FAQ

About You

Are there any age restrictions?

To participate in one of our challenges or adventure holidays you need to be 18 years old or older. If you are under 18, you may still be able to participate but subject to being accompanied by a parent or guardian or a responsible adult. However, each child's parent/guardian must make their own judgement on the suitability of the challenge and provide written permission for their child to participate. Please discuss with us your individual requirements.

What type of person do I have to be? I've never done anything like this before.

The main prerequisites are that you are flexible, open minded, be able to 'go with the flow' and trust your local guide and tour escort and not be afraid to meet local people. In many of the countries we visit things to do not work as efficiently and smoothly as you would expect in the UK. This can take some getting used to, particularly if you are not a very experienced traveller. Examples of situations you may not be used to include: a train might be delayed for an unknown period of time; you may have to take a detour on a trek to avoid a recent landslide; you are likely to have to share a sleeper train carriage with local people; bathroom facilities can be dreadful and so on.

Will I find the tour difficult?

This greatly depends on the challenge itself. Most of our challenges are challenging by nature (as you would expect) but there are different levels of challenge throughout our tour options. For example, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is considered an extreme challenge as you will be dealing with very high altitude, trekking for many hours per day and it requires a person who is fit and healthy to participate. Conversely, on our Sahara challenge you need to be able to trek up to 25km in one day but it doesn't involve any altitude but there is the additional challenge of the extreme heat. It is difficult to grade each challenge because people react differently to particular aspects. For example, someone might love trekking at altitude but hate the heat - making the Sahara challenge much more difficult for that individual. In regards to assisting at a project, EVERYONE has something to offer! You don't have to be a builder, carpenter, medic or teacher to help. Even such basic things as visiting an orphanage and spending time with the children will have a massive psychological benefit to those you visit. Every person will be a valuable asset to the project and every person has their part to play.

Are your volunteer holidays LGBT friendly?

We as a company dislike discrimination and prejudice in all forms and therefore lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender travellers are both welcome and made to feel welcome. Intolerance of a group member for any reason will not be tolerated and any LGBT person travelling with us will be treated with equal respect and courtesy as any other traveller. Any person travelling with us who has a contrary view will be expected to abide by the company view and refrain from words or actions that could lead to offence or insult against LGBT people. If needs be, this will be reiterated by a tour leader as per our terms and conditions of booking.

However, we ask for understanding in that the culture and attitudes of some local people are not so gay-friendly, and LGBT people may feel uncomfortable in some environments. For further advice on particular destinations please ask us.

How fit do I need to be?

All our tours (apart from those which are project-only departures) require you to have a good level of general fitness to be able to cope with the physical challenge element of the itinerary. It is impossible to give a definitive guideline of how fit you should be because one person's fit is another person's unfit. Our trips have been graded to give you an idea of the difficulty of the challenge but it is generally expected that everyone who participates on our challenges are able to walk for up to 8 hours per day at a moderate pace (5 kilometers per hour /3.1 miles per hour) on flat/easy terrain without becoming breathless whilst being able to hold a conversation. Most of our challenges involve undulating terrain (ups and downs) and therefore having a good level of fitness will ensure you can keep up with the guides and the group and enjoy the experience without feeling exhausted throughout.

Can I travel on my own?

Yes. Many of our travellers come on their own, and single travellers are always welcome. We pair up single travellers with the same sex, similar age participants to avoid a single supplement charge. If you wish to have your own room we may be able to provide this at a small surcharge.

Why should I travel with you?

As clichéd as it sounds, our challenges are life changing. People return from our trips and leave their jobs for their dream career path, start new relationships, end relationships, get married, sell their home, go travelling and other life-changing things. There are also the little things that people may not realise instantly following their experience, such as having their eyes opened to the poverty in certain parts of the world, or inspiring them to learn a language or learn more about the culture of the country they visit. Some people simply just enjoy a break from the norm and the opportunity to do something a bit different on their holiday. Our trips are fully supported so all you have to do is enjoy the experience so you don't have to worry about any logistics and can go with the flow. We use local guides to provide you with expert knowledge on the region you are visiting and an insight into local culture and we always ensure that the local staff are well paid and treated fairly. Please read our responsible tourism policy for more information.

