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!

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 traveller?

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.

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?

Baltic Run: When the 30th team has registered or 45 days before the start date.

Bullathon: When the 30th teams has registered or 30 days before the start of the event.

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

Central Asia Rally: When the 30th team has registered or 60 days before the start date.

Grand Moroccan Escapade: When the 30th team has registered or 45 days before the start date.

Great Balkan Ride: When the 30th team has registered or 30 days before the start date.

India’s Cup: When the 30th team has registered or 30 days before the start date.

Wild West Challenge: When the 30th team has registered or 45 days before the start date.

We encourage you to sign up early to guarantee your place in the event.

What are the payment options?

You can pay per banktransfer and PayPal.

.

What is the deadline for the entrance fee?

Baltic Run: 45 days before the start of the rally

Bullathon: 30 days before the start of the rally

Caucasian Challenge: 30 days before the start of the rally

Central Asia Rally: 60 days before the start date

Grand Moroccan Escapade: 45 days before the start of the rally

Great Balkan Ride: 30 days before the start of the rally

India’s Cup: 30 days before the start of the rally

Wild West Challenge: 45 days before the start of the rally

 

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 in the time mentioned above for each 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 is included?

Administration of the Travel Scientists’ rallies 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 basic trip package such as:

– 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 do I need?

Once your registration form has been processed by us and we’ve received the first part of your payment, 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*

*this will be provided to you by us for Deluxe Entries

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.

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

We ask you to contact 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. 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.

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 do we spend the nights?

Sleeping accommodations are the responsibility of the participants. We give you a tailor-made road book that lists some of the local accommodations for the nights. Each night a designated hotel (sometimes a campsite) becomes the rally 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.

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 kind of roads will we be driving on?

The rally 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!

Can I make it with a 2WD car or do I need 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 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 happens if my car breaks down?

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. We mark real remote parts of the route in the road book and recommend to drive them in small groups to help each other out in emergency.

What maps and navigation techniques do you recommend?

We give you 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. All the GPS maps we give to participants are Garmin format. Also GPS and navigation programs on mobile phones have improved majorly over the last years and they work fairly well even in the remote regions we visit now.

But of course it is way more fun to find the destination in the old fashioned way – with paper maps, following rusty signs and asking the locals!

Participants can read more info about the GPS devices and useful maps in the Road Book.

.

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.

How much money should I bring?

This depends on many factors like the fuel efficiency of your car, the  accommodation you choose and what you eat. You can do our rallies on a shoestring and you can live the high life. If you choose our hotel package, the amount you need to bring will naturally decrease.

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.

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!

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 driving license. 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.

How many people can be in a team?

Typically teams consist of two people. This provides ample room for both you and any additional gear you may wish to carry such as cameras, water etc… A rickshaw can easily take 3 people and this is also a common team format but your space is then limited.

Can I join as a solo traveler?

Your choice, of course, but doing all the driving alone can make it tiring and restrict your ability to take in the views and soak up the experience.
If you cannot persuade a friend to join you then we are happy to assist pairing you up with another lone traveler.

How many people will join the rally?

Maximum 25 teams can register. Thanks to our liberal definition of a team (1 to 3 people), that number can vary.

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 trip page 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 25th team has registered or 30 days before the start date.

What are the payment options?

You can pay per wire and PayPal.

What is the deadline for the entrance fee?

30 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 45 days before the start of the event.

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 is included?

Administration of the Rickshaw Challenge is a full time, year-round job for 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:

– Rickshaw Training
– Rickshaw vehicle, permit and documents
– Vehicle insurance
– Support crew and vehicle
– Luggage handling
– Organiser assistance through the event
– Survival kit

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.

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 do I need?

Once your Team 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 (for non-Indians)
– Vehicle registration document*
*this will be provided to you by the Rickshaw Challenge Team

We strongly suggest you make copies of all your essential documents. You are able to drive autorickshaws on a licence with either car or motorcycle entitlement. If you intend to only be a passenger you will not need any licence.

Help, I’ve never driven a rickshaw before…

Worry not. The organizers of the Rickshaw Challenge will provide a crash course (ahem) for all participants. We think you will find the vehicles surprisingly easy and fun to drive.

What if I don’t want to drive a rickshaw?

Not all participants in the team are required to drive. If you’re not interested in being a driver in the event, you can still enjoy the journey from the back seat and take on the important role of being official filmmaker, photographer or navigator for your team.

