with a situation where a client may not be quickly and effectively rescued because of inadequate insurance cover. Charity Challenge takes thousands of participants on challenges each year. It would not be feasible to inspect each individual insurance policy to ascertain if it was adequate for all circumstances.

Please note that the Manulife policy will not cover our Avenue of the Volcanoes expedition, due to the use of crampons and ropes on the final day. There are other providers out there for treks such as these, so please arrange cover through a separate provider. Insurance will still be mandatory for this challenge.

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is it safe to book or pay online at www.charitychallenge.ca?

During all the confidential stages of booking and paying online, you will see a padlock icon at the foot of the screen. Your personal information is kept secure by encrypted transmission. www.charitychallenge.ca uses SSL ("Secure Socket Layer") encryption. If have any concerns about booking or paying online please contact our office. 

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how are challenge places allocated?

Each itinerary has a maximum group size, so places are limited and allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.  Once a challenge becomes full, we endeavour to introduce additional departure dates and the latest dates are listed on the website. Please click here to view Departure Dates.

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Are the flights included in the cost of the challenge?

The prices quoted for each challenge do not include your international flights or your transfers to and from your local airports.  All challenges unless otherwise stated are GROUND ONLY challenges that do not include your flight costs.

If you need help organizing these flights, please contact us at info@charitychallenge.ca and we’ll put you in touch with our flight partners at Flight Centre as soon as possible so they can check the options and availability with various airlines for you. Flight Centre offers a best price guarantee and they will beat any comparable quote for the same flight.

Please contact your operations manager or challenges@charitychallenge.ca before booking your flight to confirm the flight schedule is OK to meet the group transfer from the airport. It is advisable to email us with your planned flights so we can check they match the itinerary before you commit and pay for them.

You are advised to book a flexible or refundable ticket as we are not liable for loss due to changes in the group flight schedule.   

Additional notes from the Booking Conditions:  As you are joining the challenge locally (i.e. the country the expedition takes place in) our responsibility does not commence until the appointed time at the designated meeting point on day 1 of your challenge. If you fail to arrive there at the appointed time, we shall not be responsible for any additional expenses incurred by you in order to meet up with the group.

(please contact flights@charitychallenge.ca for further assistance).

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what do I need to know about organizing my own transport to and from the departure airport to join the group?

If you need to travel from other parts of the Canada to join with the group flights, please note that, in the event of a change to a challenge departure date, time, or airport, Charity Challenge is not liable for any penalty charges associated with connecting rail or air fares. We therefore strongly advise you not to incur any non-refundable incidental expenses before we send you final joining instructions between two and three weeks prior to departure. Similarly, you are advised only to book fully flexible connecting transport and other arrangements (such as pre or post tour accommodation) which can be cancelled or changed without charge. If you would like us to organise connecting flights for you, please email flights@charitychallenge.ca.

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what is the minimum age to do a challenge?

 

Participants must be at or over the applicable age of majority according to the laws of their home jurisdiction (country, province, state or territory, as applicable) on the challenge departure date, and be in suitable physical condition to undertake the challenge as set out in the itinerary. Minor participants who are at least 16 years old may also participate in challenges, with the written agreement of, and when accompanied on the challenge by a parent or guardian who is of legal age.

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how are the cancellation charges applied?

Cancellations will incur the following charges: -

Cancellations made 57 days or more before departure (you will lose the deposit).

43-56 days before departure (you will lose 40% of the total challenge cost).

42-29 days before departure (you will lose 60% of the total challenge cost).

28-15 days before departure (you will lose 80% of the total challenge cost).

14 or fewer days before departure (you will lose 100% of the total challenge cost).

Most participants complete the challenge they undertake. However, if you are obliged to cut your challenge short due to ill-health or for any other reason, there is no refund of National Park fees, flight costs (if applicable) and accommodation costs.

Any additional accommodation and/or transfer fees, flight and accommodation costs are your responsibility. Please take a credit card to cover any such unexpected costs. 

