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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

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