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Travel Adventures: Global Scavenger Hunts

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Phil Keoghan, Amazing Race hostHave you ever dreamed of racing around the world to compete in challenges like a contestant on The Amazing Race?

You don’t have to be on the show to get a piece of the action.

Keep reading to find out how you can match wits against teams from around the world as you travel.

If you’re really serious about competing for the title of “World’s Greatest Traveler,” the Global Scavenger Hunt is currently considering candidates for its 2010 contest. Unlike The Amazing Race, this challenge is more about your ability to connect with cultures than speed and agility.

For three weeks starting April 9, 25 teams will travel from Los Angeles to New York—the long way—and compete in various challenges in 10 countries along the way.

Looking for adventure? Try the Adventure and Sports Travel section

Some challenges are riddles or stunts, like swimming with a bull shark, while others are designed to encourage interactions with locals, like learning the Cyrillic alphabet over a pint of beer with a new friend in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Going full speedThis competition’s price tag will likely discourage many worthy competitors. If you pass the screening process, the cost to play is $9,900 per person, which does cover all flights, accommodations and 40 percent of meals.

On top of that, each team is expected to raise $1 per kilometer (roughly $40,000 per team) for the Great Escape Foundation, which helps entrepreneurs fund their projects in developing countries.

If that’s too rich for your blood, Competitours is gearing up for another European travel competition. Like the Global Scavenger Hunt, Competitours rewards creativity and resourcefulness more than speed.

For more global travel, don’t miss An Around-the-World Voyage … Without a Plane.

This challenge is shorter and less expensive, but just as competitive. Teams travel to five countries on a nine-day mystery itinerary and document their challenges with a portable video camera.

Or milking a yak...Sample challenges include visiting a Rhine River Castle and explaining how a medieval torture instrument could be re-purposed as an everyday household item, or making a 30-second commercial for a 10th century Viking cruise ship in Scandinavia.

Judges typically value substance more than videography skills. Past competitors have included Amazing Race winners, so be prepared to face some formidable foes.

Prices vary by itinerary, but include airfare, accommodations, Eurail Pass, and the chance to win $9,000 in prizes. The service is so confident about customer satisfaction that they allow contestants to pay after they travel.

If you want to be a part of a global scavenger hunt, but can’t set aside an entire week or more to travel, try “geocaching”—a free global scavenger hunt game where participants track down “caches” hidden using GPS devices.

Learn more about geocaching in Spotlight On: National & State Parks.

Visit the geocaching Web site at www.geocaching.com to find out where hidden treasures lurk in your area. Geocaching can be a great way to venture off the beaten path while on vacation, since people often hide them in places of cultural significance or spots with beautiful or unusual views.

By Dan Bence for PeterGreenberg.com.

Related Links: Offbeattravel.com, The Global Scavenger Hunt, Geocaching, Competitours

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