Gap Adventures, Planterra raise funds for Kenya drought relief

The Kenya drought is the worst in decadesEarlier this week, adventure travel company Gap Adventures and non-profit organization Planeterra joined forces in an effort to raise funds for drought relief in Kenya. The two organizations challenged the adventure travel community to raise $25,000, and that community responded en masse, raising the funds in just six hours.

The severe drought that has hit East Africa has created significant problems for the inhabitants of that part of the world. Many of them have left their homes in Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti, and Kenya for refugee camps located in a northern part of that country. That influx of people has put a severe strain on the aid stations there and stretched already thin resources to the limit.

In order to relieve that strain more water stations need to be built, which is what Gap Adventures and Planeterra had hoped to accomplish when they appealed to their travel communities for funds. What they didn’t expect was such a generous outpouring of support from travelers, who helped them reach their goal in a short time, but kept giving even after the target amount was hit. In fact, the donations are still coming in, and are being accepted and managed by CARE Canada.

As one of the leading adventure travel companies in the world, Gap has always been at the forefront of giving back to the countries which they visit. The company also helped to launch Planeterra, a non-profit that offers assistance to local people around the globe, helping them to create a sustainable approach to tourism and preserving their culture.

Raising $25,000 in just six hours is very impressive and heartwarming. It is a testament to how much the travel community wants to give back to the places that we visit, and while we’re all facing challenging economic times, we can still find a way to reach out and help others in their time of need.

[Photo courtesy of CARE Canada]

Gap Adventures introduces new trips for 2011

New trips from Gap AdventuresAs the final days of 2010 rapidly slip away, it is time to look to the new year for new opportunities and adventures. With that in mind, travel company Gap Adventures announced a host of outstanding new trips last week, offering up fantastic options for travelers looking for unique experiences.

Gap Adventures is amongst the top adventure travel companies in the world, offering hundreds of affordable trips to far flung places across the globe. These newly announced offerings are no different, giving travelers more than 100 new trips to choose from in 2011.

The new trips have been designed to offer a little something for everyone. For example, the Columbia Coffee Trails adventure is perfect for coffee lovers everywhere. They’ll visit some of South America’s top coffee plantations in search of the perfect brew, while exploring lush landscapes in Columbia, a country that his quickly becoming a top destination for travelers.

If coffee isn’t your thing, perhaps you’ll find an adventure more to your liking in Africa. New offerings to that continent will get travelers off the beaten path and into remote villages, where they’ll experience cultural immersion, spectacular landscapes, and fantastic wildlife. And if climbing Kilimanjaro has always been on your “bucket list,” Gap has made it easier and more affordable than ever with new options for that classic trek.

Gap has new adventures on every continent, ranging from the island of Sumatra to the deserts of Egypt, to the highlands of Guatemala and beyond. So whether you want to go to Europe, Asia, the Middle East, or somewhere in between, you’ll find plenty of fantastic opportunities in Gap’s back catalog or in their new offerings. To check out all the new trips, click here. But be warned, there are so many great trips to choose from, you may have to select more than one.

Discovery Adventures announces new trips for 2011

Discovery Adventures, the Discovery Channel’s foray into the travel industry, announced a number of new destinations last week, offering travelers several new adventurous options for 2011. Sticking to the themes of their previous excursions, these new itineraries offer cultural and historical immersion in some of the most exotic and spectacular places on the planet.

The company has partnered with Gap Adventures, one of the top adventure travel companies in the world, to help deliver some amazing new trips to such destinations as Japan, Kenya, Greece, Italy, France, Turkey and Indochina. The trips range in duration from 8 to 15 days and include comfortable accommodations and a selection of amenities to choose from, as well as some unforgettable experiences that can’t be found anywhere else.

The new trips include Classic Japan, during which travelers will have the opportunity to visit the Hiroshima Peace Park, explore an ancient Japanese castle, and visit the famous Geisha District. The new Kenya Wildlife Safari visits the Great Rift Valley and the Masai Mara Game Reserve in search of lions, elephants, and the rare black rhino, while the Historic Footsteps Through France tour takes visitors to the beaches of Normandy and the wine country of the Loire Valley.

