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8 Golden Rules For Humanitarian Travel

Humanitarian travel is different from a vacation. You don’t go TripAdvisor’s Top 10 Vacation Spots in 2018. Instead, you head to where help is needed most. And these places can have different levels of comfort and security.

Your main objective is to help others. But to do so, you need to stay safe and adapt to the new environment in order to complete your assignment. To do the absolute best that you can while in the field, follow these 8 golden rules of humanitarian travel.

Golden Rule #1: Do Your Research

The first golden rule of humanitarian travel is to be prepared. For this, you need to do some research. Even if your organization or travel agent provides this service for you, some independent research can’t hurt. While this won’t fully prepare you for what you will see on the ground, at least you will generally be in the know.

Besides a Google search, there are a few other ways to do research. First of all, pay attention to the briefings organized by your institution. They will have helpful and relevant information. Secondly, ask someone who has already been to your destination to tell you about it. They’ll have useful insights. Additionally, make sure that you are aware of any safety and security alerts prior to travel.

Travel warning and alerts

Golden Rule #2: Plan Your Travels

Once you’ve done your research, your next step is to finalize all your pre-travel arrangements. It may seem adventurous to just go with the flow, but for humanitarian travelers, this is both irresponsible and unsafe. If you don’t work on your travel plans, you’ll waste precious time once you arrive instead of working on your mission.

As an experienced humanitarian travel agent, Raptim has a wealth of knowledge in this area! You need to book your tickets, reserve your accommodation, and select your return dates, and you must do all this considering any local conditions based on your research in golden rule one.

Understand that changes to your fixed itinerary can add up when you book a ticket at a bargain travel agency. There are numerous reasons for humanitarians that lead to changing travel plans. It happens quite often. When you travel with Raptim, you can benefit a lot from our special, flexible itinerary conditions. Flexible itineraries prevent these changes from becoming a heavy burden on your wallet.

Additionally, make sure to get money exchanged, visit a healthcare professional, get paperwork ready, and prepare a packing list.

Golden Rule #3: Follow Local Advice

You can’t prepare for everything. After all, you will be in a different place and culture. So, rather than trying to go it alone, follow local advice instead. Locals will be able to guide you through experiences that are new or different. Likely, there will be locals working at your organization, so that’s a good place to start.

Your new friend can show you around including simple things like which restaurants to eat at and places to go. They are also a great resource for cultural tips and staying safe. Additionally, it’s a good idea to have another international volunteer help you adapt. They may have gone through a similar experience as you, so he or she will know how to deal with issues you might be facing.

Golden Rule #4: Focus on Community and Sustainability

The next golden rule for humanitarian travel is related to your work. Many people arrive at their destinations wanting to rush in and help those in need. Of course, that’s what you are there for, but you need to be careful not to overstep and overdo it.

Instead of simply providing aid, focus on community and sustainability. How can you help in such a way that the impact is long-lasting? This way, you are not just helping right now. You are creating an opportunity for sustainable independence and self-sufficiency in the community where you work.

Golden Rule #5: Stay Healthy

One thing we often forget when we are helping others is to help ourselves. A very important golden rule of humanitarian travel is to stay healthy. Not only for your own safety but also so as not to become a burden for the organization and community you are working with.

Stress, travel, new bacteria, and viruses all make you susceptible to getting sick while on a mission. As such, make sure you visit a healthcare professional if you have any health issues. This way, you can catch things early on and treat them swiftly.

Golden Rule #6: Ask for Help

Just because you are helping others doesn’t mean you can’t ask for help! If you don’t know how to do something, then ask. If you are unsure of whether you are doing things right, consult with someone. You are new on the mission, and it’s a good idea to get acquainted.

Things may be very different from back home. So it’s always a good idea to ask for help with adapting and understanding situations. This can prevent many misunderstandings and misconceptions. It will also help you to be more efficient in your mission.

Golden Rule #7: Learn All You Can

Last, but not least, learn from everyone you meet. Everyone, from your colleagues to project participants, has something to teach you. It may be related to work, but more often than not, it will be about yourself and the world around us. International humanitarian travel is an incredible learning opportunity. So, don’t miss out!

Golden Rule #8: Take Care

The necessity of Duty of Care is more important today than ever before. Humanitarian workers travel to places where vulnerable people need help. They are exposed to a variety of threats and diseases and are subject to potentially traumatic experiences. It is important that the awareness of this is incorporated in the programs and policies of NGOs. Here are seven things you need to know about.

We Help You to Travel Where it is Needed Most

We believe our world is a better place when compassion can travel where it is needed most. As a global humanitarian travel organization, we devote ourselves to serving those who serve the world. Our experienced staff can be reached at any given time. Please use our quick address locator to contact your nearest Raptim office should you have any questions. You can also follow our blog for more stories and travel information.