Frequently Asked Questions - Expedition

The Expeditions

Can anyone join an expedition?
Regardless of your background, education path, nationality or race, we believe that a Raleigh expedition should be open to anyone aged 17 to 24 years old who's up for an adventure, making a difference by volunteering overseas and wanting to learn about themselves and different cultures.

As for those who are interested in expedition but are 25 years old and above, do not fret as you can still join the expeditions but you will not be joining as a Venturer but instead as a Volunteer Manager. There are many different roles that you can partake in the expedition such as a Project Manager, Logistics, Medical Officer, Finance Officer and much much more. Do head on here, to find out more about the roles you'd be interested in partaking during the expedition.

Due to the nature of the environments, the remote locations and work that we undertake, any applications with special medical or mobility requirements will be discussed on a one-to-one basis confidentially with our medical co-ordinator during the application process to determine if we can achieve the necessary safety requirements whilst trying to account for the needs and wishes of an individual. We have a good track record in supporting applications from those with a disability and will make every effort to accommodate participants subject to the requirement of the safe running of an adventurous and challenging team based endeavour.

How long are the expeditions?
A full expedition lasts 10 weeks with community, environmental and adventure phases. There are expeditions that lasts for 5 and 7 weeks as well but they do not involve all three phases.

Where can I go?
Currently we offer expeditions to Costa Rica, Nepal or Tanzania.

Do you plan to go to any other countries?
Not at the moment. We prefer to operate in a few countries and dedicate our time and resources to delivering much needed projects in partnership with the government, NGOs and local communities there.

What training will I get?
When you arrive in country you’ll have an induction. This includes safety briefings, risk assessment, casualty evacuation; training in the correct and safe use of tools, camping equipment, and safety equipment including radios.

Why should I choose Raleigh?
We are unique. Firstly our projects are worthwhile and sustainable. We have a permanent presence in every country we work in with a field base and permanent staff. This means we are constantly forming relationships with the government, NGOs and local communities there to ensure the projects are genuinely needed and are planned and delivered with long-term partners. Secondly, our volunteers come from a wide variety of backgrounds and nationalities so you'll be making friends with people from all walks of life. Finally, since 1984 we’ve been running structured expeditions that are safe, challenging and life-changing. So we know what we’re doing.

The Projects

Can I choose the projects that I work on?
No volunteers are able to choose the specific project, as we need to ensure a diverse mix of people on each project. Take a look at the country pages of the website for the types of projects you might be working on.

Can I work with animals?
We don’t run many projects with animals, but please contact us for the latest information. You may get the opportunity to see wildlife whilst living in certain environments

Will I be doing work that takes away jobs from the locals?
Not at all. We work with project partners to provide materials and manpower to complete projects that wouldn't otherwise get done, either because of a lack of funds or direction. On our project sites we work alongside locals, often bringing communities together for the first time and inspiring them to achieve things they never thought possible.

The People

Who takes part in an expedition?
We encourage people from all walks of life, nationalities and age groups. Venturers are aged between 17 and 24 and are usually taking a gap year between school, university or work. We do also have disadvantaged young people from the UK and host country participants. Our volunteer managers aged 25 up to 75 are usually taking a sabbatical, a longer-term career break, time out from their home life or simply enjoying their retirement.

Can I go with a friend?
Yes, although we can’t guarantee you’ll be allocated to the same project groups. In our experience venturers who break from the familiar and live and work alongside a diverse group of new people develop more self-confidence and gain a sense of pride from achieving the project goals.

Will I need a visa for the countries?
This depends on your chosen expedition country. Before submitting your application, please check the relevant embassy for visa requirements.

The Costs

How much will it cost?

As we are a charity, we talk about fundraising rather than costs. Your fundraising amount will depend on your chosen Expedition length:

10 week Expedition $5,000 USD
7 week Expedition $4,500 USD
5 week Expedition $3,600 USD
4 week Expedition $3,100 USD

Do I have to fundraise to join an expedition?
You can raise the funds to join the expedition in any way you like. This may include traditional fundraising activities such as sponsored events, or writing off to companies, asking friends and family for donations or using money you have saved through working. We prefer you to do some traditional fundraising as it’s a great way to raise awareness of our charitable activities, help you develop more skills and get in the spirit of Raleigh!

Where does my money go?
76% goes towards running the expedition in terms of planning and delivery of projects, staff costs in country, running field base, food and accommodation, in-country travel, specialist equipment, training in the UK and in-country etc. 12% goes towards recruitment, marketing and PR, 11% towards head office overheads and 1% goes towards the governance of running a charity.

