Volunteer abroad transportation
It is important to consider means of transportation and commuting when planning your volunteer abroad trip. There are various means of transport available depending on the country in which you are going. You could travel by road, rail, ship or plane, depending on the location of your program project and country you are going to. If you are going to stay in a foreign country as a volunteer, back packer, study abroad student, gap year traveler or just a traveler, for a month or longer you should find out what are the best means to travel while you are there. The most common means of transport is public transport which is sometimes run by the national government, or sometimes could be run by the city and in some case the tourist centres. Choosing the best way to travel depends on your budget and the resources that are available to you. While you are abroad you could travel by:
Travelling by plane is the most popular especially if you are going to travel over long distances.
Unfortunately it is also the most expensive way to travel. Younger adults (26 years and younger) can use International Student Identity Card (ICIS), International Youth Travel Card (IYTC) and Youth Hostel Association (YHA) to get discounts on flights. Booking in advance can allow you to take advantage of flight deals and discounts. During the long flight hours try to make yourself comfortable by wearing loose fitting clothes and carry anything that would entertain you during the flight. If you suffer from airsickness, get motion sickness tablets, they will help you during your flight. Follow the airlines’ regulations and rules for everyone’s’ safety.
Travelling by boat is common in areas that have islands, or in places that don’t have access to bridges. In places like Italy there are many waterways and the preferred way to travel is by boat. For safety, you should check whether the vessel has been registered for voyages; the marine conditions of the area; and travel advisories at the dock. To overcome seasickness you can get medication from a doctor, wear a special wrist band that controls your pulse rate and try to stay on the deck to a catch of the breeze. In some remote villages on islands, you will have to travel by boat. In these places, there will be dhows available and you have to be very careful when travelling by them.
Train and buses
Public transportation is different in every country and is through trains and busses. Trains are sometimes the best means of transport because they are cheaper than planes and more comfortable than busses. When backpacking across Europe travelling by train is the most effective means of transportation. You can save money on trains by using ICIS, IYTC and YTH cards if you are a young adult. Trains are relatively safe, with very few accidents occurring but you should keep your travel documents and personal documents very safe in your hand luggage. In trains you are more prone to be robbed or pick-pocketed especially on the train stations. Traveling by bus is more comfortable especially if you are travelling for shorter periods. Although the new rules and routes could be intimidating, take a local friend with you to help you navigate. You can get a public transportation map, to help you and learn how to stop the bus.
Car and motor bikes
Travelling by car is very comfortable especially for short distances. Get an International Driving Permit (IDP) from AAR so as to drive any part of the world. You could either buy or rent a car for the period of you volunteer abroad. Traffic rules and regulations vary with the country for example in some countries they drive on the left while in others they drive on right side. When renting or buying a car, insure it and don’t rent something too exotic that will attract attention. For safety, follow the traffic rules, don’t leave valuables in the car, and don’t drive at night. Motor bikes are great for avoiding traffic jams and parking fees.
Bicycles and walking
This is the most inexpensive mode of transport. It’s the best way of keeping fit and works best if you live close to your school or volunteer project. For safety don’t walk at night and follow the pedestrian traffic rules. Also don’t wear clothes that will attract too much attention; wear expensive jewelry and carry your handbag close to you.
Volunteer Abroad Advice
Traveling is a disease that is not easy to cure; some say its caused by being bitten by a travel bug. Travelers could be those who are going to: volunteer abroad; gap year; study abroad; intern abroad; tourist abroad; career break and boomers abroad. Many of the travelers especially those who are going to stay for a long period of time like for months or years fail to plan. Most volunteers who are abroad plan to: pay the air fare, get travel insurance and for accommodation. They forget about planning for small things that make a big difference like: carrying extra money; bathrooms could be different; having your passport all the time; travelling in the host country; manners and minding locals; and realizing you are the different one not them. Other than these there are more important things you should know that will help you enjoy your volunteer abroad vacation
Reading the fine print when you are using a travel agent is important because you would want to know who will take care of you when things go wrong. As a volunteer going to work abroad you are most probably going to use a volunteer travel organization that organizes volunteer work. Most of these organizations plus other travel and tour operators have travel policies or terms and conditions. Knowing these will help you to plan how you will take care of yourself when things go south. Things like political coups, racist movements, natural disasters, being robbed, when you fall sick and riots are not common but they could happen. When these things happen you would want to know how the agency will take care of you. You should also find out about the refund policies, something might happen that could make you not to travel and you dont want to lose your money.
