I compiled a few tips that would help improve any travel experience.Every volunteer trip is a little different. Make sure to contact your program advisor for any requirements specific to your program.
1. Pack in advance.
Do not wait until the last minute to pack for your trip. I have done this and it is not fun packing at midnight for your 6 a.m. flight. So to avoid stress, start packing a little bit every day. Make a packing list both for things to buy and pack, and go over it with your coordinator. Make sure to check the weather for the duration fo your trip, and what is culturally appropriate to wear. Here is a general packing list to start with for your trip.
2. Update everything.
Make sure to stay on top of all documentation and vaccinations you need for your visit. You can find a list of vaccinations by searching online at sites like the CDC for the country you are travelling to. Take any necessary precautions to prevent getting sick, and if you do make sure to speak up. This is important for your safety and the safety of those around you. You can check with the program and websites of both your home and host country for what documentation you will need for the duration of your visit. Make sure to have copies on hand of your identification and insurance just in case.
3. Speak to your advisor.
Ask for advice. Look for people who have travelled to that country or with your program in the past.Your program should provide you with emergency contact info, facilities, etc. Ask the program advisor about the proper attire for your community, and culturally sensitive information. Take this time to also express your dietary and health restrictions to allow preparations to be made for you.
4. Don’t overstress it.
Travelling is not always easy. While you may prepare to the best of your ability, it is important to remember that there are things that are out of your control. The most important thing is to get the most out of this experience, so don’t overthink everything.