Frequently Asked Questions

We get a lot of questions thrown our way from travelers around-the-world wanting to participate in our annual around the world travel adventure. We know that taking a mysterious trip to places we’re not saying where is a giant leap of faith. Therefore, we try to be as transparent as possible about everything. Below is our best attempt at answering all the questions that have come our way in the last 20 years. We hope it helps…

Q) What is The Global Scavenger Hunt?

A) The Global Scavenger Hunt™ (TGSH) is an annual around-the-world travel adventure competition that crowns The World’s Greatest Travelers™ and also presents the winners with a FREE around-the-world trip to the winners of the world travel championship (WTC).

The event takes an exclusive collection of great travelers (two-person teams) to at least ten secret countries (A Blind Date with the World™) over 23-days while circumnavigating the globe. Teams perform/complete a series of highly participatory and culturally-oriented site-doing scavenges in each of the ten mystery countries we visit. Thus proving/testing their accumulated travel IQ and their collective travel savvy. The event is, in fact, the annual world travel championship and has been conducted 16 times since its establishment in 2000.

It has been called: the Olympics of travel, a Magical Mystery Adventure, and is the Super Bowl, Olympic Games, X Games, and the World Series of travel adventures all rolled into one annual event that crowns The World’s Greatest Travelers. One participant even called it “The Amazing Race for real travelers.” It is breathtakingly fun.

It is an event that thoroughly tests all participants’ fluid situational travel intelligence. TGSH is all about creativity, having fun, being challenged, learning, getting out of your comfort zone, feeling alive, empowerment, novelty, spontaneity and allowing for serendipity…and trusting strangers in strange lands. It is designed for curious, adventurous spirits and independent-minded travelers who relish extremely hands-on and one-of-a-kind travel experiences filled with: authentic exotic off-the-beaten path backdrops, interesting cultures and amazingly colorful people; entwined in a fascinating competition/adventure—while going around-the-world (Circumnavigators Club here we come!). Don’t forget the secret missions, cryptic clues, and special challenges! It is a 21st-century Travel 3.0 event: authentic, challenging and participatory.

Frankly, our travel adventure hits on all the reasons people want to travel in the first place: to escape their daily routines; to take a real adventure; to get outside their comfort zones; to spend quality time with loved ones; to relax, rejuvenate and be inspired; to explore new lands and discover diverse cultures; to meet new people; to strengthen relationships; to learn something new; to challenge themselves; to expand their horizons; to be immersed in the sights, the sounds, the smells, and the smiles of new places; to celebrate their lives; to feed their wanderlust; to live in the moment longer than a moment; to become more interesting people/storytellers; and, to cross off items on their personal Bucket Lists.

If any of those are your unspoken “Why I travel” goals—have we got an adventure for you!

Check out this year’s video…

Q) When will the next edition of The Global Scavenger Hunt take place?

A) The next event will take place over 23-days, at a date to be determined with our start/return destinations  announced later. (Part of the mystery vacation!) 2024s dates are: 25 October to 16 November, 2024!

The event is usually scheduled for the same time every year, between the Spring/Fall shoulder season—depending, of course, on whether you are in the Northern or Southern hemisphere, right!—of mid-October and the first weeks of November. It is the Goldilocks time to travel—not too hot, not too cold—just right.

FYI: Past events have been held in: 2002, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2023. Our 2003 event was canceled due to the Iraq War & SARS outbreak…we took a family hiatus in 2006 & 2007 due to tiny children. And sadly, we most recently canceled our 2020, 2021 & 2022 events due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Q) Speaking of mystery vacations, what is A Blind Date with the World?

A) TGSH is A Blind Date with the World for many reasons…first and foremost, it is exhilaratingly fun! And that means our participants won’t know which ten countries they will visit over their 23-day adventure until they are given a “4-Hour Notice” before boarding a plane to a new destination.

It is designed this way to keep travelers in the dark as long as possible about their impending destination so that wonderful elements of surprise, mystery, and anticipation can be maximized. The result? No maps, no guidebooks. And none of the usual endless pre-trip online research and planning. But counterbalanced with an overwhelming amount of surprise, spontaneity and serendipity. It keeps all the teams on the same competitive footing—because no one knows more than any other team. Our global pitch is truly a level playing field. It is the 21st-century version of spinning the globe and throwing your finger at it—which is sometimes how we set up the event course too!

Keeping the destinations a secret as long as possible makes the event a true travel adventure competition. All the teams must effectively hit the ground running by dealing with foreign language barriers, confusing cultural differences, transportation and logistical challenges, team dynamics, the heat of competition, and three weeks’ worth of real-world and real-time creative problem-solving.

As mentioned, our travelers only learn of their impending destination when each Team is given a “4-Hour Notice,” …which is plenty of time to get to the airport to catch their next flight. Thrilling screamsExciting looks. Amazing words. Really!? Wow feelings…are usually what follows the announcements.

Q) Really!? No hints at all?

A) Really…a truly fabulous Blind Date with the World.

But what we can tell you, based on taking hundreds of travelers so far, to 94 secret countries across six continents over the last two decades, is that our annual event has always been about restoring the magic of travel, the celebration of different people and places. Sometimes serendipity is the key to regaining that elusive magic. Each and every year, we design a new international event course—no two events have ever been the same. It keeps us fresh, and everyone is constantly guessing. And guess they do—and so will you!

