Quick checklist for first-time voluntourists

by admin on December 7, 2012

Preparing for volunteer travel is far different than getting ready for a typical vacation. You’ll likely be immersing yourself in a new culture while working side-by-side with locals to accomplish a common goal. And there’s a good chance you’ll be stepping outside your comfort zone.
But with some extra preparation, most people will have no problem embracing the exciting challenges of volunteer travel. In addition to the usual pre-trip to-do list that comes with traveling, here are a few additional points to consider before beginning your journey.

Research the area you will be visiting

Since you’ll likely be working closely with local residents during your trip, it’s helpful to have some knowledge of the culture you’ll be experiencing before you arrive. Learn a few basic phrases in their language and do some research about local customs and the history of the area.

Be aware of any social taboos in the country you’re traveling to. For example, Guatemalan culture generally has more conservative dress standards. Women in particular should avoid revealing tops and stick to wearing T-shirts while working in the villages. When in doubt, ask a staff member.

Make sure you understand what type of physical environment you’ll be visiting as well. This is especially important when considering which, if any, vaccinations to get before traveling. Let your physician know exactly what part of the country you will be staying in when you discuss your options for vaccines. If you live in the U.S., visit the Centers for Disease Control casino online and Prevention’s website to find a travel clinic near you.

Bring what you need

This also requires some research about the environment and weather online casino you’ll be experiencing, especially when it comes to clothing. You must also consider the type of volunteer work you will be doing and what kind of supplies or tools will be provided to you once you arrive.

Don’t worry – no one expects you to pack a shovel. However, you should bring things that will ensure you’re comfortable during the trip. Hug It Forward encourages people building bottle schools to bring a sunhat, waterproof jacket, ear plugs and thick socks. You can find a more detailed list of what to bring here.

Be prepared mentally

Voluntourism can be emotionally draining for some people. Depending on your trip, you might witness crippling poverty in a Third World Country or the impact of pollution on a once-pristine environment. Make sure you have the necessary skills to process these experiences in a healthy way. You may want to find an outlet, like meditating or writing.

And remember, these tough situations are exactly why you decided to volunteer in the first place. You’re there to make a difference.

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