According to Tourism and Research Marketing, over 1.6 million people volunteer internationally every year. If you’re getting ready to add to this remarkable statistic, it is important that you know everything you need to do prior to traveling. Whether you’re going to a developing country or a developed nation, there are certain steps you need to take to ensure that your trip goes smoothly.
Here is a checklist of the things you need to prepare before leaving your home country.
Of course, the number one thing that you will need to travel is your passport. For most people, this is a no-brainer. However, one thing that some travelers forget to check is how long their passport is valid for. For entry into some countries, there is a requirement that your passport is valid for a couple of months after your predetermined leave date. To be on the safe side, you should be sure that your passport is valid for at least six months after you plan on returning to your home country.
It is highly important that you check the visa requirements of the country you expect to travel to. Every country has its own requirements and these vary depending on your home country. Sometimes you can get a visa on arrival into the country; however, in other cases, you will need to apply for one well in advance of your trip. Check with your embassy to get the most up to date information on visa requirements.
Vaccination requirements are different from country to country and some of them may be required for entry. This requirement is to prevent the international spread of disease and to protect you as the traveler from a disease you may not be accustomed to. Before you travel to your volunteer country, be sure to check their embassy page to determine what vaccinations are required for entry. Some of the more common requirements include yellow fever and malaria vaccinations.
Although you might have health insurance in your home country, not all insurance covers you internationally. Healthcare across the world varies from country to country, so it is important that you reach out to your healthcare provider to determine if they cover you in the country you will be volunteering in. If not, obtain international health insurance that will cover you wherever you are. International health insurance covers both emergencies and routine medical exams and coverage is not limited to one country. You can simply use the customer service helpline to find the support you need, in a language that you understand.
Once you’ve completed this checklist, you should be on your way to a safe and successful volunteer experience. If you need any further assistance, be sure to contact your local embassy.