Over the last decade, we have visited over a third of the world’s nations—94 to be exact. Yes, 94, from Argentina to Zambia! They have included: Andorra, Colombia, Romania, Sri Lanka, Japan, Morocco, Tunisia, Fiji, Uzbekistan, Oman, Iceland, Russia, Zimbabwe, Albania, Kenya, Peru & Laos, among scores of others.

Where we have been to…and haven’t been…

More importantly…Where are we going next?

Q) Why would anyone take A Blind Date with the World?

A) If we had a dime for everyone who has contacted us since we started our around-the-world event in 2000, we could retire…people love the idea!

Believe it or not, people really like surprises. Psychologically speaking, people thrive when serendipity comes into their lives. It is a scientific fact—our senses are heightened, and we feel more alive. So yep, it’s true, some people have a  great sense of adventure lurking in them…sweet anticipation.

Many travelers love not knowing where they are going; because not everyone likes spending endless hours of their limited free time researching possible destinations, planning logistics, and then booking their trips. People tend to overthink options and the details. Often creating too much analysis leads to paralysis mindset; others suffer severe bouts of buyer’s regret, wondering if they got the best deal. Who needs the stress, some say? Other folks just don’t have the time, and of course, no two travel companions can always agree on where exactly they should go. Who needs the relationship strain? More importantly, though, and another scientific fact, is that too much Internet research surfing leads to inflated expectations that sadly cannot be met.

So, what better way to avoid those pitfalls and enjoy something than by not having any expectations or preexisting biases attached to their experiences, knowing that they will see all the best things and enjoy all the most exhilarating experiences. And that is where our almost two decades’ worth of real-world, real destination planning experience comes into play. We have personally visited hundreds of global destinations (passed the 100-country mark decades ago) and have taken our larger annual event to over 94 countries to date. We are travel professionals and experts with real-world experience. We know where to look, how to look, what to book, and what the most exciting things to see and do in every destination we go are—that is our job. We are really very, very good at it.

Surprise, mystery adventures are thrilling; we know this from the personal feedback we have gotten from taking hundreds of travelers worldwide for almost two decades. We have learned first-hand that open, curious travelers always embrace the unexpected.

But, if you hate surprises and international intrigue and want to control everything, this adventure might not be for you.

Q) So, is The Global Scavenger Hunt a flat-out race around-the-world?

A) No, it is not. In fact, one of our many unofficial event mottos is: He who runs cannot walk with dignity.

The event is designed not as a pole-to-pole race but in a European auto rally style. It is a stop-and-go affair, broken into a series of geographic legs—usually six or seven for each event.

For example, if we visit an area of India; Teams are given a booklet full of “India” scavenges and are asked to choose and complete as many optional scavenges as they wish during the specified time we are in that area of India—say four days. After each leg, all the team’s will check-in, rest, swap war stories, and enjoy some refreshing downtime, maybe even a hospitality event. Only then does the event move on to the next secret destination with a “4-Hour Notice” given to begin another leg in another part of the world.

Past TGSH events have been made up of five to eight legs, with each leg lasting between a short and sweet, easy six hours (AKA A Layover Challenge) to a more in-depth and challenging leg that could last five days and include a few regional countries and movement. We typically stay in each country for between 48 and 72 hours.

Q) Did you say a free trip around the world and being crowned The World’s Greatest Travelers
 for the winning Team?

A) Yes, we did. A free trip around the world to the victors…winner-take-all!

Q) Okay, how do we win? Explain the competition part?

A) Travelers participating in the next edition of TGSH will compete with fellow travelers by earning points based on completing scavenges, and devising their own risk-reward strategies: What scavenges do you choose to do? Which ones do you choose not to do? When and how do you choose to do them? We keep track of the points/scores and then have winners at the end of the three weeks of traveling around-the-world. We have clear, well-defined event rules, and a philosophical spirit of the event that all participants follow.

So, yes, it is a competition. People love this element of our travel adventure. And keeping the destinations a secret makes the event a true travel adventure competition in that all the teams must effectively hit the ground running.

What it takes primarily to do well, and secondly maybe to win this annual travel adventure competition, is a combination of acquired traveler’s savvy and genetic Travel IQ. Competitors in the TGSH are constantly challenged with: foreign language barriers, confusing cultural differences (place lag), jet lag, interpersonal team dynamics, transportation and logistical challenges, and the subtle heat of the competition itself. Three weeks worth of real-life, real-world, and real-time creative problem solving emphasizes intercultural competence—the ability to successfully communicate with people of other cultures (AKA trusting strangers in strange lands). And with no team having any prior knowledge—thus having any ability to have done any prior research on any of our secret destinations or scavenges—it makes our travelers feel alive playing a big game, a fun game in which no one really loses.

Simply put, here is the event’s gamified calculus: the team that earns the most points completing scavenges, wins each leg. The more legs you win, the more likelihood of winning the event. Some scavenges are worth a lot—but are incredibly challenging to complete. While other scavenges are easy to achieve—but worth significantly fewer points to complete. The teams that work well together and create the right risk-reward formula usually do well. Consistency is the key to success over the 23-day event.

The winning team of travelers will also earn a free trip around-the-world, along with the crown & title of The World’s Greatest Travelers,™ which they hold for that year.

