Many seasoned humanitarian and development workers have their pre-travel routine. This could be a check-list to adhere to, a pre-packed suitcase with all the basics, a doctor whom they call, or other habits. And it’s no surprise since humanitarian work generally involves a lot of travel with most positions requiring upwards of 30% of the time be spent in the field. However, traveling for work is very different from going abroad on vacation. So, if you are just starting in the industry, here are some tips on making pre-travel arrangements. Humanitarian Travel As mentioned above, humanitarian travel is different from a vacation. It is likely that you are going to visit areas to which you wouldn’t normally travel. These are not tourist destinations with comfortable, name brand hotels, wireless internet connectivity, and international restaurants. Instead, you may be going to communities where change is needed to improve the quality of life or where conflict or disaster has struck. Additionally, the culture at your destination will likely be different from your own. Listed below are some travel guidelines you really should follow. Furthermore, laws and customs may vary as well. Overall, this is both exciting—you will learn a great deal from humanitarian travel—but it also calls for some precautions and arrangements. Pre-travel Arrangements for Humanitarians Raptim has been supporting humanitarian travel for decades, so we know a little about making pre-travel arrangements. While this is by no means an exhaustive list of things you should do, there are some ideas below on how to prepare for humanitarian travel. 1. Research your destination The first step in preparing your humanitarian trip is to simply do some research. Often, we have an image of places that is based on news and media. But is it always true? Do some more in-depth research on what conditions are truly like where you are going. Is it a rural or an urban area? What is the main religion practiced? What is the culture like? Are all the basics readily available in stores? What is the climate like in the country or region? If in doubt, reach out to someone who has already traveled to the country to get feedback. 2. Stay up-to-date on vaccines It’s hard to stress this enough, but it is essential to get all your vaccinations in order before traveling. While some places don’t require any additional vaccines to the routine ones you already have, many destinations will. Here you will find a quick guide to getting travel vaccinations. This is particularly true for travel to Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. In addition to vaccines, it is probably a good idea to talk to your healthcare professional about your travel plans. If you are going for a longer mission, make sure to do a health check before you go. 3. Check your passport and visas Traveling from one place to another requires a whole lot of paperwork and proper preparation. Documents take time to process, so give yourself time to update your passport and get your visas. If you are not sure whether you need a visa to travel, contact your nearest embassy. Additionally, make sure that your passport is valid for at least 6 months. 4. Advise your embassy Most countries have a registry service once you have arrived at your destination. It’s a good idea to register. This way, if there is an emergency, the embassy knows that they need to look for you. 5. Purchase some basic Last but not least, prepare your packing. While packing light is ideal for humanitarian travel, it is also essential not to leave anything behind. You need to be prepared starting with the packing essentials listed here. Check if you have everything that is required to successfully perform the activities that you are doing in the field. Also, purchase appropriate clothing, medications, hygiene products, and a first aid kit. The importance of “duty of care” Traveling internationally as a humanitarian worker can expose you to risks. That’s why Duty of Care is absolutely essential. During your travel, you may be placed in situations of conflict, civil unrest, natural disasters, climate anomalies, violence, and/or potential health risks. Remember that the organization that you are deployed with, and particularly your team leader, should be able to keep you informed on any potential issues. Have a look at our Duty of Care services. Let Us Help You We at Raptim believe our world is a better place when compassion can travel where it is needed most. Therefore we devote ourselves to serving those who serve the world by being a genuine global travel organization. Please contact our experienced staff via diverse means of communication at any given time. 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.