One of the questions at the front of everyone’s mind as they get ready to volunteer abroad is “what in the world am I going to put in my suitcase?” If this is your first time volunteering, this can be an especially daunting task, packing. To help get you started, we have prepared a small list of basic necessities for your volunteer trip abroad, wherever your destination may be.
Mosquito Net: Many volunteer locations are in warm, tropical countries. With this hot and humid weather comes lots of mosquitos. To avoid waking up covered head to toe in mosquito bites, which would make for a very uncomfortable trip, we highly suggest bringing a mosquito net along on your trip.
Insect Repellent: The mosquitos will be just as active in the day time as they are at night. So, be sure to bring lots of insect repellent to fend off the bugs while you’re on the go.
Long Sleeved Tops and Trousers: This may seem odd, since we just told you that the climate is likely to be hot and humid. However, this also means that it will likely be very sunny most days. We suggest bringing long sleeved tops and trousers to keep yourself protected from sun burn (they also protect you against those pesky mosquitos we like to talk about so much)!
Sunscreen: The sun will be strong, and even in long sleeved tops and trousers, you’ll still face some exposure. We advise bringing sunscreen to protect your face, neck, hands and any other exposed areas. This will also be useful if you don’t always follow our excellent advice and wind up wearing short sleeved tops or shorts during your trip.
Plug Adaptor: You will likely want to bring your phone or other electronic devices on the trip. If you do (and you should!), you will also need to bring a plug adaptor so you can charge your phone and other electronics at the end of the day.
Battery Pack: You may be spending long days away from your accommodations, so we highly recommend bringing battery packs in case your phone or camera runs out of power sometime along the journey. Trust us, you won’t want to be without your camera; but more on that later!
Water Bottle: As mentioned with the battery pack, you may be away from your accommodations for long periods of time. Whether you are at the volunteering location for six hours at a time or you are taking a day trip to explore your host country, it is a good idea to have a reusable water bottle with you that you can fill with fresh water at home and bring along on your journeys.
Journal and Camera: We know these are two different items, but both are extremely important and have a shared purpose! You are about to embark on the experience of a lifetime, and we guarantee you’ll want to record as much of it as you can. Take lots of pictures and write everything down, all the highs, lows, and times in between, so you can remember each and every part of the journey. You’ll want to keep these memories for a long time!
More important than any of the material things you bring is the attitude and outlook you bring on your trip. Keep an open, positive attitude and welcome in every new experience to make sure that you have the most amazing trip!
Watch the video below to hear more about what to pack from one of our volunteers: