Humanitarian travel can be challenging to predict. Disasters happen without any warning signs, and personnel needs to deploy immediately. Even if there is time to plan, the travel destinations are often in challenging settings. We’ve been organizing humanitarian group travel for decades! So, we decided to share some valuable tips and guidelines to help you successfully set up a journey. Guideline 1: Review travel documents Without the right travel documents, your group won’t get further than the check-in counter at the airport. That’s why it’s essential to make sure that everyone has the right documents. Always include a passport and visas. You may also need to present accommodation and itinerary confirmation. For humanitarian travelers, you may need a few extras. For example, some countries require specific vaccination certificates, such as the yellow fever certificate. If the group is working at the destination, they may also need a company invitation letter. It’s best to make a checklist and review it for each traveler. Guideline 2: Ensure medical insurance Health insurance is a must for all types of travelers, including humanitarians. Each person in your group should have a proper insurance policy. Alternatively, you may want to take out the same plan for everyone in the group, making coordination much more straightforward. In case of an emergency, you should have everyone’s emergency and next of kin contacts. Also, add their medical insurance policy references and contacts to your files. Guideline 3: Check any health requirements Everyone should have their health insurance, but you also need to know of any health conditions in advance. For this, you can distribute a survey asking to inform you of any exceptional circumstances. For example, if someone has severe allergies and you will be organizing meals, then you need to have that information. Guideline 4: Organize all itineraries It’s fun to travel on a whim, but not for groups, and less for the organizer. You will want to have all of the travel details hashed out in advance. So keep a record of flights, transportation to and from the airport, accommodation, local transport, and even meals. It’s a great idea to liaise with local staff at your destination. These people can help you to organize itineraries better and to put you in touch with the right people for the services that you need. Guideline 5: Stick to your budget Proper planning will help you stay in your budget range for humanitarian group travel. Ideally, start planning well ahead of time. Set strict deadlines for travel documents and submitting any relevant information. Setting a deadline will help you to purchase tickets and make reservations at favorable prices. To make sure that you can stick to your budget, create a budget per traveler. Besides this, keep a contingency in case of emergencies. Of course, you should also negotiate with service providers to receive group discounts! Guideline 6: Get everyone on the same page Traveling with a group can be a challenge. Not everyone will be comfortable with the type and style of travel. You might get several special requests, such as itinerary changes, accommodation upgrades, and so on. While you need to maintain a good relationship with everyone in the group, there also need to be clear boundaries. Provide information packages and resources that outline any rules, essential information, dates and times, etc. You can also create a group on social media to exchange information in real-time. Guideline 7: Plan for setbacks As with any travel, delays do happen when humanitarians embark on international journeys. If you are responsible for a group, then you should plan for these to occur. As we mentioned in budgeting, always keep a contingency budget for things that might go wrong. This budget also applies to time! Unfortunately, it’s hard to get a group to be punctual all the time. Budget in extra time, mainly if there is air travel or important meetings involved. Guideline 8: Duty of care Everyone involved in group travel has to care for themselves and others. It’s a mutual responsibility, but for companies, it is also legally binding. So, as a travel organizer, you’ll need to meet proper standards of duty of care. The Duty of Care includes mitigating and foreseeing preventable risks. For example, if there is a hurricane watch, then it is best to postpone travel. You should also keep open lines of communication. We Help You to Travel 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 simplifying travel complexity. That is how we enable those who do good to support, heal, and educate people around the world. Please reach out to our experienced staff anytime. You can use our quick address locator to contact your nearest office.