Obviously, all our participants come packed with an incredible amount of curiosity and tolerance for others, as well as high levels of the O-Factor—an openness to new experiences, new ideas and new people. But, it is clear to us, after conducting 16 previously safe and successful events, that the winners of TGSH have all exhibited a unique combination of exceptional travel-related qualities, including: 1) having an innate Indiana Jones-daring— thirst for adventure; 2) being able to quickly size up any situation in any environment—situational awareness; 3) being able to readily anticipate travel obstacles before they occur and quickly figure out a Plan B—contingency planning; and maybe the most essential asset of all, 4) possessing great people skills and being confident with themselves enough to trust strangers in strange lands and ask for help. Ironically, a key to winning the world travel championship is letting go and knowing what you don’t know!

Ask yourself: Am I that type of traveler? Do you want to be?

Q) Who can participate in The Global Scavenger Hunt?

A) The Global Scavenger Hunt™ is an open, but in 2024, an invitation-only international event. Therefore, anyone who feels they have the “right stuff” and are good travelers may apply*. However, the competition is designed for an exclusive group of two-person teams to compete each year. Applicants will then be invited to join. 

We hundreds of applications from worthy travelers worldwide—over 60 countries. Residents and passport holders of: Canada, New Zealand, Australia, the Netherlands, China, Belgium, England, Poland, United Arab Emirates, Estonia, Barbados, Iceland and the United States have participated. In fact, as the world travel championship event brand grows in stature globally, about a third of our teams are now international participants. Winners have hailed from: Canada, USA, New Zealand, Australia and Belgium.

TGSH teams come in all shapes and sizes too. Teams of talented travelers have been comprised of: travel buddies, old friends, husband-wife, mother-daughter/son, father-son/daughter, grandparents-grandkids, couples, sisters, and even complete strangers, ranging in age from 13 to 80.

Here is a PDF copy of our most recent 2024 – The Global Scavenger Hunt Brochure Enjoy.

*Needless to say—but we will anyway—no one will be discriminated against entering TGSH on the bias of race, color, ethnicity, country of origin, sex, weight, height, sexual orientation, age (must be over 18 and accompanied by a legal guardian), residence, religion, IQ, fashion sense or hair color. We do indeed run an equal opportunity international event. That said, we reserve the right to refuse anyone based on event suitability.

Q) I’m currently low on friends or family that can travel with me. Can I apply as a single?

A) We get it: schedules, priorities, and resources sometimes don’t match up. So, yes, you can apply as a single. Please do.

Again, TGSH is an “open” by invitation-only international event, and anyone who feels they are high-quality travelers or just curious adventurous souls may apply. We get a lot of applications from passionate single travelers needing to be paired up with equally remarkable travelers. Here’s how it works…

We process all legitimate applications—yes, ready-made teams are easier to process and more likely to participate—but after those slots are filled and we still have space available, we attempt to match up single applicants as potential teammates. As a result, about 85% of our teams come ready-made. In comparison, about 15% are eventually successfully matched up for the competition by our crack event staff.

So you know, good travelers are good travelers. Obviously only like-minded folks would even think about participating in this adventure, so you are halfway to finding a suitable teammate because clearly, all our travelers come packed with a great amount of curiosity and tolerance for others, as well as high levels of the O-Factor—an openness to new experiences, new ideas and new people. That is what it takes to partake in such a giant global leap of faith—taking a trip to somewhere unknown. And the event has been won on three occasions in the past by successfully paired up single applicants. We’ve gotten very good at matching up passionate, gung-ho like-minded travel savvy partners over the years. So please don’t let not having a partner dissuade you from participating and applying—you have nothing to lose.

Please note, however, that the Team entry fees are based on double-occupancy.

Q) What is this “process” you speak of?

A) The process is simple. First, travelers apply online and tell us why they want to participate in TGSH. We then ask you a few questions. You answer them and complete some simple paperwork. That’s the first hoop—just following through.

Then, if you are still interested and ready, willing, and available to participate, we will set up an interview between you (and your teammate) and either the Event Coordinator or the Event Director via Skype, Facetime or telephone. We’ll have a conversation. We will get to know you, and you will get to know us. More questions and easy answers. That’s the process.

We will then deliberate on your application, attitude, travel bona fides, etc.—the tangibles and intangibles that we believe make for a great event. And then we decide. (Sorry, we just don’t have room for everyone who applies.) We will let you know ASAP if we have space available for you in this year’s event. Yeah! Then a little more paperwork to complete, and you are done. Start packing.

There is nothing more you can prepare for, right—because you don’t know where you are going! (Good luck explaining that to family, friends and co-workers.)

Frankly, we sometimes get hundreds of applications each year from passionate, distinguished, impressive and confident savvy global travelers—Century Club and Circumnavigator Club members, various other adventure club members, outdoor adventure racers, pilots, flight attendants, travel writers, ex-special forces, travel agents, retired spies, and even former reality TV and The Amazing Race participants. But at the end of the day, we are keen on making each and every event the best it can be. It is like mixing a good cocktail—too much or too little of one ingredient can spoil the whole drink. So sadly, not everyone gets to go. So we do have to say, “No thank you.” a lot. Sorry.

Q) Can you give me a few real examples of previous scavenges?

A) Yes, of course.

