Once registered, you will receive our volunteer guide on departure. This guide is a compilation of the questions usually asked by volunteers: transportation, life on the project, culture shock, money, vaccines, etc. This guide is for you, take the time to read it carefully, it will help you to prepare well.
Even if we provide you with a file on your host country and a list of documents to read, this does not exempt you from personal research. Learn as much as you can about your destination and your project by visiting the association’s website. Study the basics of your host country: culture, language, religion, climate, transportation systems, currency, etc.
A rucksack of more than 15 kilos at the start is too much, especially for the volunteers who intend to walk a lot, especially if you have to add a little weight on the spot with a few liters of water, enough to eat a minimum, etc. We therefore recommend our volunteers a total weight (rucksack + backpack) ranging between 10 and 15 kilos maximum at the start. And, if you miss some t-shirts, do some laundry or go around the local shops!
It is advisable to prepare your luggage according to:
Transportation that you will use to get to your project and any trips you will make afterwards. Generally, take a backpack and a smaller bag for excursions. About the climate of the country: Always wear protective clothing against the sun, the cold (even in the tropics), wind, rain and mosquitoes. For warm, humid countries prefer light clothing and cotton clothing.
Be careful, it is not because you are going to a “hot” country that it is hot all year long, everywhere and all day long and that your work camp site has heating or air conditioning.
For your luggage, we advise you:
- Fill your bag to 3/4 of its volume (you will probably want to bring back memories)
- Provide your entire luggage with tags with your private address and the address of the project. In France, luggage labeling is mandatory even in the TGV!
- To find out about the weight limits according to your airport and / or airline. Weigh your bag once it is closed and complete. Exceeding weight can be very expensive. Pay attention to the contents of your hand luggage (avoid liquid products).
- Keep your money on you. Spread your bankcards and money so that you have a backup solution, if you lose them or steal them.
- Program emergency numbers in your phone / piece of paper: number of members of the association, number of the partner, the local police, your relatives, etc.
- There are almost everywhere opportunities to wash clothes (take a little washing powder), so do not load, preferably take the bare necessities or buy locally.
- Take on a trip with at least one pair of all-terrain shoes with which you can walk easily. They will be comfortable, adjustable (heat and altitude can inflate the feet) and already formed on your foot to avoid blisters and other small injuries very annoying. If you have many visits or plan to hike, the comfort of the feet is essential. Have good shoes that will not let you down in the middle of nowhere, in some countries, some big sizes can be hard to find.
- Do not forget to bring photos, videos, posters to present to the other volunteers your country, your city (go take a tour at the tourist office), and your family.
- Finally, know that happens every year that the luggage of one of our volunteers is lost at the airport. Never put valuable or vital objects (medicines) in the baggage hold: take them with you in the cabin. If you travel by plane, it is wise to put in your baggage what to dress a day or two in case your baggage is lost at the airport.
Our little tips
- Fill his shoes with his rolled socks
- Put on things that we will often or quickly need (ex: pajamas and toothbrushes)
- Wrap fragile objects (photo lenses) in soft clothing such as a sweatshirt and place them in the middle of the suitcase.
- Think of dividing your toiletry bag into several lots, which will then be stuck in the “holes” of the bag.
Taxi at the exit of the airport: there is many frauds. Like “because of the event we have to take another path”, “I know a better hotel”, in order to make you pay more or to work their knowledge.
Shop prices: differences depending on whether you are a local or a tourist. Do not hesitate to negotiate (if this is part of the customs of the country because in others, they take haggling badly) and to inquire about real prices.
The checklist of the volunteer
- Main backpack
- Small annex bag (excursions)
- Plastic bags (if allowed)
- Athletic wear
- Waterproof jacket / Windbreaker
- Cap / Hat.
- Decent pajamas
- Walking shoes
- Light or warm shoes
- Bath towels
- Pair of spare / sunglasses
- Sleeping bag
- Pillow, sheets
- Adapter (if necessary)
- Flash light
- Toothbrush / Toothpaste
- Sanitary towels / tampons
- Antibacterial gel
- Cleaning wipes
- Cotton / cotton swab
- Nail clippers
- Mosquito repellent
- Solar cream
- Cream against burns (Biafine)
- Blood type card
- Prescribed medicine (+ prescription)
- Usual medicine
- Safety pins
- Itching pomade
- Unlocked mobile phone for international
- Clock / Alarm
- Camera / Camera / USB Key
- Swiss knife
- Charger / Battery
- Playing Cards / Dice
- Travel diary, logbook, pen
- Country Guide
- Unlocked bank cards for the international
- ID card
- Passport (valid for another 6 months after the return date)
- Photocopy of identity documents (+ digital copy)
- Driving license (international, if necessary)
- Emergency number (insurance, embassy, association, partner, bank, family / friends).