This comes when you are planning where you are going to stay. The most common places to stay are hotels, hostels, and homestays and group homes. Many hotels have minimum set of standards and its easy to find out what you are paying for. Choosing a hostel, homestays and group homes are the ones travelers should pay particular attention to. Most people dont take their time to look into what they are and not paying for. For example in group homes and homestays, they could offer you a bed or a bed mat, a table and electric outlet. In other occasions they could provide you with these things and more or not. Also hostels dont give out much information on what they will offer you, or sometimes they provide you with false information.
Getting around is hard for the first weeks in a foreign country, especially if you are going to be using public transport to get around. In some countries when you use buses or trains they are normally overcrowded and crammed and this can come as a surprise to you. While you are abroad get maps and book guides of the country you are in. Reading and understanding maps can become useful especially when you are lost. If you plan to ride a bicycle or a car, try to find out the traffic rules. As a pedestrian look out for signs to help you navigate through the city. In some countries motorists dont pay much attention to pedestrians and extra care should be taken.
Before you travel abroad contact your bank or Credit Card Company and inform them that you are travelling abroad. Inquire from them what their policies are abroad and what happens when you lose your cards either through robbery or bad luck. Ask them how you will be protected against fraud. Before you volunteer abroad ask if their cards can be used where you are going. Some credit card companies provide you with medical insurance; ask them if you also need additional travel insurance. Before you leave, contact a tax expert or accountant about taxation and find out if you will still be paying tax while you are abroad. This is mainly for volunteers who are planning to stay for a long period of time.
Fundraising and Volunteering Abroad
“Donors don’t give to institutions. They invest in ideas and people in whom they believe.”
- G.T. Smith.Volunteering abroad can be expensive to the individual; most people use their own money to cover expenses while they volunteer in a foreign country. Especially, if you want to volunteer and you are either in high school or college, with no source of income. To decrease financial burdens on yourself, you can carry out some fundraising campaigns maybe from organizations or even from other individuals. Fundraising is not necessarily an expensive process, it’s simply a process to solicit and gather money, by requesting for donations from organizations or individuals.
As an individual you may need some key principles as to how you may approach potential donors. The first thing is that; you need to ask clearly for what you want or expect.
In this regard you also need to have some knowledge towards the donors’ ability and willingness to give. With this information it’s easier for the donor to spend money on you.
As a fundraiser you have to make use of the personal approach. Remember that the more personal your approach is, then the more effective it will be, asking a person for funds face to face will be better than even giving a presentation to a group of people. Using the phone or letters to ask for funds are not effective way to go about getting funding. You are always the best person to do the asking.
Whenever you approach a new or potential donor, try and understand the donors view point. A donor being an organization or an individual does not mean that they lack personal inclinations toward some causes. Donors might have personal reasons for wanting to give or build on whatever you are interested in doing while volunteering abroad. In such a case then you need to remember that in supporting your cause then they are supporting their own causes as well. The situation may also work against you, if the cause you are working towards is one that the donor does not particularly care for. In this case then you need to be careful how you approach the donor, and avoid any mention of what may a affect the donor negatively, which may lead to the donor turning you down.
Keep in mind that fundraising is a peoples business. You need to show the donor how you are helping people with your volunteer work, show them how you are going to change peoples’ lives. You can illustrate this through photos or even some statistics, but always try and focus on a specific project where you are planning to do the most good. It will be easier to excite the donor with one particular project than other several achievements that you would like to accomplish while volunteering abroad
When fundraising remember that as much as you are asking for money, you are also selling an idea to the donor. You need to convince them to contribute to your volunteer work. Remember that you are trying to persuade people and organizations to help you, so you have to give them reasons as to why their donations to you are important, and how in some way they will also be doing some good. It will help you much if you guide the donors on your expectations, you do this through asking the donor for a specific amount for a specific item or for a specific expenditure you will have during your volunteer work.
After all this is done, thank your donors for their contributions and try and tell them how you plan to use their money. You can do this through sharing correspondence with them on how your volunteer work is coming along, and if it’s possible you can report back to them specifically how you have used the money they gave to you.