As mentioned, the event is usually broken into six to eight legs of varying lengths. Each team is given the same scavenger hunt lists (AKA proprietary and copyright-protected instructions/guidebooks) at the same time at the beginning of each leg. There is no way any team can complete all the scavenges—it is simply physically impossible—so it is up to each team to devise their own competitive risk-reward strategy for completing scavenges and thus earning points. Of course, we want our travelers to see and do all the best things in each destination we visit, and the scavenger hunt lists are uniquely designed in novel ways to experience them all. But know that all our scavenges have been thoughtfully hand-crafted and curated for each event by professional travelers based on decades of real-world travel experience; and that they run the gamut, from: natural wonders, urban adventures, World Heritage Sites, adrenaline rushes, culinary hotspots, nightlife, chance encounters, special events, history, art, memorable experiences, meeting uniquely talented locals, and maybe even having the opportunity to do some volunteer work, if you wish, too.

Remember three things: 1) they are all optional—you don’t have to do anything—but we think that they might be fun for you to do; 2) all our participatory site-doing scavenges are designed for you to meet new people (trusting strangers in strange lands) and be fully engaged and immersed in the destination we are visiting; and 3) how you organize your activities, what each day on the adventure looks like—is entirely up to you!

All our travelers/Teams will each be given the same scavenger hunt lists at the same time at the beginning of each leg. (We are told that “…it is like Christmas morning opening up new wrapped surprise gifts every few days.”) Then you and your travel mate figure out what you feel compelled to complete for your own self-satisfaction—and then do them.

With over 500 optional scavenges during each event to choose from, below are a couple dozen actual scavenges from our recent event:

Vancouver (EXP): While doing Vancouver area scavenges today, employ five (5) of the following modes of transportation: a kayak, a bike, a bus, a subway, SkyTrain, aerial gondola, ferry, Aquabus, a Segway, or snow activity.

Vancouver Team Challenge: The team that gets closest to an anchored cargo ship gets all the points—winner, take all! You must prove it; in the event of a tie, points are split. A picture is a must.

Việt Nam Bonus: Take the Saigon-Vung Tau Ferry (one-way or both) to take a swim in the South China Sea. Have a beverage at Leman Cap Resort.

Saigon Street Art Photo Safari: take photos of at least three examples of major works of graffiti/art, and/or murals in Vancouver—NOT commissioned works of art, ie: statues, propaganda.

Saigon Trust & Chance: Play Taxi Cab Roulette: Hail a taxi and ask your cabbie: “Would you please take us to a restaurant; a place where you would eat with your family or friends?” Tell them you prefer a nearby local and non-touristy restaurant. Where did you go and what did you eat?

Saigon Cultural Exchange: Share a coffee, a tea, or bowl of pho with a local you meet who wants to chat—not from the travel industry. Prompts include: Find out about life in Việt Nam? What are two popular Vietnamese first names? What does the regime mean by doi moi? What are the differences between North, Central and South Vietnamese food? What is the meaning of life according to the people of Việt Nam? Let them ask you three questions.

Myanmar Bonus: Join a pilgrimage and hike to the Golden Rock Pagoda of Kyaik Tyo. (steps)

Yangon (EXP): Visit a meditation center and seek out instruction from a Zen master. Suggestions include:…

Bagan (EXP): Rent a horse cart with a driver for half-a-day to complete at least four (4) local Bagan scavenges.

Mandalay (EXP): Called one of the “world’s scariest bridges” (we don’t think so!) cross U Bein’s Bridge; and make some friends during the crossing. Where does it take you?

Thailand Local Food Challenge: “Street food, I believe, is the salvation of the human race.” – Anthony Bourdain. Forty-percent of Thai’s daily depend on street food—(Event Tip: Street food is great: the busier the better; the hotter the better; and fried & boiled is good.)—try some specialities at one of the following:…

Bangkok Team Challenge: Be the first team to get a photo of a live elephant and send it to us @…

UAE (EXP): Locate and visit the a local Falcon Hospital. Can you hold a falcon?

Dubai Team Challenge: How high can you get, vertically-speaking, in Abu Dhabi? Do it and prove it.

Abu Dhabi (EXP): Ride “the world’s fastest rollercoaster.

Jordan Bonus: Visit the “lowest point on Earth” and float in the Dead Sea—reading a newspaper!

Jordan Bonus: Either/OrEither visit Lawrence of Arabia’s famous “Seven Pillars of Wisdom,” and quench your thirst at Ain Shalaaleh in Wadi Rum. Do your best Lawrence imitation—donning a keffiyeh with a camel! Or, retrace biblical Moses’ footsteps to the top of Mount Nebo. What can you see from there?

Athens Team Challenge: Be the first team to recreate scenes at three Olympic venues: one from pre- 20th Century, one from the 20th Century, and one from the 21st Century.

Morocco Team Challenge: Be the first team to mount a four-legged beastie (live & bigger than you) and send photo to @…

Marrakesh (EXP): Take a Marrakech-Sahara Desert area dawn hot-air balloon ride. ($$)

Fez (EXP): Fulfill your Arabian Nights fantasy and relax at a hammam of your choice—not at a hotel.

Gibraltar (EXP): Take the cable car to the top of the Rock (aka the Pillars of Hercules). What 3 countries can you see?

European Challenge: Become a street performer with a donation hat in front of any monument/square in any town for 10 minutes. One team member must either: dance, sing, mime, do standup comedy, or some other stupid human trick or shtick, that engages bystanders into a few donations. We want to see a video of it all!