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Medical Matters

I'm overweight, will I cope with a challenge?

Don't worry if you're overweight when you register for a challenge because part of the preparation for our challenges is training. If you really commit to a training program (increasing your physical activity, going on walks, using a gym if you have access, walking to work instead of driving etc) you will find that your weight will reduce as your fitness increases. Often challenges are a great way to kick-start a healthier lifestyle and improve your general health, such as lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, reducing your risk of heart disease and type two diabetes and reducing anxiety and stress.

If you are obese (BMI of 30 or above) you will need to declare this on your medical form and have your physician declare that he/she believes that your obesity will not prevent you participating in the tour without risking the health and safely of yourself or your group (e.g. your pace is likely to be slower so you may risk arriving to camp very late at night, or you may be unsteady on your feet and fall or be less agile if you have to scramble on any rocky sections). You can calculate your BMI on the NHS website. If your weight is classed as obese this does not mean you cannot participate in the tour but we would ask that you confirm that you are committed to a healthy eating, exercise and weight loss program to ensure there is no risk to your health and safety on the challenge.

Are your challenges suitable for disabled people or people with medical conditions?

This greatly depends upon the challenge and the type of disability or medical condition. Not every challenge we operate can accommodate people with more restrictive disabilities. For example those tours which involve a degree of strenuous physical activity might not be suitable for people in wheelchairs or with mobility issues. However, people with disabilities are often gifted and enabled in ways that non-disabled people are not and therefore we will always assess each person's application individually. All participants are required to complete a medical declaration form upon registering and if you tick 'yes' to any conditions on the form we require the form to be signed by your specialist and/or regular physician. This signature is a declaration from your doctor to confirm, having read the tour itinerary, that he/she believes that your medical condition will not prevent you participating in the tour without risking the health and safely of yourself or your group. If you wish to discuss your particular circumstances, please contact us.

Can you offer any medical advice for your charity challenges?

It is essential that you contact your GP, health advisor or travel health clinic for medical advice whenever travelling regardless of where and when you go. You may also need to see your practice nurse for a list of vaccinations and recommended medication to counteract malaria and other possible tropical diseases. Failure to ensure you are properly vaccinated and take appropriate medication that is recommended for travel to certain countries may result in your insurance policy being void if you become ill with a preventable disease. For some destinations there are compulsory vaccinations, such as yellow fever for parts of Africa and South America. We will advise you in these instances and valid certificates must be carried to show at immigration. If for any medical reason your doctor advises against having these compulsory inoculations, he/she will be able to provide a medical certificate stating the reasons and most countries will accept this instead. Remember, when you book a place on one of our tours you receive a 10% discount voucher for Nomad Travel clinics who are specialist travel health providers.

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Health and Safety

Do you have a health and safety policy on the charity challenges?

Yes. We have a strict health and safety policy as follows:

  • The main priority at all times is the safety of the group and individuals. DTC will not allow this priority to be compromised.
  • No one may conduct work in an environment, or with materials, where they might be at risk of injury, without having been subjected to a full briefing of any potential hazards, dangers and risks.
  • No one is allowed to work in a hazardous environment without the proper supervision of a contractor or supervisor, suitably qualified and able to instruct on matters pertaining to safety.
  • The decision of a tour leader, contractor or qualified person appointed by The Different Travel Company is final and non-negotiable.
  • Anyone working outdoors should take adequate care to ensure that they are protected from the effects of exposure to the sun and elements. This means that if it is hot the participant is responsible for wearing a high-factor sun screen and UVA resistant sunglasses (if relevant) and ensure keeping well hydrated. All participants must ensure appropriate clothing and footwear is worn.
  • People must remember to drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol whilst working on any projects, especially if working with machinery and/or tools which can cause hazards to others.
  • People are expected to be mindful of others around them and be careful regarding causing a hazard for others on the site by acting in a safety conscious manner at all times.
  • Those with existing medical conditions should declare this to the group leader before commencing work on any project.
  • While participating in the physical challenge part of the trip, participants are to listen to the local guides and tour escort and understand that decisions they make are final and non-negotiable for your safety.
  • In the event of events beyond our control (such as meteorological, political and legal) it may be necessary to change the itinerary and this will be done so with your safety in mind.
  • If it becomes clear that you are not fit enough or physically able to participate in the physically challenge part of the trip without causing a hazard to yourself or the group you may be asked to separate from the group and be escorted by a local guide to a hotel at a designated meeting place where you will wait for the physical challenge to end and reunite with the group. This will be at your own cost and to be claimed on your travel insurance.
  • Anyone who chooses not to adhere to the health and safety policy in its entirety does so at their own risk, and Different Travel cannot be held responsible for any injury arising from non-adherence to the health and safety policy.
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Travel Insurance