Do I need to get coverage in case of an accident?

Your basic vehicle insurance is automatically covered once you are entered in the race however we strongly encourage all participants to have appropriate travel insurance to deal with medical and other costs.

How much will a rickshaw cost to rent?

The cost of the auto rickshaw rental will be included in the entrance fee. However, you are responsible for paying a €1000 deposit upon receipt of your rickshaw to cover any damage to the vehicle, this deposit also covers a mobile phone for the event. The deposit will be returned to you in full if the condition of your vehicle at the end of the event is very similar to its condition at the beginning. If you’d like to make any customization to your rickshaw, our “Pimp my ‘Shaw’” team will be excited to add your requested features to your autorickshaw. This is priced separately, please contact us for details and a price list.

If I fall in love with my rickshaw, can I buy it?

Yes! If after the trip you just can’t bear to part with your trusty rickshaw we can come to an arrangement. You will be responsible for all costs associated with the purchase beyond the sticker price including: taxes, shipping, customizations, rush and service fees. We will be glad to assist.
We also offer a search and buy service for both participants and non-participants so if you want to return home with a momento with a difference just say the word! And if you really want to go for it check out our “Pimp my Shaw” service.

What if I want to buy a different model and make insane customizations?

Sure! You can do anything that’s legal & considered roadworthy in India so basically pretty much anything goes! We’ve had rickshaws done up as mobile discos, giant rabbits, and with luxuries like flip down flat screens and on board fridges! You dream it, we’ll pimp it!

Can I donate my rickshaw to a charitable cause?

Provided our own costs are covered then yes. We’ve already had teams successfully donate their rickshaws to worthy local causes. Our partnership with the Round Table India means that we will easily be able to find a grateful home for your rickshaw and provide you with any necessary donation receipts or philanthropic support. New, used or just funny looking someone will be happy to accept it.

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.

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

We ask you to contact 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. 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.

Is there a trip manager?

Each Rickshaw Challenge 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.

Where do we spend the nights?

Accommodations are included for Standard and Deluxe teams. If you’re on the Basic package, then accommodation is your responsibility. In the road book you get a list of hotel/hostel options with as much information as possible. You can choose based on your priorities, though keep in mind that we are traveling during tourist season in some places that have very few options to start with. To make things easier for participants we offer limited accommodation packages before the start of the event.

What kind of roads will we be driving on?

The Rickshaw 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 rickshaw can participate, no matter its age or model. Of course, we’ll all be expected to get out and push at some point.

What happens if I get lost?

You will be driving an unfamiliar vehicle in unfamiliar territory. You will get lost. A lot. 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 rickshaw teams know that the best way to get back on track is during a chat while sampling the wares of a local coconut or tea seller. If you really are hopelessly lost you have the back up of the Rickshaw Challenge Team. Part of your support pack is a pre-paid mobile phone which you can use to summon the team for help and if required, rescue!
And finally, before you consider coming armed with GPS and sophisticated mapping equipment just remember that technology can’t tell you if the road was washed away during the last monsoon or if the road contains potholes the size of moon craters!

What happens if my rickshaw breaks down?

No worries, there is at least one rickshaw repair shop every few hundred meters an every second Indian is a rickshaw repair expert, so within no time you’ll be surrounded by some helpful souls.

Each Rickshaw Challenge is also accompanied by a support crew and vehicle, whom you can contact and who’ll come to rescue.

How much money should I bring?

That is entirely up to you, but here’s what you should keep in mind.

First of all you need to bring the 1000 Euros for the rickshaw deposit in cash (we don’t accept cards, cheques and IOU notes).

You will have time to tour in India, which also means you will have time to gather a few souvenirs should you choose to do so. You’ll want to bring enough money to cover your food and drink costs, nightly housing costs, etc. for a week as well as some coverage in case of an emergency. ATMs and currency exchange will be available throughout the course of the event, but we also advise you have access to funds from home. After many years of great challenges with international participants we have found that most people are happy with €50 per day. Your preferences may be more or less expensive.

Will I be able to keep my valuables somewhere?

There will be a safety deposit box in the support vehicle of the event. If there is anything you do not wish to carry with you in your auto rickshaw for any reason, you can trust your possessions with our team. You will be given a detailed receipt of items placed in our possession. It will be your responsibility to hang on to this receipt in order to have your belongings returned to you.

If you have any further or specific questions about the Rickshaw Challenge, please feel free to contact us.