Portugal Taste Test Time: Order up a trio of Portuguese wines: ie: a Madeira, a Dão, a Port, or a Vinho verde. Make a short video review. Find out what Sabe melhor que nem ginjas means.

Portugal Hide & Seek: Find & visit one of only three places in the world where a boat can sail under a train driving under a car.

New York City Bonus: Do at least one of the below scavenges in all five boroughs.

New York City (EXP) Either/Or/OrEither walk across the Brooklyn Bridge to Manhattan; or, take the Staten Island Ferry; or, take the Roosevelt Island Tramway. Do all three to earn the Super Bonus.

Fun right
! Well, doing the scavenges is just part of the adventure because our travelers will also appreciate the unique challenges and experiences of visiting at least ten (10) secret and diverse environments (urban, rural, big city, small village, hot, wet, cool, dry, coastal, mountainous), and dissimilar countries (democratic, authoritarian, developed, undeveloped, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, rich, poor) on six continents. Ninety-four countries and counting

Q) Okay, you got me! So how do I apply and what’s the bottom-line cost-wise?

A) Please apply online and submit your TGSH application. We will be in touch with you soon.

As they say, when there is a will–there’s a way. You will need 23-days and the US$14,000 per person entry fees, and a valid passport…bottom-line. How much courage and curiosity you pack is your call.

Your event entry fees include: all your international airfare to and from North America; all your hotels for 23-days (based on double-occupancy); about 40% of your meals will be covered; transportation from each airport to our official hotels; at least two major hospitality events—a Bon Voyage Party where you will meet all the other teams for the first time in our North American departure city, as well as our Winners Gala in our return North American city; we usually have two or three on-the-road hospitality events in exotic locales during downtime between legs; and we have been known to put together spectacular pre-departure travel goody boxes (read: swag), that includes some fun travel-related stuff we procure from official event sponsors, as well as some of our own official event-related gear.

Most of our travelers are self-financed, but if you have more will than wallet, are passionate about joining our event, need help raising the dough or want to obtain sponsorship, we may have some ideas on how to do it. But it will be all your own doing to make that happen. As they say: When there is a will, there is a way

Q) Okay, you got me! Unfortunately, I can’t go this year, but this is a Bucket List item for me!

A) Bucket List Us here, and we will keep you in the loop regarding future adventures.

Q) Is it all togetherness and socializing for 23-days while we travel around the world?

A) No, not really. This adventure is designed for independent travelers. But yes, you will see your fellow travelers and be able to swap war stories at our (always optional) hospitality events. And, of course, you will see fellow travelers traveling to and from our destinations as we all travel on the same flights. You will probably encounter a few of your fellow travelers conducting some of your (always optional) destinations scavenges. But we promise you that no two sets of travelers will ever do the same scavenges A to Z. There are just too many to choose from, and they are too random…so it just doesn’t happen with the wildly varied options you are given. Plus, everyone has their own schedules, be they: morning larks, night owls, never stop moving go-getters or siesta relaxers…

So, the long and short of it…you can socialize as little or as much as you want to and as others are willing to indulge you. Some travelers love sharing their stories with other travelers, and some don’t. Some travelers seem to end each day at the hotel bar, and some don’t. So, to thy own self be true

BTW: We have had life-long friends meet on our adventure. We have had marriages due to our journey…and even had a few babies made too! No divorces, though…fingers crossed.

Q) What type (or style) of travel can we expect? Backpack and camping, or is it suitcases and spas? What kind of hotels will we be booked into?

A) Someplace comfortably in between. Remember our Goldilocks Theory of Travel…. just right.

First, savvy travelers know that one roller bag and a small day pack will undoubtedly do you for any length of time. Less is more. Camping equipment is not necessary during this experience, as you will have comfortable first-class hotels (5-star & 4-star properties) available every night over the 15-day adventure–although safaris and over-night cruises could occur. But frankly, we stay in really nice places—and I will tell you why.

Our adventure is designed for you to go out into your new and exotic environment, wherever that may be, for a full day’s worth of highly participatory, engaging and interactive site-doing. You may be gone from dawn until late in the evening conducting thrilling scavenges while getting from here to there. We want you to do stuff, have unique experiences, and create lasting memories. But, we don’t want you to worry a wit about where you are staying. So, we take care of, book, and prepay all that infrastructure well in advance for you.

So, yes, they will be clean, safe places. Yes, you can get something to eat there. Yes, you can meet others in the bar for a nightcap. Yes, you can get online to blog, Skype/Facetime or conduct critical business if necessary. Yes, you can do laundry if you need to. And yes, you can even pamper yourself with all the amenities of home after a long day if you desire. So, to that end, yes, we have stayed at some really off-the-chart lovely places over the years —all comfortable first-class hotels (5-star & 4-star properties); sometimes big places, sometimes boutique hotels, sometimes palaces, sometimes heritage hotels, sometimes glamping, sometimes once-in-a-lifetime properties, and most of the time all great places. Here’s a short list of a few of our favorite global hotels we have stayed in.

Q) Over and above the entry fees, how much out-of-pocket money will I need?

A) Frankly, this is one of the most complex questions. It varies from person to person, team to team, and place to place.