Do I have to have travel insurance to travel on one of your tours?

Yes. travel insurance is mandatory on our challenges due to the nature of the tour. We require all your insurance details at least 12 weeks prior to departure but you are strongly recommended to purchase travel insurance before or at the time of booking to protect your non-refundable registration fee. We recommend that you speak to a specialist travel insurance provider, as they can provide a range of travel insurance products which match the kind of challenge we offer.

The Different Travel Company is in Introducer Appointed Representative of Campbell Irvine who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.
Click here to buy your policy . Campbell Irvine are independent experts in providing bespoke insurance and risk solutions for both corporate clients and individuals. They are a firm of Registered Insurance Brokers who have been established for over 35 years, who pride themselves on quality, professional and above all a personal service.

What if I have existing travel insurance policy cover?

If you have existing insurance, we require you to inform your insurance company of the type of activities you will be involved with, as your policy may not cover these activities and failure to inform the insurance broker of the type of activity might invalidate any subsequent claim you make. The Different Travel Company is not responsible for any loss as a result of your failure to check that your insurance policy covers you for everything involved in your tour.

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About Us

Are you a charity?

No. The Different Travel Company is a direct action charity challenge tour operator. However, we do work with charities and other organisations on fundraising challenges.

Are you ATOL bonded?

Many of the flights and flight-inclusive holidays 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. 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

Do you make a profit?

We make an operating profit in order to continue trading and to enable us to continue the work we do.

Is making a profit 'ethical'?

Making a profit doesn't have to be unethical. What counts is what motivates us to maintain a profit. We have a duty to our suppliers, agents and people we work with to ensure we continue trading. We also have a duty to ourselves, our staff and our families to ensure we can pay wages. Without making a profit, it would not be possible to continue our work and achieve any of these things. However, we have made a conscious decision with all our challenges to price 'ethically', that is to ensure that our margins are set at a reasonable and responsible level so that our challenges are affordable to as many people as possible.

I love the photos and videos you have on your website. Am I allowed to save and use them?

We're pleased that you love our photos, videos and content but to respect the copyright of our photographers, videographers and publishers any images, video, written copy or anything which falls under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (known hereforward as "Media") that is sent to you by email, found on our website or printed documentation is not to be reproduced anywhere without express permission by The Different Travel Company. If permission is granted the Media should only used in direct reference to and acknowledgement to The Different Travel Company. If you would like to use any Media that appears on our website, emails, documentation or printed documents please email us on info@different-travel.com with your request, the description (and weblink if relevant) of the exact Media you wish to use, and your intended use for this Media. Permission to use The Different Travel Company Media will not be withheld unreasonably.

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About the Tours

What kind of accommodation will I be staying in?

During the challenge part you may be camping in tents, sleeping in huts, mixed gender dormitories or basic guesthouses. Toilets may be long drop, flushing or squat (or you may use nature's bathroom at times). Washing/bathing facilities may be basic or not available. Before and after the challenge, most of the hotels we use are 2-3 star and locally owned. Although standards vary, the 3 star rating means that the rooms will be comfortable and clean with air-conditioning or a fan and en suite facilities. The hotel will often have many of the facilities you would expect in the West including flush toilets and possibly internet access. Where the accommodation varies from this standard, this is made clear in the tour information. Please check each tour information carefully to ensure you are aware of the standard of accommodation to expect.