Will I have to arrange my own flight?

How much will my flight cost?
This varies depending on your expedition country, departure airport and how far in advance you book your tickets.

What happens if I do not achieve my minimum fundraising target?
Applicants can pay for their expedition in any way they like, not just by fundraising, for example by saving up or from donations from friends and family. We support you throughout by giving you ideas and reminders. However, if you still cannot manage the target then you can choose another expedition at a later stage.

What is the deadline for applying for an expedition?
We run expeditions throughout the year and encourage venturers to apply between six and 18 months in advance to ensure you get the place you want and give you time to raise the money. We do accept applications up to a month in advance, however you will have missed out on the Introduction Weekend and you will have to organise your fundraising and vaccinations very quickly.

Health and Safety

Do you provide my medical insurance?
Once the medical form has been completed and received by us your insurance is provided. All current and previous medical conditions must be on the form and all medications listed. If you suffer with a condition that you haven’t put on your form this will void your insurance.

Are there any medical restrictions for expedition?
We try to be as inclusive as possible but obviously need to ensure the safety of every individual on expedition. If you suffer with a long standing medical condition please ensure that you discuss this with us as soon as possible.

What happens if I get diagnosed with a condition before I go?
Please inform us as soon as possible. As long as the condition will not have an impact on your experience or the rest of the expedition we can usually work around it and ensure the insurance covers you.

What happens if I injure myself before I go?
Please inform us to discuss the options.

Do I need any vaccines for the expedition?
All expedition countries will require some vaccines to ensure you are protected against some common diseases. The list of essential and optional vaccines can be found in your expedition pack. The essential vaccines are required for travel with us and the completed vaccine form must be returned to us at least four weeks before departure. You will not be accepted on expedition unless you have had all of the essential vaccines.

Why do I need rabies vaccines for all destinations?
All of the countries we work in have a risk of rabies. Part of the appeal of Raleigh is that we work in remote environments, which are often a drive from the nearest suitable medical facilities. Without the vaccine, treatment of immunoglobulin is required within 24 hours, however there is a worldwide shortage of this treatment. We cannot guarantee we can get you to a centre that stocks the treatment within 24 hours of being bitten, licked or scratched by a potentially rabid animal. Current guidelines issued by the WHO, CDC and the NHS recommend that a rabies vaccine is required for travel to our expedition countries for a stay of more than four weeks.

Does a doctor need to sign my vaccine form?
Your GP doesn't need to sign your form but your practice nurse or travel clinic nurse can help you to fill it in correctly.

Will I need to take malaria tablets?
Borneo and Costa Rica & Nicaragua are malarial areas and will require you to take malaria tablets. Please see your practice nurse, GP or travel clinic at least 6 weeks prior to departure date to discuss your options. You must also ensure that you have enough tablets with you on expedition to cover the whole duration.

Which malaria tablets do I need to take?
There are a variety of different tablets available for malaria prevention. Your practice nurse, GP or travel clinic will be able to help you decide which one is most suitable for the area you are travelling to. If you travel on after your expedition the areas you visit may have different malaria tablet requirements.

When do I take them?
All of the malaria tablets are different so please check if the ones you are taking are daily or weekly. If you’re on weekly tablets please make sure you take them on a Sunday for the duration of the expedition. All malaria tablets need to be taken before, during and after expedition for varying lengths of time, please make sure you’re aware of these timescales.

Do we purify water that we drink?
Water that has any risk of causing illness will be purified. On static sites we will provide the purification systems to purify large volumes of water for the whole group to drink and cook with. Whilst on the trekking phase you will require your own water purification tablets as you may have to fill up your water bottles in rivers and from local supplies.

What should we purify the water with?
Over the years we have found that chlorine water purification tablets with filters are the most safe and effective way to purify water so it’s safe to drink. Iodine tablets are also available for purchase.

What happens if I become ill during the expedition?
We have a team of medics on every expedition and each site has an extensive medical kit available. We have good relationships with the local doctors and hospitals too and will ensure you get any medical care you need. Your insurance covers your medical expenses as long as all conditions have been put on your medical form. The insurance also covers repatriation should this become necessary.

Further Travel

What do I need to consider if I am going to travel on afterwards?
Please check the vaccine and malaria recommendations for the areas. You will need your own medical insurance from the day expedition ends. 

Can I travel before or after my expedition?
Yes. If you travel afterwards there will probably be other venturers that you can travel with.

Can I hang out at field base after my expedition?
No, the country director and country staff will need to focus on planning the next expedition, so they will be very busy!