Passport & Visas
Passport is a must for travelling abroad, but it is often not enough. Make sure you check all requirements of all countries you will be travelling to and through, even in transit, as you might need to have visas. Visas requirements vary depending on your nationality, the country of destination, how long you plan to be there, and sometimes the countries you have travelled through previously. It is advisable to check detailed requirements directly with the embassies of your destinations: find a full list of embassies worldwide on www.embassiesabroad.com Make sure you allow plenty time as processing of passport and visa applications can often take two or three months.
Immunisation & jabs
Volunteering opportunities are often in developing countries with some threat for diseases, so it is recommended to check with a doctor before you travel and to have all recommended jabs. Be sure to allow at least three months for this process to ensure you have all the relevant vaccines and immunisation treatments you need, as some jabs are even essential entry requirements in some countries.
Medical & Travel Insurance
Always get insurance before you travel! Even if you are going on a placement, no organisation will take responsibility for any damage, loss of belongings, health problems and medical treatments you might need. There are many websites to find the right travel insurance and compare prices. Cost can vary depending on age, the length of the trip, the destination and even the activities you want to be insured for.
Flights & Transport
Whether you are going on a volunteering program or to help out a project along your travels, you will need to organise your own way there, by air, rail or other means. There are many websites to find availability and compare prices for flights worldwide, as well as train and coach services. If you have a rough itinerary and/or you want to plan your trip fully and booking all flights before hand, seeking the advice and expertise of a travel agents could be ideal to maximise time and opportunities. For local transportation, some organisations arrange transfers to and from the airport/nearest town to your accommodation and project, sometimes included in your package, but it is always better to double-check. If not included, you could negotiate a pick-up with the organisation at a little extra cost, or ask them for directions on local transports like bus, train, ferry boat or taxi, public or private services, car hire, etc...
There are many oiptions for accommodation when travelling and volunteering. If you go on a placement, the organisation will host you in a shared house with other volunteers or will arrange a family stay. If you go on your own initiative, you can stay in hostels or hotels, or even rent an apartmment with other volunteers for longer stays, depending on your budget and preferences. You can also book your accommodation online through various websites and then shop around once you are there. If you stay a few weeks, you can often negotiate a discount at hotels and hostels by paying in advance.
Planning your itinerary
It is recommended you research the region and countries of destination to best decide when to go based on seasonal factors such as climate, festivities and events, political and economic situation and so on. You can read up country profiles on the relevant countries Tourist Boards websites and get detailed information on accommodation, transport, activities from tourist and travel guides.
Always keep up-to-date on news and current affairs in your country of destination on FCO Travel Advice website
Read the latest travel warnings on the live RSS feed Official travel advice of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office