Where can I download the terms and conditions for your tours?

Please click here for Terms and Conditions for participants who are fundraising

Please click here for Terms and Conditions for self-funding participants

If I go on one of the challenges, can I stay on after to do some independent traveling?

Subject to availability and final group size, most of our tours offer you post-challenge/project travel which we can arrange for you. Often there will be pre-planned tours which you can purchase separately, but you are welcome to travel independently if you wish. Please contact us for more details.

Can I choose which charity I want to support?

On our Open Challenges and Adventures, yes. An 'Open Challenge' or Adventure is not organised for a specific charity so the individuals taking part can use the trip to support their favorite charity or charities. If you would like to take part, but have no particular charity in mind then take a look at those we are working with and see if any appeal! We also run charity challenges on which we work closely with a specific UK charity to raise funds for their organisation. If you wish to join one of these trips then you are very welcome to do so, but you may be asked to raise a minimum sponsorship level for that particular charity.

Can I just pay to come on one of the tours myself without securing any sponsorship?

Yes you can! Many people join our tours just as something different and exciting to do instead of a traditional 'holiday'. The only exception to the rule is if you are interested in paying to join a bespoke charity challenge. You are welcome to pay the tour costs from the minimum sponsorship target but you must pay or fundraise the remainder of the minimum sponsorship which is a donation to the charity. I.e. if the minimum sponsorship was £3000 of which the tour costs were £1500 you would be welcome to pay the £ 1500 yourself for the tour costs but you must also pay or fundraise the remaining £1500 as a donation to the charity.

My tour includes time at a project, what real difference can I make in only a few days?

It is amazing how much difference you can make especially when you are working as part of a group! Furthermore, many of our projects are on-going so although you will only be there for a short period of time, we bring many different groups to the project, each helping and adding a little bit more. We do not take groups back to projects where there is no longer and need as this will bring no benefit to the local people and the individuals do not get the same opportunity to make a difference.

Will a UK representative accompany the group during the tour?

All our trips are led by a Different Travel tour manager who is selected for their wide travel experience in remote places, being great with people and able to communicate in a friendly and approachable way as well as being able to deal with any situation that arises during the tour. They are all a minimum of Outdoor First Aid trained and are always willing to offer a friendly ear if you have any concerns or problems, as well as an encouraging word when things get tough. Our tour managers come from a variety of backgrounds from sales and marketing to finance, travel and tourism to nursing and everything in between but they are all fluent English speakers and passionate about travel and adventure! Many of them have full-time jobs and manage our tours on an ad-hoc basis so they are fresh and full of enthusiasm for each trip they lead. Unlike many companies, we don't send our tour managers to the same destination for long periods of time so they will be as excited about the trip and the new experiences as you are! The role of our tour manager is to support the group throughout the trip, while being a liaison between the participants and the local staff to make sure everything runs smoothly and any issues are handled quickly and efficiently.

What do I need to pack?

At the time of booking you will be provided with a trip dossier which includes a suggested packing list plus lots of information about the tour and what to expect. Please read this carefully because this is packed full of useful information to prepare you for your trip. Please note that the packing list is just a guideline and you are expected to use your own judgement to decide exactly which items to bring. Our expert staff are on hand to answer any questions you may have about what to take so please ask them for advice. You are also advised to spend some time in your local outdoors store with your packing list and itinerary to look at the products available and speak to the specialist staff for advice to compliment the list. If you visit Nomad Travel and Outdoor, you can use your 10% discount voucher against any kit you decide to buy. Please remember to shop around and look online for special deals.

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Sounds great! What is my next step?

Just visit our Destinations page, select a challenge, read all about it then download, complete and return a booking form to us or book online! Alternatively, contact us using the form on our website, email us on info@different-travel.com or call on +44(0)788 169 86 23 and our staff will help you select the right challenge for you!

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