The total challenge cost consists of the deposit, second deposit (for Flexi participants) balance, fuel and / or currency surcharge (if applicable) and any extras (ie single room supplement, extension.) Please note that administration fees are non refundable in all cases and do not form part of the total challenge cost. 

Cancellation charges will be calculated as follows:

For Self Funder participants: all cancellation charges will be payable by yourself.

For Flexi Participants:  the above cancellation charges will be comprised of in all cases your deposit and then following that, your balance and any monies paid by the charity up to the respective percentage of loss (ie 60%) Subsequently, the same percentage of cancellation charges will apply to any extraneous services such as single supplements and extensions you have booked and paid for yourself.

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the challenge

how do I convince sponsors that its not a holiday?

None of our challenges could be considered to be a "holiday". You will need to spend months training and fundraising, before undertaking a demanding physical challenge. All three of these elements of Charity Challenge take time effort and commitment. You will be training for many months to get fit, raising thousands of dollars for charity, and then undertaking a physically demanding challenge. How difficult the challenge is, will ultimately be down to you to decide. You could trek or cycle for 6-8 hours each day and for several days, with basic facilities and sometimes at high altitude. Temperatures could drop from +30oC to -20oC within 24 hours. Participating in a Charity Challenge starts long before you depart. It takes time, effort, dedication and commitment and is far from just a holiday. Finally, you have the Self Funding option to pay the full cost of the challenge yourself.

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what should I expect?

Many of Charity Challenge’s host countries are less developed than Canada. Internal infrastructures are often limited; roads are rough and facilities basic. We maintain the highest standards of hygiene (that a wilderness environment permits), but if you’re after a five-star holiday, forget Charity Challenge. If, however, you are seeking an adrenaline-filled adventure abroad, are over the age of majority and relatively active, then Charity Challenge has plenty to offer you.

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who takes part in a charity challenge?

Our challenges are open to anyone over legal age who is capable of undertaking the challenge. Fifteen year-olds (up to the age of majority in their province) can participate in a Charity Challenge if accompanied by a parent or guardian (of legal age). Our most mature clients were a 75-year-old man who successfully completed the Rajasthan Tiger Bike Ride in India and a 72-year-old man who successfully summited Kilimanjaro!

You will need to be relatively fit, should have an active sense of adventure, be willing to help in camp activities, and have a positive and flexible approach to adventure travel.

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how fit do I need to be?

The very nature of the Charity Challenge means a certain level of fitness is required. Our challenges are designed to be demanding, as you need to earn your sponsorship money, so getting fit is part of the challenge. Fitness Training notes are available on the website and we recommend you spend two to three months before your trip getting into shape and building up stamina. You do not need to be professional in your chosen sport but the more prepared you are the more you will enjoy the challenge. Only you can judge how fit you are and what you are capable of achieving so be sensible but adventurous. Don’t forget people are sponsoring you to undertake a challenge. Set yourself a stretching but realistic goal.

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what will the accommodation be like?

The accommodation could range from tents on a mountainside, to guest house, to community eco-lodge, to a hotel. Normally, accommodation is with two people (same sex) sharing. Details of each night’s accommodation is given in the full day by day itinerary for each challenge. We always aim to use locally owned accommodation, in order to keep profits from the event within the local community. Let us know on your booking form if there is someone specific you would like to share with.

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general

is Charity Challenge TICO registered?

Charity Challenge is a registered tour operator under the Travel Industry Act, 2002 (Ontario, Canada), under TICO registration number 50019639 and, accordingly, the Ontario Travel Industry Compensation Fund will provide full or partial reimbursement of monies paid to us for travel services that are not provided due to the bankruptcy or insolvency of Charity Challenge or an end supplier airline where a reimbursement has not otherwise been provided, as long as the claim meets certain requirements set forth in Ontario Regulation 26/05 made under the Travel Industry Act, 2002. For further information please go to www.tico.ca/consumer-info/compensation-fund.html

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who organizes Charity Challenge?

