This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Love traveling the world? Check. Love scavenger hunts? Check. Think “The Amazing Race” would be awesome… if only it weren’t televised? Well, here’s the event you may want to consider.
Oh, one more thing: Do you and a traveling partner have $12,500 each to spend, which would pay for international airfare, ground transportation, hotel stays (double occupancy), a portion of your meals (40%) and some travel gear — all with the hope of capturing a $50,000 prize for the winning two-person team? If so, the Global Scavenger Hunt may just be for you.
The event, which launched in 2000 but has been held annually since 2008, promises to hook would-be explorers up with unique cultural experiences, including “meditating with monks, training elephants, taking flamenco lessons, cooking local dishes with local chefs, searching out Lost Cities, cracking sacred temple mysteries, joining in local celebrations and learning local languages enough to decipher their scavenger hunt clues.”
The three-week race/rally, from April 12 to May 4, 2019, will take you to 10 unnamed countries, beginning in San Francisco and ending in New York. In 2018, the race began in San Francisco, then hit Taiwan, India, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Argentina, Uruguay and Peru before finishing in the US.
To put it in a more map-friendly perspective, here’s a look at the places visited in the 2014 race, which started in Vancouver and ended in Miami:
This winner-takes-all event is open to anyone, but “event participation is limited.” (Read: Just 15 teams will be chosen to participate.) Here’s where to register.
Your team wins by accumulating the most points over the three-week journey. Event organizers say you’ll have to “actively participate in a series of culturally-oriented site-doing scavenges across four continents. Teams must use available public transportation to get from scavenge to scavenge.” The more legs you win, the better your odds are of winning the race. But all challenges are not created equal, as some scavenges are worth a lot — but are extremely challenging to complete, while others are easy to complete, but worth fewer points. “The teams that work well together and create the right risk-reward formula, usually do well. Consistency is the key to success over the 23-day event.”
Past scavenges include:
- Singing “Born to be Wild” in a karaoke bar with at least three people you’ve met in Seoul, South Korea.
- Learning how to make baklava in a traditional Turkish bakery.
- Learning how to tango properly in Buenos Aires.
- Donating time helping out at an orphanage in Cambodia, a Tibetan refugee camp in Nepal or a medical clinic in Kenya.
Speaking of, the organizers also say they have a charitable mission. Past teams have helped raise funds for schools in the places they’ve visited as well as helped in funding interest-free micro loans.
You’ll receive no clues before you start. So, beefing up on 4,000-year-old Egyptian tombs probably won’t do you any good.
“It is designed this way to keep travelers in the dark as long as possible about their impending destination so that wonderful elements of surprise, mystery and anticipation can be maximized,” the organizers say. “The result? No maps, no guidebooks and none of the usual endless pre-trip online research and planning; but counterbalanced with an overwhelming amount of surprise, spontaneity and serendipity. It keeps all the teams on the same competitive footing — because no one knows any more than any other team.”
The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.
- Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
- Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
- 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
- 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
- Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
- Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
- $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
- Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
- $550 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees