Posts Tagged abroad
Volunteer Abroad Accommodation
Accommodation, where to stay, makes or breaks a good holiday or stay in a foreign place. Travelers who rush into picking a place to stay normally end up regretting because of not choosing carefully. As an international volunteer going abroad s/he should plan on where they will stay. On choosing on where to stay the volunteer should look into the meals, if they are shared or single rooms, price, services like laundry, WIFI connection, and excursions. International volunteers should look carefully at these factors when choosing a place to stay. The various types of accommodation available are homestays, hostels, hotels, group homes, the project location, couchsurfing, and home exchanges. Each of these options have their advantages and their disadvantages. These places offer:
These are the most comfortable but most expensive places to stay in. Hotels are great as they are a home away from home; the staff makes the volunteer as comfortable as possible. The services offered vary from hotel to hotel. Most hotels are ranked from 2 stars to 5 stars, 5 stars hotels are high end hotel and are very luxurious while 2 stars are not as fancy as 5 star ones. Many hotels have websites that show their rooms and the services they offer to help travelers have a glimpse of what to expect. Budget hotels and motels offer basic services as opposed to luxurious hotels. Hotels are a great option if the volunteers are going to stay for a short period of time, need privacy, new to a country and need a bit of pampering or reminded of home.
Hostels are a common option to backpackers, round the world travelers, gap years, international volunteers and students. Typical hostels are made of single, double, and dorm rooms. The dorm rooms have about 6 bunk beds; the beds normally have a heavy blanket with optional sheets. There is a communal shower, while those who choose private rooms have private showers. Some hostels provide laundry services, WIFI, free breakfast and some have a community kitchen. Most hostels are locked during the day so that they can be cleaned. In the evening some hostels offer social settings, with a bar which serves cheap drinks. The hostels are used to travelers and provide needs that suit travelers. Some hostels dont have curfews but some do. They are a great place to meet other travelers and travel with them. Generally hostels are the cheapest form of accommodation travelers can get but they lack privacy as the travel may share the dorm room with 10 other international volunteers. Some hostels are gender specific and they are for girls only or boys only.
These are normally provided by the volunteer service companies. These are homes that are in the host country whereby all the volunteers will be staying. They are normally single and double rooms. They have a caretaker and chef who will help the volunteers for all their needs. Three meals are provided and they are served at a certain time. Volunteer group homes have someone who will do their laundry in some occasion they provide transportation to and fro the project location. Some homes provide orientation classes to help the volunteer to learn about the host country, the language and currency. The price of group homes vary with the volunteer service organization as the price is included with the volunteer program. They are safe, secure and are great for first time travelers.
These are made available by the volunteers themselves. The property could be house, apartment, flats and townhouses. With this option the volunteers looks for a place to stay and buys furniture for themselves. The apartments are a great option if the volunteer is going to stay for a long period of time. There are great deals out there where by a volunteer could commit themselves for two to three months to paying rent in that place. Renting rules and regulations depend on the landlord/lady and the city. These are good especially if the volunteers are in a group whereby they can save a lot of money by renting their own homes. Older volunteers, boomers, prefer this kind of setting whereby they are able to be comfortable and some could even buy a car.
Other options are available to international volunteers but are not too common. One way is through couch surfing. Couch surfing is whereby the volunteer stay in a persons home and they buy food for a couple of days. There is a network of homes that offer couchsurfing opportunities. This is one of the cheapest ways of traveling as its free. There are rules that go with couchsurfing; the volunteer should know them. Another option is home exchanges whereby the volunteer goes to live in another persons home while the owners are on holiday or are traveling. The volunteers take care of the house and forward mail to the owners.
Volunteer Abroad Packing Tips
“I’m very strict with my packing and have everything in its right place. I never change a rule. I hardly use anything in the hotel room. I wheel my own wardrobe in and that’s it.” - Charlie Watts. How you pack when you leave home for volunteer work, will determine how you get off to work on your project. Many volunteers, especially first time travelers, have a problem in knowing what to carry with them abroad, and how best to do their packing. Add to that the hustles of the airport and being in foreign land where you may not have someone to help you get started. Then, you may end up very confused, during the first few days of your volunteer work. Here is a brief overview off what to pack and how best to do so.
The golden rule is to pack light. The best advice is to bring out everything you would like to bring along with you on your trip, and then divide it in half.
Once this is done then you need to pick the lightest suitcase you can find. When packing your suitcase, make sure to put the heavier things on the bottom while the lighter ones go on top, however if you are using a bag pack then you need to put the lighter things at the bottom and the heavier on top, this will aid you in making your luggage lighter to carry around with you, especially soon after arrival.
