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COVID-19 Keeping you safe

Here at Dream Challenges, the health and safety of our participants is always - and has always been - our highest priority. As we emerge into a new post-lockdown era, we're enhancing our health and safety procedures and taking a number of key actions to protect you from the coronavirus and other illnesses.

Whilst the risk of contracting COVID-19 on your travels can never be completely eliminated, the risk of transmitting the virus can be significantly reduced. Our team of experts here at DC has created the following 14-step initiative, to minimise the risk of coronavirus and reassure you that you're safe booking with us.

Although we're taking a number of measures to enable greater social distancing (which we've outlined below), there will be moments on every challenge where it's impossible to maintain a distance of two metres from other people, including your fellow participants.

We're providing all participants with Travel Safe Kits to reduce the risk of infection considerably. If you're booked on an overseas challenge with us, you'll receive this in the weeks before departure.

All Travel Safe kits, packed in a fully sanitised environment, will include:

  • Face masks for every day of the challenge, including travel days. *Please note, it is up to you when you wear these and it is not mandatory to wear them while trekking and/or cycling.
  • Flight-friendly bottles of hand sanitiser
  • Packs of anti-bacterial wipes
  • Marker pen so that plastic water bottles can be identified and filled remotely on a daily basis to minimise contact.

We have always, in partnership with two globally renowned organisations, applied rigorous health and safety checks to our hotels, airlines, coaches, event transport and any other significant aspect of a Dream Challenge.

Now though, we are going even further, by requiring that these services pass COVID-19 hygiene and cleanliness tests as part of our health and safety protocols.

We will be issuing challenge-specific guidance to our challenge staff and, when necessary, to participants as well.

We are also including COVID-19 mitigation as part of our challenge-specific route and risk assessments for all challenges.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, many travel insurance providers are excluding COVID-19 from their cover.

However, we have sourced a provider offering coverage in the event that you fall ill on your challenge as a result of COVID-19 and need to return home, in addition to essential coverage.

The excellent insurance policy we have sourced will cover you for cancellation due to diagnosed COVID-19 or medically advised isolation. We'll send all participants details of this once you register for the challenge. See the policy details here.

*If you have independently arranged insurance, please check its COVID-19 terms.

If there are signs of COVID-19 in the area you are due to visit, we will contact you with a change to your balance due date.

To give us more time to assess whether it is possible to run your challenge, we can postpone the payment of your balance from twelve weeks before departure to six weeks.

If you have chosen the minimum sponsorship option to fund your challenge, your sponsorship deadline will also be postponed to six weeks before departure when your chosen charity will fund your participation.

Furthermore, if you are forced to cancel your place close to departure as a result of COVID-19 symptoms and you are not able to claim through your insurance provider, we pledge to be as flexible as possible in our cancellation costs.

Instead of the industry-standard 100% cancellation fee, we would negotiate with our suppliers and charge only those costs which we could not recover ourselves.

Our challenge doctors will call all participants on upcoming challenges to introduce themselves and check for symptoms before travelling.

They may suggest that you speak with your GP before travelling if you haven't done so already.

When reliable ‘on demand’ testing becomes available, it is our intention to test challenge leaders and all other event staff before departure.

We are also enhancing the medical training that our challenge leaders and other event staff receive to include COVID-specific knowledge and actions.

The average group size for a Dream Challenge is around 20 - 30 participants, and the overwhelming majority do not exceed 35 guests.

We usually trek/cycle as one group, but we're introducing staggered-starts on every day of our challenges.

This will enable greater social distancing between participants.

We'll also have more event staff to ensure every start wave has a challenge guide.

The average group size for a Dream Challenge is around 20 - 30 participants, and the overwhelming majority do not exceed 35 guests.

Due to the varied terrain and access limitations of our challenges, there will be a variety of vehicles we will need for transport, including coaches, mini-buses and on certain events, 4x4 vehicles and jeeps.

Therefore it is not always possible to socially distance while travelling.

All participants and staff should wear the masks provided in your Travel Safe Kits, while in vehicles.

When possible, coaches will have 2 seats per passenger to allow for distancing.

We are working with all our accommodation suppliers to ensure minimal COVID-19 transmission risks.

Due to the nature of our challenges, we usually stay in a variety of accommodation, including hotels, guest houses, lodges and camping.

No matter what the accommodation type, we expect the very highest standards of food hygiene, gloved and masked staff, lower floor rooms to minimise lift usage (where possible) and larger spaces for challenge briefings to enable social distancing.

Usually on our challenges we stay in twin rooms/ two-person tents. However, you can also choose to stay in a single room or tent for an additional, margin-free, cost.

When sharing a tent/room, we ask that you wear the masks provided in your free Travel Safety Kits.

Wherever possible, packed lunches will be provided and buffets will be replaced with table service.

Due to the nature of our events, communal and/or buffet-style meals are sometimes unavoidable. In these cases, we've put precautions into place to limit the contact between staff and food and there will be no self-service.

Challenge celebration meals will also be moved to social-distancing compliant venues.

We’ll thoroughly sanitise all challenge equipment before and between use.

This includes challenge-specific equipment, such as bikes, kayaks, canoes, paddles, sledges etc.

Equipment will be numbered so you can rest assured you will be using the same piece throughout the challenge, unless it needs to be replaced with another piece solely for your use.

In the unlikely event that you are denied entry to your destination as a result of airport temperature checks, or you are forced to curtail your challenge as a result of COVID-19 symptoms, we will be on hand with a duty officer in the UK to support you and get you home.

You may wish to avoid public transport on your journey home. We can arrange a private transfer service to take you to your front door.

This private home transfer service is also available to book if you simply wish to ensure social distancing on your way to and from the airport.

There will be an additional cost for this service, but our option is competitively priced.

We are now avoiding shuttle services on all our challenges, including airport shuttles.

Rest assured that when arriving in/ departing from destination countries, we will always use private cars or coaches arranged by by DC and local partners and not public transport.

Dream Challenges is part of Specialist Journeys, a group of niche travel businesses.

Dedicated Specialist Journeys staff produce daily reports on the COVID-19 situation in every one of our destinations, along with any regulations or restrictions specific to airlines, attractions and local authorities.

We can therefore provide you with the most useful and up-to-date advice and plan contingencies in the event of staff or participant symptoms and the closing of a hotel, restaurant or other venue.

In the event of a localised outbreak, we will be able to change our itinerary and arrangements swiftly to avoid possible exposure.

We will also be in touch with you upon your return – if you show any symptoms and need to self-isolate, we can let all your fellow travellers know, so that they can do the same.

We're here for you

We have worked tirelessly to find solutions that minimise risk and we hope our 14-step initiative has given you the confidence you may have needed to take on a challenge with us soon. After all, there is still an amazing world out there to discover!

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch. Email us at events@dream-challenges.com or call us on 01590 646410 (Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm).

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