But here is what we can tell you: We get both wealthy Type-A travelers and more-will-than-wallet penny-pinching adventurers; knowing that, we have organized the adventure so that the team that throws around the most money will not have any more fun than others—okay, maybe a little! But know that our fundamental travel philosophy is not about whoever can spend the most has the most fun; it is about one-on-one personal experiences and doing extraordinary things—not buying more stuff.

Moreover, the highly participatory, culturally-oriented scavenges are optional and are not expensive endeavors, ever. You always have the option to pick and choose which site-doing scavenges you want to do and which ones you can do, and the expensive scavenges are marked ($$$). More is simply not the goal here.

That said, this is a practical question that demands a practical answer. So, here it is: people have different needs, wants and desires. We are comfortable telling you that, on average, your team will probably spend between US$85 to $120 a day out-of-pocket. And that depends on how much you drinkwhich optional scavenges you dohow much and where you eatwhat you buy along the way as souvenirs, how much you pamper/indulge yourself, and what style and class of public transportation you employ. A train is just as fast in coach as in first class—but the cost is very different! And, of course, traveling to places on the Indian-subcontinent or sub-Saharan Africa tends to be a tad cheaper than Northern Europe or the Gulf States. As they say, your mileage may vary, but think between US$85 to $120 a day.

Money talks aside, we like to think that we have turned everyone that participates into Thrillionaires.

Q) Okay if I don’t know where I am going, what about visas?

A) Great question. After all, we will visit at least ten (10) countries on TGSH travel adventureWe usually must organize a few so-called visas-on-arrival for travelers in advance without our traveler’s knowledge. On the rare occasion that we need a tourist visa before we depart (read: Russia, Brazil, etc.), we let everyone know with enough time and instructions on how to obtain those visas. Frankly, most places are still relatively easy to get into with only a valid passport, the filling out of a simple form, and maybe a few bucks.

We have visited 94 countries and still haven’t left anyone behind yet…Okay, there was one guy…but nobody really liked him anyway.

Q) Again, I don’t know where I am going; what about getting the shots or vaccinations I might need?

A) Another good practical question. Travelers are always asking us about shots and vaccinations. Obviously we are not medical professionals (and you, of course, need to consult with your own family physician)…but what we always suggest is to make sure that all your measles-mumps-rubella (MMR and MMRV) vaccine, Hep A, Tetanus/Diphtheria (Td and Tdap)and Typhoid/Polio pricks are all up to date (aka boosters).

As far as mosquitoes go, in the past, I would say that just about 20% of our travelers go on some type of anti-malaria regime. It is their personal choice, as everyone has their own risk tolerance and health and safety thresholds. We also suggest that people look into a new drug called Dukoral, a cholera vaccine. Always bring a high-DEET bug spray with you.

Your safety and health on the road are our prime concern, so please take all necessary precautions. Make good choices and know that what we say here is no substitute for a personal consultation with your qualified medical professional. Nuff said

Q) Do I need travel insurance?

A) Everyone has a different set of personal risk factors, real and psychological. Therefore, we will not play the fear card here.

That said, we highly recommend that you always protect your travel investment and hedge yourself financially from any unforeseen out-of-the-blue mishaps. If you can’t self-insure and need travel insurance, our Event Coordinator, can help you wade through some competitive travel insurance rates. Be smart.

Q) Will we travelers be safe everywhere we go on The Global Scavenger Hunt?

A) Of course, the long and the short of it, and indeed the only honest answer we can give you is that no one really knows, right. Shit happens! That said, caution is healthy; blind fear is not!

Yet, contrary to the nightly cable news shows promoting the Mean World Syndrome, we are live in the most peaceful and safest time in human history. The world is not going to hell in a handbasket. Don’t mistake the headlines for the trend-lines. Sure, a handful of civil wars are still taking happening within a few pockets of resistance still simmering in the worldAfghanistan, Iraq, Congo, Somalia, Darfur/South Sudan, Syria, and Eastern Ukraine recently. You could add the Gaza Strip, parts of Texas and Portland to that list. But the indisputable reality is that we are live in a 95% conflict-free and safe-to-travel world. Frankly, as students of international relations and personal relationships, that is unprecedented. I’ll take those odds anytime. The world is being pacified (for good or bad) by democracy, the United Nations, literacy, globalization, social media, urbanization, rising incomes and secularization. Collectively, it is all having a positive effect on reducing violence in the world. And that is great news!

Statistically speaking, traveling is 40 times safer than staying at home. And our savvy travelers all listen to the little hairs on the back of their necks. So, knock on wood…never had a bad encounter, yet after 16 circumnavigations to 94 countries with hundreds of travelers. Not one bad encounter!…Think about that. (Sure, there have been a few taxi cab rip-offs (aka friendly assaults), but that’s it!)

And forget about random acts of terrorism too. According to Brian Jenkins, one of the world’s foremost terrorism experts at the RAND Institute (and former co-worker), “It is statistically so unlikely that a traveler will be a victim of terrorism that we’d be better off telling people how to avoid lightning.” And, of course, we agree—avoid lightning. However, as participants of an always new and changing event, we have several things working in our favor that help keep us out of harm’s way: 1) we have no known predictable travel route, internationally or locally, for anyone to plot or plan against; 2) we don’t travel with any visible corporate logos and signs; 3) we don’t even really travel as a group save for a couple specially-planned cultural events or to-and-from the airport; 4) we are all seasoned traveler’s with a greater understanding of a travelers best friend on the road—situational awareness; and finally, 5) we all know how to blend in and trust our well-honed instincts.

