FAQ

Who are the Travel Scientists?

The Travel Scientists is the world’s most gonzo adventure travel operator. Based in Budapest and Chennai, we have specialized in organizing car rallies all across the globe – India, the Caucasus, Central Asia, you name it – and after more than 10 years in the business, we are among the best. Our rallies are not about speed or competition, but we like to foster a sense of community and communal adventure, making friends for a lifetime rather than just driving from A to B by yourself. Find out more!

 

When does the Caucasian Challenge take place?

August 13-23, 2019

 

Is it safe?

Um, sort of. The more you obey the rules listen to advice and practice common sense; you’ll probably do just fine. But it’s not guaranteed, you won’t have a support or rescue team nudging you on plus you’ll be in extremely remote areas at some point. This is real adventure. Read more about the threats and dangers. We never had major security/safety problems in the past years so don’t be too much concerned, just use common sense and follow the Road Book.

 

Who is eligible to participate?

Anyone with a valid driver’s license for the type of vehicle you’ll be using. Technically you should also be of sound mind and body… but that’s covered in the terms and conditions you sign before the start. No age restrictions, use your common sense and/or ask the organizers.

 

Can I bring passengers?

Of course! The whole experience is made to be had with friends. Each passenger needs to be registered as team member and pay the entrance fee.

 

Can I join as a solo traveler?

If you have a car, sure! If you don’t have a car it’s a bit more difficult, but we’ll do our best to hook you up with another team or another solo traveler with a car. Just let us know that you would like to participate and we’ll see what we can do for you!

 

How many people can be in a team?

Typically teams consist of two people. Thanks to our liberal definition of a team (1 to 4 people), that number can vary. Maximum 30 teams can register.

 

How many people will join the rally?

Maximum 30 teams can register. Thanks to our liberal definition of a team (1 to 4 people), that number can vary.

 

What if all the spots are taken?

Now might be a good time to learn about common bribery practices…

 

Do I need a driving license to participate?

All drivers need to be in possession of a valid driver’s license and an international driving license for the type of vehicle you’ll be using. If you are just a passenger and don’t intend to drive, you don’t need one.

 

How do I sign up?

Fill out the form on the page of the adventure rally you have chosen and we will contact you shortly with all further details. You are officially signed up once we’ve received the entrance fee.
We try to be as flexible as possible but please be aware that if full payment is not received on time we reserve the right to reallocate your place to another participant.

 

When do you close registration?

When the 30th team has registered or 30 days before the start date.

 

What is the deadline for the entrance fee?

The deadline for the registration fee is 60 days before the start date. We encourage you to send it in early to guarantee your place in the rally.
– 40% of the registration fee is payable on sign-up to secure place
– balance 60% is due 60 days before start of the rally
We try to be as flexible as possible but please be aware that if full payment is not received on time we reserve the right to reallocate your place to another participant.

 

What are the payment options?

You can pay per bank transfer and PayPal.

 

What does my fee cover?

Administration of the Caucasian Challenge is a full time, year-round job for the organizers and the additional support staff in multiple offices internationally. We work hard to make things as easy as possible for participants to sign up and have a great time. Your fees enable us to carry out all the route planning, research, logistics and administration whilst providing an earning for our hard working staff. In addition to the “background” work, your fee also covers the inclusive features of your trip package such as:

  • Information about and help in arranging visas and all other paperwork
  • Government permits & recommendations, where applicable.
  • Essential and hard-to-find maps.
  • A custom road book that guides you on all aspects of the journey.
  • Official rally gear. (Clothing and accessories)
  • Complete coordination of charity events.
  • Launch party.
  • Finishers party.
  • Organization team located in Budapest available to assist with all questions and issues that arise pre-event.

 

What if the event is cancelled?

Where the event is cancelled the organizers offer the participants the choice of purchasing an alternative event, of at least the same standard if available (and paying in respect of any price difference) or receiving a full refund of all money paid to us less administration charges.

The Organizers will not cancel an event less than 45 days before the departure date except by reason of force majeure or non-payment of fees. There is a minimum number of 10 teams for a event to take place.

 

What if I have to cancel my participation?

Entrance fees may be refunded only if the rally is cancelled for any reason. Entry fees can also be transferred to respective rally in the next year,  if the applicant cannot participate in the upcoming event and informs the organizers at least 45 days prior to the flag off.

 

What kind of paperwork is required?

Once your registration form has been processed by us, you will know your place is confirmed and can set about planning for the trip. You will need all the usual documentation you would expect for a holiday as follows:

  • Passport (with visa where applicable)
  • Travel insurance
  • Driving licence
  • International Driving Permit (if necessary)
  • Vehicle registration document

 

What vehicle papers will I need?

The same standard papers required elsewhere: car insurance (green card) and vehicle registration paper (called ‘car passport’). If the vehicle is on someone else’s name make sure you have an authorization. Any paper that connects you with the owner of the car (or whoever is in the car papers), will be fine for the border procedures. We will notify you in advance if there are any special requirements. Anyhow, you’ll find all the details in the road book.

