SWO-YATRA 2019 FAQs
- Who is eligible to apply?
Solo Woman Travel Challenge is open to all individuals who are citizens of Nepal – born on or before August 1, 2001 – and identify as female. This eligibility of nationality, age, and gender will be confirmed through official legal documents such as citizenship card and/or passport issued by the Government of Nepal.
Other evidences can be considered in exceptional cases of stateless individuals who identify as a citizen of Nepal.
- How many submissions can I make to the challenge?
One eligible individual can create just one valid application/entry (profile) to the travel challenge. If an eligible individual makes more than one profile, she will be disqualified from the challenge.
If you realize that you have mistakenly submitted two application forms, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Do I need to have previous travel experiences, solo or otherwise, to be eligible? Do my previous travel experiences increase my chances of receiving a grant?
You do NOT need previous travel experiences to be eligible. Previous travel experiences can be helpful in building confidence in voters who can vote your entry on FB. If you are selected into the Top 50 applicants after the first round of interview, the strength of your itinerary and your travel goals are the most defining factors for further selection.
- Is there limit of travel days for grant awardees?
All travelers must travel a minimum of 10 days, inclusive of departure and return day from their place of residence. However, beyond 10 days, travelers are encouraged to travel as many days as they want between August 30, 2019 to November 30, 2019.
We, in fact, encourage long-term travel to allow enough time for travelers to gain confidence and become comfortable with the challenges of traveling solo and independently. We hope you submit ambitious itineraries!
- Can I travel by air with the award money?
While we strongly encourage you to travel by land, in vehicles or on foot, air travel is acceptable if your itinerary demands so. For instance, if you plan to travel for 2-3 weeks and trek in Dolpo region, air travel makes complete sense. However, a flight to Jomsom is not necessary for a 7-day exploration of Lower Mustang.
- Can I book a tour from travel agents? Can I book a guide?
No, private tours are not allowed. We encourage awardees to plan everything on their own because such travel has more transformative potential. You can easily find most travel information online so we suggest you figure things out yourself.
- Where can I travel?
Anywhere, within the territory of Nepal, you have not been before. We trust you to be honest with us. You will be disqualified if we later come to know that you are using award money to places where you have traveled previously.
- Am I allowed to meet my friends or relatives during my travels?
This depends. It is acceptable to stop for a visit during your travels. You cannot spend more than one day with friends and families. We hope you understand the spirit of the travel challenge; we want this travel to be transformative, an intentional exploration of yourself through traveling.
- What is the amount of award money?
Full Grants provide complete funding of the travels to TOP 5 applicants, irrespective of their travel budget.
Let’s put this simply: Propose whatever amount you need to complete your most ambitious travel itinerary. If you are in the Top5, we will provide you your request budget. For instance, if you want to complete the Great Himalayan Trail over 3 months, we provide you all the support you need.
Most importantly, please understand that we neither encourage luxury travel nor vacation behavior. Example of a bad itinerary: traveling to Pokhara on plane and spending 5 days in a hotel as you spend your day partying. Our jury will not permit any itinerary that is against the spirit of this travel challenge.
- Do I receive award money before my travel or am I going to be reimbursed later?
You will be forwarded 75% of your award money before you travel. The remaining 25% of your award money is provided after successful completion of the commitment you made in your travel itinerary. Exceptions can be made.
- I am not from Kathmandu. Does this matter?
It does not matter. Please apply.
- Is there a requirement to travel within a specific deadline?
Yes. All the awardees will have to finish their travel by November 30, 2019.
- I am having difficulties completing my entry form or defining my travel itinerary. Can you help me in finishing the profile or designing an itinerary?
Unfortunately, we do NOT have resources to help you personally during the OPEN submissions. We can only work with selected awardees, in Top50 list, to facilitate their travel planning.
- What if I go over-budget during my travel?
If you have reasonable justifications for going over-budget, we can consider reimbursing. It is most helpful if you immediately communicate with us regarding your budget concerns when you anticipate more expenditure during your travels.
- Can I change my travel dates, duration, and/or destinations?
Travel destinations cannot be changed unless unforeseen security risks emerge in the area of your travel. Please understand that people vote for you based on your destination and duration, so completely changing these details are not possible. A minor change of travel duration, plus or minus 2-3 days can be considered. But that is if you make it to top 5. In which case we contact you and give you one more chance to do these minor changes (our approval is needed) before going for final voting.
Travel dates can be changed as long as you complete your itinerary before the end of the challenge period. Top 5 awardees can modify some details to their itinerary, to manage risks, with approval from NepaliTravellers team.
- Is solo travel SAFE?
We do NOT guarantee safety, so you assume your own risks when you participate in this challenge. If you are selected, we will work with you throughout your travel planning to look at risks and how to mitigate those risks. We will organize number of workshops for you to think about perceived risks and actual risks during your travels.
- Do you provide travel gears, maps, and guidebooks for travel?
It is your responsibility to arrange all your travel needs by accommodating your expenses. But our team will look into needs of these gear based on your itinerary and work accordingly. We will be trying to get funding for these gears.
- If I am one of the awardees, can I travel immediately after the final winners are announced?
You can only begin your travel on or after August 30, 2019.
- How do I plan a good itinerary?
A good itinerary is a travel plan that challenges your spirit of learning. Elements of adventure and creative learning are a plus. Good itinerary must have well researched information about your destination(s) and your budget.
It is always a better idea to add duration of your travel, daily plans, and modes of transportation. Also, in your itinerary, please highlight major attractions you want to see and experiences you want to participate. If you are copying the itinerary from random sources in the Internet and haven’t done any personalized research, our jury will have less confidence in selecting you.
- How do I prepare/anticipate a good budget for my travel itinerary?
A good budget is a reasonable budget for the travel experience you suggest. For this, you need to research transportation, food, and accommodation costs to each place you are going.
Transport: We don’t fund luxury travel. For instance, we do not encourage flights to Nepalgunj, since there are frequent, safe bus services available. Air travel can be considered if your itinerary goes to rugged, remote areas and all available ground transportation have safety issues. For example, we consider your budget for air fares if you are going to places like Dolpa, Rara, and Humla.
Food/Accommodation: Please consider the basics. No luxury accommodation. No alcoholic drinks or fancy meals.
Gears: If you are selected as a Grantee, we will work with you to carefully consider what gears you would need for your travel itinerary. FYI, trekking gears can always be rented instead of purchasing them.
- Can I just choose, say, one village and stay there for my entire travel duration?
Yes! We would love to see such itineraries. Having said so, your travel itinerary has to have a sense of purpose if you are staying in a single location for extended period. For instance, you can stay with local families for two weeks, pursue weaving or a language, and learn about farming systems in the area. Be creative!
- Can I travel with a cause or should I just travel for fun?
It is not a requirement. If you’re traveling just for fun and exploration, great. But, if you’re traveling with a cause, you are required to communicate about it to our jury beforehand. We do NOT consider any causes with strong political, racial, or religious inclination.
- Who is eligible to apply?