Of course, bad things can and do happen on the road: ordinary petty crime, crimes of opportunity, car accidents, food poisoning, and the odd ferry or train disaster. But those things take place in our own communities too. So, yes, you will be safe, we would not take anybody anyplace we would not take our kids (and we do!) to, and we want to come home safe and sound. So be vigilant, smart and careful, and you will have fun.,

Q) I’m not a marathon runner. What is the physical degree of difficulty in participating in the event?

A) A good question. TGSH is not an athletic competition. It is also not a silly stunt-filled reality TV drama like The Amazing Race. On the flip side, it is not a sleep-on-the-beach resort vacation or a prepackaged on-off bus tour serving three square gluttonous meals a day either. Instead, you will be engaged daily in extraordinary activities.

TGSH travel adventure has an activity rating of light/moderate, what we would call a soft adventure, not a physically grueling hard adventure; no high-altitude mountain climbing (we will not ask you to climb to Mount Everest base camp), and no deep-sea scuba diving the  Marianas Trench either. It is an adventure of the mind and spirit rather of the body. In the past, average travelers have ranged between the ages of 13 and 80—we won’t hold the young at a disadvantage for lack of wisdom, just as we will not hold the more mature at a disadvantage for their lack of youthful athleticism. We always say that if you can take a good walk in the noon-day sun, albeit the Equatorial noon-day sun, you should be okay. Travelers should be in good health, comfortable climbing stairs and walking or standing for extended periods, and prepared for multiple hours of activity on some days. Daily activities may include city walking tours, visits to historical or cultural sites, game drives, or easy hikes, with options for more physical activities such as hiking, kayaking, snorkeling and biking.

That said, traveling is not easy…so get in shape (walking around the block a few times with your bags is always eye-opening), do yoga, bike, run, swim, hike, eat right and take your vitamins.

Q) Again, I don’t know where I am going; how am I supposed to pack for 23-days?

A) Who knows? Our best advice is simple: If you can’t carry it, don’t take it. Because at the end of the day, it will be in your best interest to pack as functionally light as possible.

That said, we will give you a weather report forecast one week before we leave to fill in the what-if packing blanks. But remember, in our humble opinion, spring is the best time to travel the globe: No rainy season. No tourists. Not too hot yet. Maybe even an Indian summer in the Southern Hemisphere and early spring in the Northern Hemisphere. As we mentioned earlier, a single roller-bag and a small day pack should suffice. Remember, they have stores in the rest of the world—and fluff-n-fold laundromats too!

In all seriousness, we will provide all team competitors with a event packing list as the start draws closer.

Q) Can I bring and use my (fill in the blank) iWatch/smartphone/tablet/laptop?

A) Yes, of course. Our travelers will be blogging, writing Substack articles, corresponding with family and friends, and even conducting what we suppose is important business while traveling. That is the nature of being away from it all in the 21st century—we stay connected!?

That said, our philosophy is that we want you to interact with locals, to trust strangers in strange lands, not Google when a temple opens, get a reservation at a restaurant, or use maps to get you there!? We want you to ask for directions. It is good to get lost once in a while. So, we would prefer you get off the grid—but to each his own. But we promise at the end of three weeks, you will thank us for trying.

Q) What do some previous travelers say about participating in The Global Scavenger Hunt?

A) Well, they say a lot, of course. Funny, when we first put this event together in 2000, we always thought it was a once-in-a-lifetime around-the-world travel adventure. Boy, were we wrong! Today, about 25% of our participants are now repeating. We think that speaks volumes! We are flattered. Happy travelers are willing to come and experience the world like we provide them again…and again…and again.

There must be something about participating in our travel adventure that is enriching, exciting, fun, challenging, and for many, becomes a trans-formative and life-changing event. We like to think that we have turned everyone that participates into Thrillionaires.

Here are some quotes and videos from former alum. Enjoy.

Q) What does the global media say about The Global Scavenger Hunt travel adventure competition?

A) Again, a lot…here are some international media quotes and links to check out. Enjoy.

Here is our most recent 2024 – e-Media Kit too…

Q) What does The Global Scavenger Hunt’s charity aspect mean to me?

A) Thank you for asking.

First off, frankly, this is why we do The Global Scavenger Hunt. Believe us, it isn’t because we have grown rich pulling off this labor of love year after year; no, it’s because we know how much good comes from the event and how it affects so many other people’s lives so profoundly. So that’s why we do it.

Simply put, we have disguised TGSH as the stealth-like platform in which the GreatEscape Foundation  can raise funds to help others help themselves and make that great escape from poverty. We don’t like to pound people over the head. Still, our tax-exempt IRS-approved 501(c)3 nonprofit GreatEscape Foundation (ID# 954831064), does some really wonderful things, like: build co-ed elementary schools in developing nations, build health clinics in the middle of the desert to service nomadic tribes and train mid-wives, and it has helped countless moms make some extra money so that they can better care for and educate their children. Check out our Doing Good section for additional details. Or see our 2024 What We Do Foundation brochure too

So how does this affect you as a participant in TGSH? Well, if you help us raise funds, we can maybe help you travel. Because as an added incentive to help the GreatEscape Foundation help others, TGSH team that raises the most funds using the event as their creative, eye-catching and fun platform—over and above each team’s goal of $40,000—will automatically be entered into the next edition—of The Global Scavenger Hunt for free—with their entire entry fees waived, win or lose the event! A free trip around the world for helping others. It is as easy as that. That’s our way of giving back to you for helping others. So, start early if you desire to make a real impact in our world!

