Volunteer Abroad Essentials: Planning, Preparation and Packing

calendar_today May 9, 2024
schedule min read


Are you thinking of volunteering abroad, but not sure where and how to start? Well, we are here to guide you so that you can start with planning, followed by preparations, and finally, packing to jet off.

In this article, we will talk about some easy and simple steps that you can follow, in order to have a seamless journey and an amazing volunteering trip abroad.

Step 1: Planning

Cheap Flights For Your Next Volunteer Abroad Trip

Before we go into planning, let me assure you that your volunteering trip will be much more than what you can anticipate now – and it’s always good to be open and flexible.

Here are a few steps that will help you to plan well and make the most of your volunteer adventures abroad:

Choose the right program:

To begin with, browse through the volunteer programs and choose what suits you best. If you are keen to work with children – a teaching or childcare program would be perfect. Similarly, for those who love animals, must opt for a wildlife conservation program. If you are confused and not being able to decide, you can always reach out to Volunteering Solutions, and our Program Advisors will be happy to guide you.

Pick the perfect destination:

This is yet another important thing – and that is to choose the place – would you like to travel to a country close to your home, or go far to your dream volunteering destination?

It’s important to note that you can never plan everything, and spontaneity is the key! However, what you can do is – write down what you want to achieve through your volunteering experience, how you think you can make a difference, what you want to learn from this endeavor, and what things you wish to explore in your host country. It’s important to have some clarity on these – and when you are there, it’ll be easy for you to simply scroll through the list and tick things off.

Do your research:

Now, once you have the outline sorted – the next phase of your planning begins – and that’s research. Depending on the program you have chosen, know what skills would help you to achieve your goals. For example, if you have chosen a teaching program, then look up activity-based teaching modules, or make a lesson plan and set a target of what you wish to teach. You don’t need to be a qualified teacher to volunteer with children, but your enthusiasm and motivation can create a huge impact. Often, volunteers bring books, colors, notebooks, and other stationery items to the project – and if you also wish to do that, it’ll be great to start now. You can organize a fund-raising dinner or ask your friends and family to contribute towards something meaningful.


Step 2: Preparation

visa friendly countries for volunteering

The first step of preparation is to understand your budget. List down your expenses – that majorly includes your program fee, flight and visa costs, travel insurance, and costs that you’ll have to bear while exploring the country. If you are traveling to a distant country, flight prices would obviously be a little higher – hence, booking your tickets well in advance will be good for your pockets!

Depending on your destination, you can start preparing with the following:

Visa Requirements:

You must research and understand the visa requirements. Some countries require a visa for entry, and the process can vary in complexity and duration. You must apply for the correct type of visa and allow plenty of time for processing.

Vaccinations and Medical Clearance:

Once you have chosen your country, it’s important to know which vaccinations would be required to volunteer there. Consult with a healthcare professional or travel clinic to ensure you’re up-to-date on routine vaccinations and to receive any specific vaccines required for the region. Additionally, if you have any pre-existing medical conditions, obtain medical clearance from your doctor to ensure you’re fit for travel and volunteering activities.

Travel Insurance:

Obtain comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, trip cancellation or interruption, and other unforeseen circumstances. If you need any assistance, our Program Advisors will guide you to get the best one!


Step 3: Packing

packing for travelling abroad

Now that you have planned and prepared, you already have your flights booked, your visa is sorted and you have the travel and medical insurance – it’s time to start packing for your epic adventure!

First, check the weather in your host country. If you’re traveling to a tropical destination in Asia like Thailand, Sri Lankaa, Vietnam or somewhere in Africa like Kenya, Tanzania or Ghana – you’ll need to carry light, summer clothes made of cotton or linen – that are comfortable. Breezy clothes are a must in hot and humid destinations. Similarly, if you are traveling to countries like Ecuador, Peru or Nepal, then you must carry warm clothes.

Here’s a short list of things that YOU MUST CARRY on your volunteer trip:

1. Your passport, visa, and other travel documents. You can keep them in a folder, for safety purposes.
2. A light jacket, cap, and sunglasses.
3. Comfortable shoes and a pair of slippers.
4. A water bottle (it’s good to avoid plastic bottles to save the environment).
Any medications you take/will need
5. Your phone, camera, chargers, and headphones (because we know you love music).
6. A journal (to keep notes).
7. Cash and a credit card (for emergencies).
8. Umbrella or a raincoat.

You can also bring some stuff that might be helpful while volunteering. For example, if you’re joining a medical or healthcare program, you can get your stethoscope, a Blood Pressure measuring device, etc. In case you’re going for a childcare program, you can pack some games.

To know more, you can check out this complete packing list, that’ll surely make your process super smooth.

And now that you are all set to step out of your comfort zone and volunteer abroad, you can speak to our past volunteers, in case you need more clarity. Over the last 17 years, Volunteering Solutions has hosted more than 20,000 people across the globe, and you’re soon going to be come a part of that tribe – who has the courage to make a difference!

To speak to our Program Advisors, write to us at [email protected] and you can also follow us on Instagram and TikTok, to learn more about the experiences of our volunteers!

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