 

What kind of visa do I need?

A tourist visa is sufficient. Contact your local embassies for more information and any needed application processing. We encourage you to apply early (45 days before departure) in case of delays.

 

Is there a trip manager?

Each rally will be accompanied by an organizer team with years of experience, which will be available every morning and every evening in the base hotel, in case you should have questions about the next day’s route or need help with anything else. After years of organizing our rallies, we know the region well and will do our best to help you with all your problems, but remember that this is a minimal assistance event and you yourself are responsible for your car’s maintenance and repair.

 

Where are we going to spend the night(s)?

Sleeping accommodations are the responsibility of the participants. We give you a tailor-made road book, in advance, that lists some of the local accommodations for the nights. Each night a designated hotel (sometimes a campsite) becomes the Caucasian Challenge base camp. This is the place where you’ll find the organizers, parties and a friendly place to hang out or get help.
We put together a hotel package, so if you sign up for that, you won’t have a problem with your places to stay for the whole length of the event. It’s not mandatory but one thing less to think about while on the road – just pick up your key and enjoy the night. Hotel package prices and conditions will be announced prior to to the start date.

 

What types of roads will we be driving on?

The Caucasian Challenge organizers have researched and planned the route based on roads marked on common maps, however this is a big cultural shift from developed highways. Expect dirt roads, potholes within potholes, landslides, and the possibility of roads not existing anymore! The route is designed so that any car can participate, no matter its age or model. Of course, we might all be expected to get out and push at some point.

 

Can I make it with a 2WD car or do I need a 4WD?

The routes are designed so that any car can participate, no matter its age or model. Of course, we might all be expected to get out and push at some point.

 

What if I break down on the way?

We could say bad luck but it’s rather good luck. You have a wonderful opportunity to test your sense to find a mechanic or someone who knows someone maybe far from the next village, test your team mate’s nerves and learn names of car parts in local languages.

 

What about car maintenance and repair?

Team members are solely responsible for any fuel costs, repairs, and any other costs associated with their event vehicle. Upon the instance of a breakdown, the teams will be responsible to procure the services of a local mechanic since the organizers will provide no repair services en route.

 

What happens if I get lost?

If? You definitely will. Luckily help is on hand in all sorts of ways. There are your fellow participants who in the spirit of the event will always lend a helping hand (or occasionally completely stitch you up and send you the wrong way). But who better to point the way than the friendly locals. Savvy teams know that the best way to get back on track is during a chat while sampling the wares of a local fruit seller. Also mobile GPS availability and accuracy even in the remotest regions have improved majorly over the last years, so you’ll always find your way back.

 

What and where will we eat?

There are so many options! We full heartedly recommend trying the local cuisines and stop at the road side for a snack in a little eatery as often as possible. In the evenings we usually meet in the designated hotel and often have dinner together. After years of travelling, we know how to find the best places! Lunch and dinner are not included in any packages, breakfast will be included in most of the hotels, in case you opt for the Standard or Deluxe package.

 

What maps and navigation techniques do you recommend?

There is a series of maps for the whole route including all countries. The really exciting part comes when resources are outdated, inaccurate or there are no maps at all. For this we set GPS navigation waypoints and advise that you have a GPS device that you are comfortable with. We highly recommend Garmin GPS products as a proven brand in adventure traveling.
Participants can read more info about the GPS devices and useful maps in the Road Book.

 

What about vaccines, medical issues, and general health during the event?

We highly suggest contacting a traveler’s clinic in your home country or your personal doctor to find out what kind of vaccinations you might need or medical precautions you should consider before traveling across the Caucasus. We highly recommend you bring a medical kit with you, which should include the following:

  • Pain killers
  • Ointments for insect bites
  • Insect repellent
  • Tweezers and needles
  • Antiseptic alcohol
  • Thermometer
  • Eye drops
  • Vitamins
  • Generic antibiotics
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • First-aid supplies

Please remember, you will be responsible for bringing your own prescription medication as needed.

 

How much money should I bring?

That is entirely up to you and depends on many factors like the fuel efficiency of your car, the  accommodation you choose and what you eat. We ballpark it somewhere around 1000-1500 Euro per person (accommodation included). If you choose our hotel package, this amount will naturally decrease. You can find more detailed information here.

 

Can we get our own sponsors?

All participants are required to have official Caucasian Challenge sponsor stickers on their racing vehicle. However some teams like to offset the cost of the Challenge or increase their charity donations by finding their own team sponsors. Go for it!

 

What do I do with my vehicle at the end of the trip?

You can turn around and drive home, sell the car and fly back or give it away for charity. All these options are your responsibility but we can help guide you with information about the average going rates for your type of vehicle in many of our destination. NOTE: selling a car in with foreign plates is usually a pain in the butt, the administration procedures are complicated and taxes are high. So you better plan with leaving your car there helping some local charities who do all necessary paperwork. Anyhow, if you intend to leave your car, please let us know well in advance so we can help you.