Additionally, Discovery Adventures has also teamed with the Planterra Foundation, a non-profit organization that looks to have a positive impact on destinations around the globe through a series of voluntourism opportunities. These trips allow travelers to visit some distinct, and often remote, destinations, while working on important community building projects. These trips deliver an amazing cultural experience unlike any others, as travelers get to see the direct and immediate impact of their work on the places that they visit.

For a complete list of these new adventure travel options, as well as their existing catalog of trips, go to DiscoveryAdventures.com, and start planning your adventures for 2011.

Win a travel documentary scholarship to the Amazon

Gap Adventures and National Geographic are teaming up to give one aspiring filmmaker the chance of a lifetime. The two organizations are giving away a film scholarship that will allow the recipient to work with veteran film producer Trent O’Donnell, who will mentor the budding documentarian in the art of making a film, while exploring the depths of the Amazon Rainforest. And once the project is finished, the film may make its debut on the Nat. Geo Adventure Channel, an opportunity filmmakers often wait years to get.

This scholarship is open to anyone, whether you’re a film student or not, with the only requirements being that you must be at least 18 years of age, and hold a current passport. You should also have a healthy sense of adventure, a love of films, and be reasonably fit, as there will be some jungle trekking involved.

All applicants are required to make a 3-minute video, in English, based around the theme “Local Encounters”. The video should demonstrate your love of adventure, and show how your “encounter” changed your perspective on the world. A panel of judges will review the entries, looking for originality, the ability to tell an engaging story, and a passion for filmmaking. Once your film is complete, upload it to YouTube and head over to WorldNomads.com to fill out the scholarship application. From there, you’ll complete the process by embedding your film and telling the judges about it in 200 words or less. The deadline for entry is August 1st.

The winner won’t just get the opportunity to make a film with Trent O’Donnell. They’ll also receive a flight to Quito, Ecuador sometime in the last two weeks of September, where they’ll have the chance to explore the Amazon with O’Donnell and Bruce Poon Tip, the founder of Gap Adventures. They’ll actually stay in the rainforest with the local Quichua tribes, learning about their way of life, and creating a film on sustainable tourism.

To find out more about this great opportunity, click here. Then go blow the dust off your video camera and get filming. Who knows, you might be on your way to the Amazon in just a few short months.

Create your own adventure with Gap!

Do you have a destination that you’ve always wanted to visit, but just couldn’t quite find the right way to get there? if so, you’re in luck, as Gap Adventures, one of the top adventure travel companies in the world, is inviting you to Create Your Own Adventure as part of a new contest that could send you, and two of your friends, off on your dream trip.

Designing your own adventure couldn’t be easier. Simply go to the website and begin the process by selecting your destinations from a world map, adding countries to your planned itinerary. From there, decide the length of your trip and select possible places to visit from within your selected countries. Next, you’ll decide how you want to travel, with everything from trains, boats, buses, and even your own two feet as options. You’ll also get to choose your level of accommodations, ranging from overnight buses and home stays, up to boutique hotels and private lodges as options. Finally, you’ll name your tour, and write a summary about what makes it so exceptional. After entering your personal contact info, you’ll then submit your dream tour for consideration.

The travel company has put together an interesting group of judges who will turn their critical eye on your travel masterpiece, deciding if it is worthy of being called a Gap adventure. The panelists include the likes of Tony Wheeler, the co-founder of Lonely Planet, John Rasmus, the editor of National Geographic Adventure Magazine, and adventurer Alastair Humphreys, who has circled the globe by bike and paddled the Yukon River. These judges, amongst others, will help to whittle down all of the entries to the top 20 finalists, which will then be voted on by the public, to determine which tour is the best of the best.

You can enter the contest anytime between now and the end of March. The judges will then select the finalist in early April, with voting scheduled to run from April 8-25. The final prize winners will be announced on May 25, with the designer of the winning tour being sent on the trip with two of their closest friends. The tour will also be included in the 2011 Gap catalog as well.

Not feeling all that creative when it comes to designing your own adventure? Never fear, as Gap has you covered too. Five people will be randomly selected to join the trip as well, despite the fact that they have no idea at this point where they could be headed. Click here to enter to win one of these random slots.

So, if you’ve ever wanted to kayak down the Nile or cross the Gobi Desert on foot, this might be your chance. Perhaps a mountain biking tour of Ethiopia would be more your style, or camping in the Amazon Rainforest. Let Gap bring whatever trip you’ve been dreaming of to life and then send you on that adventure of a lifetime.