One extraordinary way to raise funds for the Armed Forces community is to take part in an overseas walking challenge. Organise a hike of your own or join us for our next trek event.

At Help for Heroes we've been organising overseas treks for many years, and our next trip is happening in September 2024 with the Overseas Trek to Petra. We've compiled some tips from our long-standing fundraisers, like Shaun Patrick, to help you prepare for your upcoming charity trek.

In 2018, fundraiser Shaun Patrick embarked on his own overseas walking challenge – a six-day long trek in Cambodia – alongside his family and friends. Although Shaun had organised lots of fundraising events before, this was the first time he’d set out to complete a physical challenge. It turned out to be an unforgettable experience.

So, how can you prepare to take on an overseas trek for charity? Here, Shaun brings you his most useful tips and advice.

1. Put in the training

Make sure you do the necessary training. On our Cambodia trek, those who didn’t put in the training struggled some of the time. We booked it a year in advance and spent several months getting miles in the legs. Training plans will help you to get 'walking fit'.

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2. Do your research

Do some research about where you’re going so you know what to expect in terms of location, climate, terrain and so on. Read everything you’re given so you know what you’ll be faced with and you can be as prepared as possible.

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3. Take care of your feet

Make sure you pack plenty of blister plasters and creams for sore bits. I recommend investing in decent walking boots and socks. Foot powder is also recommended as it helps to absorb sweat and prevent blisters.

One of my top pieces of advice is to walk your boots in ahead of the hike – don’t set out in a brand-new pair!

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4. Pack some walking poles

Consider taking sticks with you to give you a helping hand when you’re walking over some tricky terrain. I’d never used walking poles before, but there were times when they really came in handy.

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5. Keep your water bottle to hand

It’s important to take on as much water as you can during your walking challenge. And don’t forget about carbs! Carbs provide your body with the fuel it needs to keep going. Make sure you stock up on both and carry a water bottle and some snacks with you on the trek. Snacks like flapjacks and trail mix are great for hikers.  

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6. Have fun whilst fundraising

Think about some fun ways to boost your fundraising, rather than just being sponsored for the trek. We had golf days, curry nights and so on. There are lots of fundraising ideas out there to get everybody involved. Go for it: you’ll be sure to hit the fundraising total and have a laugh!

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7. Focus on your fundraising page

Make sure you create a good Facebook fundraising page. Give clear links to your JustGiving page and lots of detail about your upcoming walking challenge. Provide regular updates about how your training is coming along. Remember to share the page as much as you can to spread the word and get those donations flowing in.

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8. Embrace the ups and downs

Accept the fact that parts of it will be tough. Sometimes the food won’t be the best, your feet may ache or the shower might be a cold bucket of water. But walking in a group together just pulls you along, and don’t forget, you’re doing it for a great cause. The camaraderie is fantastic - embrace it and have fun!

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Ready for your own inspiring journey?

Shaun and his family’s story is a testament to the incredible impact that a passionate commitment to a cause can have. The camaraderie, the memorable experiences and the fulfilment of knowing you're making a difference – it's all waiting for you.

Join our 2024 overseas trek to Petra and become a part of something extraordinary. Step out of your comfort zone, create lasting friendships and contribute to a cause that truly matters. The rewards are immense, and the impact is immeasurable.

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