Now you should know that raising funds for the GreatEscape Foundation is an entirely optional endeavor. You do not have to raise a dime, or help us raise a dime, if you don’t want to. Some teams go gangbusters, some do nothing. But what we have found over the last decade is two things: 1) it always enhances your life/adventure knowing that you helped others unselfishly and make what you do, more than just being about you—that you are a part of something bigger; and 2) since our travelers don’t know where they are going, we find that they have a tremendous amount of built-up untapped energy to expend, and we have found that giving them a productive and effective way to use that positive energy turns into a win-win-win by doing some good for others.

Frankly, some people are great at raising money—it is as easy as asking—whereas, some could not do it if their life depended on it. We really do understand. So, to each his own. But if you want to help, we can help empower you in a proven and successful way. Who knows, there may even be some tax benefits for you too.*

*U.S. Federal Tax Law provides deductions where “there is no significant element of personal pleasure, recreation, or vacation.” You should consult your tax adviser if you have any questions.

Q) I have never really traveled internationally. Is that a problem?

A) Well, yea, probably!? We want to ensure we’re not committing travel malpractice by allowing some greenhorn cruise addict to travel who would seriously have no business traveling to some off-the-beaten-track destination. Can you just imagine if we dropped some neophytes in Delhi for three days and just said, “Go do your list of scavenges“!? Jeez, we may never see them again.

So, yes, we interview everyone for suitability. Having traveled (you and/or your teammate, international and/or domestic) is essential to us…go figure.

TGSH is for the most creative, curious and travel savvy globetrotters and travel enthusiasts. Participants should have working knowledge and experience in dealing with spontaneous travel circumstances and snafus, dealing with different cultures, logistics and language barriers. Having said that, some people know a lot after traveling through just a few countries. At the same time, while some folks are still, well, not so competent after visiting 100 countries. And believe us, we’ve met many! It is quality, not quantity.

Q. Isn’t air travel bad for the environment and contributes to the worsening of climate change? 

A) Yes, it does! And For years, we have written about the harmful effects of travel on the environment. It is a genie that can’t be put back in the bottle and yet we cannot continue business-as-usual; something must be done by each of us. It is true that transit systems around-the-world—planes, airports and local transportation—are becoming more efficient, but they still adversely impact the environment. So, for those of us unwilling to outrightly forego the new relationships, enrichment and magic that travel offers us, we want to help you help the planet. 

From Day One, with our original event back in 2002, we at The Global Scavenger Hunt™ have always had a participant’s code of conduct—things we encourage our participants to do while traveling on our annual adventure that may help mitigate some of the negative effects that result from our desire for adventure and travel. They are embedded in our core values.

Moreover, here’s what we consciously do at The Global Scavenger Hunt when putting together and arranging our annual around the world travel adventure: 
1) We attempt to stay at properties that operate on a low or neutral carbon impact philosophy; 
2) We attempt to take as many long-haul flights and as many direct nonstop flights as possible, fly on newer fleets of fuel-efficient aircraft and avoid all manner of cruise ships (which emit three to four times more carbon dioxide per passenger than commercial flights!), thus reducing our CO2 footprint per passenger per kilometer; 
3) We attempt to use public mass transit as much as possible; 
4) We attempt to eat and drink as locally as possible; 
5) We only travel in the off-peak shoulder season, thereby lessening the stresses and strains of overtourism on our selected destinations; and finally, 
6) We attempt to educate our travelers to make wiser environmental choices when traveling and abide by our own core values.  

And although we have personally purchased carbon offsets in the past, we started offering participants of the The Global Scavenger Hunt the opportunity to help reduce their carbon footprint while traveling with us with the creation of a third-party verified offset program built-in to their event participation.

Q) Is this just another version of those reality TV shows…like The Amazing Race?

A) We get asked this question a lot, almost daily. The short answer is NO!

We started our event in May 2000, a year before The Amazing Race aired on TV in Fall 2001. We are flattered by the comparisons—we think?

Our travel adventure competition is “open” to all comers—real people, real travelers, not perfectly cast players for melodramatic purposes. Our event does not induce drama between teammates or other competing teams. Our participants have to trust strangers in strange lands—not depend on the accompanying producer to help make sure they get where they are actually going. We don’t kick any of our teams out of the competition for not doing well on a leg. Our competitors perform real authentic site-doing scavenges, not just perform pre-staged action stunts. (Can you do it again, we didn’t get the shot!) And finally, our event crowns The World’s Greatest Travelers™ in the only annual around-the-world international travel adventure competition. It is the world travel championship. Finally, our event attempts to raise consciousnesses and funds for worthy causes, not worry about ratings and ad sales revenue. (I know, sour grapes, right!?)

That said, on occasion, portions of The Global Scavenger Hunt are recorded and eventually end up in numerous media outlets: network news, embedded in news articles, on YouTube and social media channels, documentaries, and in our participant’s homes during family video-watching nights.

If you like photos…enjoy this montage through the years…You are officially invited!

Please, if you have any additional questions, please email us:
gsh {at} GlobalScavengerhunt (dot) com.

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