How can you prepare to volunteer abroad? If you have signed up to travel abroad and volunteer your services, you have already made a great decision. With that decision comes some necessary logistical measures.
Prepare your Passport
Starting with the most basic but also most important part, you need a passport in order to travel abroad. If this is your first time applying for a passport, it is recommended to apply at least six months in advance. Once you obtain your passport, make a copy of it. As you are travelling, keep it with you, do not pack it away. It is also wise to purchase a sturdy passport holder that will hold up over time.
Obtain a Visa
The Department of Homeland Security’s website says that when planning travel abroad, you may need a visa issued by the embassy of the country you wish to visit. The visa will then be placed in your passport. Not sure if you need a visa or not? Use Visa Quick Check and search by the country you are visiting to see the requirements.
Get Required Vaccines
Depending on the area of the world you are traveling to, the CDC recommends different vaccine requirements. For example, when traveling to Africa, it is mandatory to receive the Yellow Fever vaccine as well as Zika virus vaccine. Not only will these vaccines keep you healthy, they will prevent you from bringing any serious diseases home to your community. Plan to get them with plenty of time to spare before your trip.
Pack your Wardrobe Thoughtfully
When packing for your trip, keep in mind that you are traveling to be of service. Fashion should be the last thing you are concerned about. A good tip before packing is to contact your on-site project coordinator. Ask him or her what type of clothes work best for the environment and the type of work you will be doing. Be sure to take cultural norms into consideration as well. It may be well over 100 degrees where you are traveling but women may be expected to wear pants. Keep in mind that as a visitor, you should obey these norms.
Deciding to volunteer your time and efforts for a worthy cause is an admirable decision. To make the most of your trip, follow the above tips!