Volunteering Packing List – Travelling Abroad

A Guide featuring the best Travel items to include in your Volunteering Packing List

Are you planning on travelling abroad to volunteer for a charity project? If so you’ll need to make sure you prepare correctly. We’ve created this volunteer packing list to help guide you on some of the best items to take on your trip. We’ve previously worked with volunteers and organisations such as Echo In Africa and African Wildlife Foundation to aid in creating this list of the best items to take with you on your volunteering trip. Whilst we recommend taking these items, researching your destination is important as well so that you can prepare for the specific location of your volunteering trip.

We recently supported Sara Broring on her volunteering trip to South Africa. Click here to check out her story.

Medication appropriate to your Destination

It’s important to be prepared medically for whichever country you are visiting, especially if you are volunteering in countries such as those within Africa where there is the risk of serious diseases such as Malaria.

The medication you’ll need to take on your journey will vary depending on the country you’re travelling to. Make sure to consult your GP or visit a travel health clinic to recommend the medicines/ vaccinations you will need for your travels. Their’s nothing worse than your volunteering experience being ruined because of an avoidable illness.

Sun Hat and Sunscreen

Obviously, this will primarily apply to those volunteering in hot countries where you’ll be in the sun regularly. It’s important to understand the strength of cream you will need and if you’re unsure, it’s better to go with a higher SPF just to be safe. There are numerous health benefits associated with using sunscreen with the most obvious being you won’t be having to endure the pain of sunburn during your holiday. However, there are also long-term benefits such as reducing the chances of skin cancer, reduces premature skin ageing and preventing blotchy skin.

As well as using sun cream regularly, a great item to prevent sunburn is a sun hat. This will not only help prevent sunburn on your neck and face but also keep your body temperature cooler throughout the day, reducing the risk of sunstroke. This will be especially useful if you are volunteering in Africa and are out all day, for example, if you were helping build a school.

Water Filter Bottle

Travelling abroad, in general, it can be difficult to get access to clean safe drinking water, especially if you are volunteering in Africa. Often your only alternative is to buy bottled water in single-use plastic bottles, however, this can be expensive and will contribute towards the world’s extremely damaging plastic pollution problem.

A way to solve all of these issues in one is through the use of a Water-to-Go filter bottle. These portable, lightweight bottles use a 3-in-1 unique filtration system which has been tested and proven to filter out over 99.9% of microbiological contaminants. This means you can fill it up from any non-salt water source around the world and get clean safe drinking water instantly.

In addition to this, these bottles are reusable bottles that only need the filter changed every 2-3 months. This means they will heavily reduce your plastic usage making your trip more environmentally friendly. The bottle also works out at 5p per litre of water so you’ll be able to save yourself some money as well.

Remember Volunteering with a Journal or Scrapbook

Your volunteering experience will likely be something you will look back at with fond memories. A great way to capture this is through taking a scrapbook or journal so you can look back at everything that you achieved.

Keeping this will not only be a great way to one day look back on your experience, but you can also note down any contact info from people you meet along your volunteering journey.

Additionally, if you’re low on packing space or don’t want to pack a physical journal you can record your journey online. ‘Travel Diaries App’ is a great online tool for recording your experiences and uploading pictures almost in a blog format. You can also order a printed book version of your diary on your return.

Camera

To go along with your journal/ scrapbook, bringing a camera is another great way of capturing your volunteering experience. Plus you can add some of your pictures into your diary.

If you’re not too fussed about having super high-quality photos, your phone’s camera will do just fine, or you can go out of your way for some great quality pictures with a digital camera. Either way, you’ll definitely want to capture some of your memories in picture form so bringing some form of camera will be a great choice.

Bring Donations (If Appropriate)

This is a great way to give something extra, especially if you’ve got a bit of spare packing space. You may be able to get an idea of what would be best to bring from the organisation you’re going with as they sometimes provide recommendations on extra donation items.

However if not, a great idea is to bring donations that can’t usually be easily purchased in the country you’re volunteering in. Also, try to bring relevant and useful items, for example if you were volunteering at an animal shelter, you may bring squeaky toys or blankets and if you were helping build a school you could bring art supplies, backpacks or stationary.

Your Usual Travel Essentials

Slightly less specific for your volunteering packing list, but make sure to double check you have everything you would usually take for your travels. Make sure to double and triple check what you need for your specific journey, some of these things should include:

  • Passport
  • Travel Insurance
  • Flight Tickets
  • First Aid kit
  • Personal Medication
  • Local Currency
  • Transport/ Accommodation documents
  • Any Volunteering documents you may need

Water-to-Go supports Echo in Africa project

Hello, my name is Sara and this is my story about a life-changing trip I recently took to South Africa. We all seek to make a difference in our lives and I was grateful to be able to do this for those less fortunate than ourselves. Thanks to Water-to-Go, we managed to provide the equivalent of 4,410 litres of filtered water for an underprivileged community we visited in South Africa. Read on to find out more about this project and why we were there.

South Africa is often not considered one of the African countries most ‘in need’ of support, perhaps because of some the extremes elsewhere in Africa. However, after visiting in 2018, it is clear there is a large number of South African people in need. This is where the Echo in Africa project came into effect.