Charity Challenge is the concept of, is administered by, and is the trading name of Challenges Un Limited. All challenge arrangements are undertaken by Charity Challenge. Challenges Un Limited are a corporation formed under the laws of England and Wales (Company No. 03786692), carrying on business as a tour operator in the United Kingdom under the trading name CHARITY CHALLENGE, with our head office and sole place of business located at: Northway House, 1379 High Road, London, N20 9LP, England. We also hold a licence under the Ontario Extra-Provincial Corporations Act (Corporation No. 1861783) as Charity Challenge Travel Services.

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how much of an impact will my long haul flight have on the environment?

Virtually everything that we do - including breathing - leads to CO2 emissions, which means we all must do our bit. The public perception is that aviation accounts for the lion's share of these emissions, but this is not the reality. In actual fact, the Stern report says that it accounts for 1.6% of emissions (however  it is more damaging to emit CO2 at altitude, so this is equivalent to 3.2% of emissions). Even the clothes we wear account for more emissions per person (on average) than flying. By comparison, our houses are the biggest source of emissions, contributing a staggering 25 per cent. Possible measures to reduce this include: lagging the atic, using low energy light bulbs or turning down the thermostat by a degree. These are all likely to have a greater impact than to stop flying.

However, Charity Challenge is still doing its bit to counter the impact of long haul flying. Each year we invest funds into Climate Care's award-winning portfolio of carbon reduction projects. See our Responsible Tourism pages to find out more.

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should I just stop flying altogether?

Tourism is the single biggest service industry in the world (1). Nowadays travel and tourism account for 10.4% percent of the world GDP and 8.2% of total employment worldwide (around 231.2 million jobs) (2). For many developing countries tourism is one of the main income sources and a leading source of foreign exchange in 46 of the 49 Least Developed Countries. (3) Therefore, ceasing all travel  to these countries would have a disastrous impact on their economies. Any potential  solution to global warming comes at a cost - renewable energy, cleaner technologies, waste reduction processes, etc. If we cut back on flying altogether, the global economy would crash and investment in these areas would suffer. We at Charity Challenge believe that the solution lies in reducing our emissions by overhauling our daily lifestyles.

(1)  In 2006 international tourism receipts reached US$682.7 billion (Source: World Tourism Organization UNWTO, Tourism Market Trends, 2006);
(2)  World Travel and Tourism Council (2007). Travel and Tourism Navigating the Path Ahead. The 2007 Travel & Tourism Economic Research.
(3)  UNWTO (2007).

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can I organise my own private group?

Yes you can. Many of our challenges are made up of clubs, corporate teams or groups of friends and family members taking part on their own private challenge. Please refer to the private groups section of our website for more information.

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can I raise money for two charities?

No, unfortunately you may only raise money for one Canadian registered charity. Regardless of the payment option you choose we will send an authorization request to your chosen charity so they can confirm they are happy for you to fundraise on their behalf and in their name. All information displayed in your members' area and in any emails will be for your one chosen charity. In addition, if you are participating under the flexi option we will invoice your charity for the balance of your costs and this cannot be split between two separate charities.

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finance

how is the challenge funded?

There are two ways in which you can fund a Charity Challenge:

self funder

With the self funder option, you personally cover the full cost of the challenge, and will be asked to raise a minimum amount of sponsorship for your charity. The full cost is made up of the deposit which is due at the time of booking and the final balance which is due eight weeks before departure. The charity keeps 100% of any sponsorship that you raise.

flexi 

With the flexi payment option, you pay the deposit when booking the challenge and make a further contribution towards challenge costs (the balance) eight weeks prior to departure. 

You also have to raise a minimum amount of sponsorship for your charity. At least 80% of the minimum sponsorship required must be sent to the charity ten weeks before departure, and the remaining 20% within four weeks of completing the challenge.

