Pick up any research paper or newspaper article on volunteering, you will find that women, especially in the age group between 15-35, like to travel and volunteer. Whether you are going abroad to travel to a popular tourist destination or planning to volunteer in a foreign country, you should be ready for some safety issues during the trip. But being a female volunteer you require special attention towards the surroundings and situations. To lighten the workload and to better prepare for your volunteering trip as a woman, just put your consideration and time which will help you to minimize risks. Some tips straight up from the staff:
From the country which you are heading to the number of destinations which you are aiming to cover, do your research before you travel. While we do not suggest going solely by the news reports, picking up a Lonely Planet Guide, going for Reddit discussions or simply chatting/emailing somebody who has already been there before is a good way to go forward. Try and acquaint yourself with the region from all possible quarters. Research needs to be all encompassing – from the political situation to the costs and how to dress – you need to be totally a ‘Type A’ before you decide to travel. And as for the nature and kind of project that you are going to work in, drop in a mail to your program advisor to brief you.
You should have emergency numbers just in case you might need some help. Put the important number of speed dial and clearly put name tags with the address on your luggage and phones.
Travel insurance is another important thing to consider before you step out for volunteering, And getting one is definitely advisable. There are several travel insurance types. You might want to get a cancellation (trip/flight) insurance or luggage and medical insurance or all combined. There is some travel insurance that covers emergency evacuations and exits. You never know when you encounter a political upheaval or a coup. You could get all the insurance arrangements you need from Team VolSol for your trip.
For safety and any emergency, your coordinator is your savior. Keep his/her contact details and keep in touch with him/her for any change in the plan. And what about where to go? Who to hang out with? You will meet fellow volunteers in the project and they are always the safest people to hang out with and you’ll get all the recommendation you need on ‘where to go’ well before and also during your program.
Not all religious institutions are accessible to women. Some mosques and temples do not allow women, instead of getting into a ruckus, it is always better to inquire and proceed. Making new friends is great. But you cannot always trust a stranger. Don’t become an open diary to a stranger. For short term volunteers, it is not advisable to dwell in companies of strangers. Accepting alcoholic beverages from total strangers, nightclubbing and going on some random trips is a complete no-no. Another important consideration – Dressing. Yes we know sometimes it’s a stretch when they ask you to cover up even in maddening heat and not everywhere are you expected to be covered from head to toe but just to be safe – always keep a stole and pajamas handy to cover up in case you need to at any given point on the trip.
Make two photocopies of your valuable documents such as your tickets, passport, visas, credit and ATM cards, an insurance policy. Keep your originals and photocopies separate, and locked. Keep your cash in different bags and not all at one place. Also recommended to have all the emergency contact written for you at one place (or maybe more) at all times in case you lose your phone.
Learn some local words, not just the usual pleasantries, but also some that relate to your specific queries. For example, where is the women’s washroom, changing room, compartment, buses, etc? Many countries have special arrangements for ladies as far as local transport, prices on tickets etc. are concerned and you make the most of it if you make good effort to learn the local language.
Wherever you are, confidence is the key. When you do not know the local language, local customs, and the cultural backdrop, things get tricky. But that’s the whole point of traveling and volunteering. While it helps us to get past insularity but it’s important to not let travel worries get the better of you. Being patient helps you build the confidence and not let you get anxious. Heading to a developing country comes to its fair share of challenges as people lead very different lives there and thus informing, acquainting and adjusting oneself with the environment is a great way to build the patience and confidence.
Traveling or volunteering abroad is all about getting to know the local people, their culture, and experiencing new adventures. So last but not the least avoid getting into arguments with local people. Don’t lose your temper and keep patience to smoothen your volunteer overseas journey. It will also open the doors to peep into their daily life, their culture, food You will be able to make new friends and learn a new language. Always remember that volunteering is one of the most amazing experience you will ever get, enjoy it by following the above safety and security tips.
Holding roots from royal Rajasthan, I love to write about Travel, LifeStyle, Health, and Spirituality. I’ve been associated with the online marketing industry for more than 6 long years, but at the same time I am a yoga enthusiast and love to explore new places as well.
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