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What to Do Before Traveling Internationally

Are you planning on traveling internationally on a humanitarian mission? If it’s your first trip, then there is some extra preparation that you should invest in before taking the plunge. While you’ll need all the same documents as for any other trip, there are a few extra steps. Start by ensuring that you have the necessary information about the destination to which you are traveling internationally as a humanitarian. Now, read on to get some more tips and tricks.

Why Humanitarian Travel is Different

Traveling internationally as a humanitarian is not going on vacation. It is also not what is called “voluntourism” where you combine vacationing and volunteering on one trip. Instead, humanitarian travel is work requiring completely different planning and preparation before you travel. First of all, any international cooperation trip involves a lot of research before you can decide to take one. You are looking to make a positive impact in the world, and doing so, you need a great partner. Thus, the first thing you should do when planning humanitarian travel is to research the organization you want to work with. This is probably the most crucial step in the process. You want to make sure that they are sustainable, engage the local community, have accountability and transparency, and operate projects that genuinely benefit participants.

This is the principle reason why humanitarian travel is different. You are not going to sightsee and observe how people live in detrimental conditions. Instead, you are going to look for sustainable solutions and how these conditions can be improved. And remember, each person you meet along the way has his and her own life story and dignity. So, when planning international humanitarian travel, don’t also forget to prepare emotionally and mentally.

Humanitarian Travel Tips for Travelling Internationally

Now, let’s discuss some of the more physical requirements for traveling internationally as a humanitarian. Here are some of the top things to consider:

1. Get your paperwork ready

Even if you are traveling as part of a specific humanitarian mission, your paperwork needs to comply with the entry requirements of the given country. Before you go, make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months. Next, check if you need to apply for a visa to enter the country to which you are traveling. Additionally, you might need certain vaccinations and other medical documents such as a Yellow Fever certificate.

2. Health and vaccinations

Before traveling to a new region, it’s essential to understand any health risks that you may encounter. Check in with your doctor and your travel clinic to see if you need to get or update any vaccinations such as yellow fever, malaria, typhoid, hepatitis, etc. It’s best to give yourself enough time to get these administered so don’t leave these until the last minute. You can also check for any alerts with the CDC.

World Immunization Day History

3. Stay up to date on local news

It is possible that you will be deployed to a conflict zone or an area affected by a natural disaster. It is essential that you are aware of the current situation in the area at all times both for your safety and to understand the context of the environment in which you will be working in. The S. Government Travel page can provide alerts and information on the local embassy and consulates. If in doubt, you can always contact these for more details as well.

4. Packing tips

Pack light but bring all of your essentials. You don’t want to lug around a huge suitcase while on a mission, but you also don’t want to waste time on purchasing essential items, some of which may not even be available. Check the weather conditions in your area to decide what is necessary to bring with you. Based on this, pack comfortable and light clothing that is versatile. Don’t forget that the culture in your destination country may be different so be sure to be respectful by not packing any clothing or items that may be offensive or perceived as inappropriate.

5. Essential things you need to bring

While packing light is ideal for international humanitarian travel, certain items are essential. Always have a personal first aid kit with you; you never know what kind of emergency you might run into. Also, bring necessary hygiene items as you may not be able to find them on site. Finally, bring a flashlight and backup batteries for your phone as there may be power outages in the area.

The importance of “duty of care”

Traveling internationally as a humanitarian worker can expose you to risks. That’s why duty of care is 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 keep you informed on any potential issues.

Duty of Care

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. In addition to this, at Raptim we strive to provide humanitarians with every possible risk-mitigation solution. That’s why we take duty of care extremely seriously and include it as part of our service offering when organizing international travel. You may contact our experienced staff via various 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.

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