If you have raised the necessary funds, the charity will then pay the balance of your expedition costs (which will not exceed 25% of the minimum sponsorship target). The charity benefits by keeping the remaining sponsorship money (at least 75% of the minimum sponsorship) and every dollar over and above that you raise.

For example, if the cost of the challenge is $3,000, you pay the deposit at the time of booking the challenge ($1,000), and commit to raise a minimum sponsorship in aid of the charity ($4,000). They must send 80% of the minimum sponsorship to the charity ten weeks before departure (which equates to $3,200). At this time, we will invoice you for your second contribution towards challenge costs (a further $1,000) and will invoice the charity for the remaining amount (25% x $4000 sponsorship = $1,000). Any remaining sponsorship money must then be sent to the charity within four weeks of completing the challenge. The charity typically keeps about $3,000 of the minimum sponsorship and every dollar over and above that you raise.

Please click here to get a diagram explanation of how the finance works.

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what is included in the price?

All accommodation during the expedition (usually twin basis), if camping we provide all necessary communal camping and cooking gear; three meals a day (unless otherwise stated); drinking water on challenge days; entrance fees to national parks or other places of interest visited on the itinerary; internal road and air transfers; all ground staff including English speaking guide, drivers, cooks, and porters; full back-up support including first-aid qualified staff (doctors and paramedics on some high altitude challenges) and first-aid supplies; activity equipment including bikes, tents, and rafts; a donation towards Charity Challenge's local community projects; a contribution towards funding the reduction of carbon emissions through Climate Care's portfolio of award-winning projects; a Charity Challenge T-shirt, public liability insurance and emergency management.

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what is not included?

International flights to and from the point of departure in Canada, transfers to and from the Canadian departure airport; entry visas (if applicable); vaccinations (if applicable); personal equipment; support team tips; personal spending money; overseas airport departure tax (if applicable) and additional activities not included in the itinerary such as excess baggage charges, hotel porterage, all items of personal nature such as laundry, room service charges, drinks, phone calls etc.

Note: We will advise you on the specific requirements of these items in the fact file & Q&A's for your chosen challenge.

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how much sponsorship do I have to raise?

Accepting the physical challenge is just the beginning. To participate, you will also be required to raise substantial sponsorship for the charity of your choice. The level of minimum sponsorship is indicated on each of the itineraries. You will be sent fundraising ideas, a sample sponsorship letter, and sponsorship forms. All money should be sent directly to the charity as and when you collect it. Unless you have covered the full cost of your challenge (self funder option), at least 80% of the minimum sponsorship MUST be sent to the charity eight weeks before departure. If you do not achieve this, you risk losing your place on the challenge. This is a Booking Condition for participating on the Charity Challenge. The balance (i.e. the remaining 20%) should be sent to the charity within four weeks of returning to Canada from your challenge.

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is there any guidance for my charity on receipting?

Please refer to our charity's guide on receipting, which can be found here.

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why do the deposits and sponsorship levels vary for similar challenges?

As our most popular challenges operate throughout the year, some will take place during the destination’s peak season. During this time, air fares and accommodation costs increase. We have addressed this by either increasing the deposit, the balance or the minimum sponsorship requirement. If you have any questions about this, please do not hesitate to contact our office.

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what if I can't raise the minimum sponsorship?

In booking your challenge, you are committing in a legally binding contract to raise a minimum amount of sponsorship for your chosen charity. You will need to send 80% of the sponsorship to the charity 10 weeks before departure, and the remaining 20% within four weeks of returning to Canada. This is a fundamental part of the challenge and if you do not raise the appropriate funds for the charity, the charity will not be able to pay the balance of your challenge costs (flexi option), and you will therefore not be able to participate on the challenge. The overall objective of the challenge is to help raise funds for the charity so please be realistic when taking on a challenge about raising the funds. We will give you plenty of ideas and advice, sponsorship forms, and the charity you are supporting may also be able to provide additional support materials and advice.

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