Echo in Africa Project

I am a cardiac physiologist and have been working for the NHS for the past 4 years in London. This year my department has supported me in a life-long dream, sending me to Africa to diagnose children with cardiac disease. This has been made possible by the project ‘Echo in Africa’ created by volunteer cardiologists, physiologists, the British Society of Echocardiography and SunHeart Foundation.

The main focus was on rheumatic disease, an inflammatory reaction that can develop as a complication of a Group A streptococcal infection, such as strep throat or scarlet fever. This disease affects the heart, joints, brain and skin, and commonly develops silently until the advanced stages of rheumatic disease. At least 12 million people are currently affected by this disease, with 2 million patients needing hospital admission and 1 million needing cardiac surgery in the next five to twenty years.

The water crisis in Cape Town caught my attention and then during preparation for this travel, I started collecting donations from all sorts of sources. These included clothes, toys, books, backpacks, hats, nappies, shoes, towels, baby clothes, sports equipment and so on.

I was aware that the children we would be screening are from extremely poor communities and settlements. How were they dealing with this water crisis? What kind of water are they drinking? I was thinking.

My research started around what could I do to help in this area. Ideally, the intention was to make the most of any water source available, so finding an effective and practical way of filtering water anywhere was essential.

Water-to-Go in South Africa

It was at this stage I found Water-to-Go. When I contacted the company and told them about the idea, they were extremely enthusiastic about supporting me in South Africa.

We came up with a code (EAPDONATE) that when someone bought a 75cl bottle, Water-to-Go would donate a second. Plus extra bottles on top of this were donated by Water-to-Go.

In my mind I had many questions, after the 200 litres (the life of one 75cl filter) what would the kids and families do with the bottles? It’s funny how your opinion changes when you are physically delivering each bottle. You realise that 4 months of drinking water is a true gift.

The bottles were given mainly to pregnant patients and kids, who currently live in an informal settlement called Freedom Farm. As a plan of action to provide as much safe drinking water as possible, I plan on returning to South Africa in 2019. I will take more bottles with me as well as replacement filters for those communities who have already been reached with bottles.

I can only try and express how good it feels to contribute towards the reduction of single-use plastic on this planet and far beyond explanation is the gratitude seen in the eyes of those receiving these gifts.

My Time in South Africa

After completing my mission in Cape Town, I travelled to the Kruger National Park passing Johannesburg on my way to Swaziland. In the Kruger National Park I camped for 3 hot days and 3 cold nights. We also embarked on 3 daily safaris each one lasting around 3-4 hrs. Water tended to run out in the first couple of hours, however with my Water-to-Go bottle I could fill up from any non-salt water source.

This bottle was my main company and has brought a conscious purpose to be added to the experience. It has also added to the intentions of projects like ‘Echo in Africa’.

Thank you Water-to-Go for the support, inspiration and materialisation of this essential tool. I’m looking forward to our next partnership.

Guest blog post from Sara Broring, Chief Cardiac Physiologist at Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust, London

£1 per product sold donated to Raleigh International

After the huge success of the first campaign, Water-to-Go are once again donating £1 from every product sold over the next 2 weeks to the charity, Raleigh International.

Raleigh International is a sustainable development charity that exists to create lasting change through youth.

Raleigh, believe that when local communities and young people work side by side it empowers them, and it’s the energy and motivation of empowered people that creates lasting change.

A core strategic priority for Raleigh is WASH: Water, Sanitation and Hygiene. Raleigh want to help meet the Global Goal for Sustainable Development 6 – ‘ensure water and sanitation for all’. Raleigh pursues a holistic approach to WASH interventions by inspiring behavioural change – better hygiene practises can save lives. In rural schools, homes and communities, they achieve transformational change by supporting young women and men to have access to safe water, and sanitation.

Because Raleigh projects deliver safe, clean water in Malaysian Borneo, Nicaragua, Nepal and Tanzania, Water-to-Go has pledged to donate £1 per product sold in the online store between 21st Nov and 4th Dec.

Buy a Water-to-Go product today and play your part in changing lives!

For more information on Raleigh International and the amazing work they do, check out their website www.raleighinternational.org

Water-to-Go will donate £1 per item sold. This includes all products including bottles, filters and lids.

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£1 from every product ordered donated to Raleigh International…

Raleigh International is a sustainable development charity that exists to create lasting change through youth.

Raleigh, believe that when local communities and young people work side by side it empowers them, and it’s the energy and motivation of empowered people that creates lasting change.

A core strategic priority for Raleigh is WASH: Water, Sanitation and Hygiene.

Raleigh want to help meet the Global Goal for Sustainable Development 6 – ‘ensure water and sanitation for all’. Raleigh pursues a holistic approach to WASH interventions by inspiring behavioural change – better hygiene practises can save lives. In rural schools, homes and communities, they achieve transformational change by supporting young women and men to have access to safe water, and sanitation.

Because Raleigh projects deliver safe, clean water in Malaysian Borneo, Nicaragua, Nepal and Tanzania, Water-to-Go has pledged to donate £1 per product sold in the online store between 16th May and 29th May.

Buy a Water-to-Go product today and play your part in changing lives!

For more information on Raleigh International and the amazing work they do, check out their website www.raleighinternational.org

Water-to-Go will donate £1 per item sold. This includes all products including bottles, filters and lids.