When packing, put plastic bags at the bottom as well as using them as layers, this will help you to reduce wrinkling, another way to make your packing convenient is to put different clothing in different clear bags with a zip lock, this way it’s easier to identify different bags with different clothing when unpacking, it may also come in handy at customs if you need to open up your luggage.
Roll your cloths tightly when packing them into a bag pack; it often carries more this way. Make sure you have any necessary medication and essential documents with you on your carryon bag. Along with these, carry a change of clothes with you on your carryon luggage, just in case you need to freshen up after your flight. If you are travelling with a group then you can split up your clothes with other people. This way if any of you lose their luggage while travelling, then you will have a change of clothes for the first few days while efforts are being made to locate your luggage.
When doing your actual packing, remember you are packing for comfort, not glamour. The less jewelry you carry with you the better, it will make you less of a target for opportunistic criminals. When it comes to footwear, its best to choose waterproof or oiled footwear. It is not a bad idea to carry sandals or open shoes they may come in handy especially in households where shoes are not allowed. It is better for you to carry clothes that you can hand wash and carry with you some dark or neutral colored clothing.
Use small colorless bottles to carry toiletries around, it is better to refill than carry big bottles with you, put socks inside shoes and put the shoes in a plastic bag to avoid any messes. Make sure you carry a hat with you, woolen hats for cold weather and a baseball cap for sunny weather. For the ladies, expect to bring along at least one dress or skirt for going out to restaurants or other occasions, pants may not be commonly allowed in some communities, especially at certain events.
Some other things that you may need to carry with you are a small first aid kit, an electrical converter if you plan to carry a laptop or any electronics, raincoat or umbrella for the rain, a flash light with batteries. Also carry with you a money belt or a neck wallet to keep with you at all times, where you may keep your important travel documents, including your passport, money and credit cards.
Volunteer Abroad Victims Of Crime
An individual will never be a hundred percent safe from crime or targets for a crime. Some places are safer than others but crime is present everywhere. The perpetrators of the crimes could be the local people or fellow volunteers and sometimes the victims themselves. Crime against people is equal to both men and women in that they are both attacked. Unfortunately in some places women are found to be easier and sympathetic targets, as such they are targeted more. Travelling abroad has its risks and one of them is crime. Sooner or later international volunteers become victims of crime. There will be a point in time that some volunteers will fall victim and this article is to help you handle with certain situations and to avoid being victim of a crime. There are basic tips to avoid being a victim like avoid being too trusting, the volunteers putting them self at risk; over consumption of alcohol, avoid high risk areas and countries; and provoking other people. Here is how to avoid being a victim and what to do if it has already happened:
Robbery is one of the most common crimes that international volunteers could face. Most international volunteers are robbed in airports, trains busses and crowded areas. The volunteers are robbed of their luggage, purses, passports, jewelry, cameras, wallets and watches. The thieves rob the volunteers through snatching, at gun point, knife point, distract the volunteers, cut a hole on the purses or jackets, and steal while the volunteers are asleep. To avoid being robbed the volunteers who are abroad, could take better care of their belonging, get a money bag or purse and put it in their clothes, stitch a pocket on to their clothes to hide their valuables, make copies of their valuables and to leave their valuables in a safe place. After the international volunteer has been robbed, there are various way of handling the issue: inform the authorities, inform the banks and credit companies, inform relatives and loved ones to send help, and go to their embassies to report the matter.
This is whereby the volunteer is lied to about the price of an object or a service. It also occurs when the volunteer is cheated in to believing to invest in a business transaction. The most common scam are taxi scams whereby the driver overcharges the volunteer; drives the volunteer in circles to get a better deal, threatens the volunteer. To avoid this, the volunteers should call the official taxi service numbers to get help; they should have a common driver with whom they have used before, get a local person to travel with them. To handle this, the volunteer should report the driver to his superiors and before paying s/he should inquire about the price of the service. Business scams are whereby the volunteers are duped into investing into a business idea or proposal. This is common especially if the idea involves investing in local jewelry, gems, and mined resources (gold, diamond, etc). As the truth cant be determined even if the volunteer has seen the gems or mined resources they should avoid such transactions. The deal could be too good to be true and should be avoid. Its hard to handle such crimes as this will end up in court and it could drag on for months.
This is rare most parts of the world, but it is common in certain parts of the world. For examples US citizens are targeted by some Muslim organizations like AL Qaeda. Some countries in South America like Chile are not fond of Americans. In countries like Vietnam, Philippines and Thailand dont like foreigners because some of them have bad habits that conflict with their cultures for example drinking, sleeping with prostitutes and smoking. In such places, the volunteers should be extra cautious about their behavior and habits in front of the locals. The best way to handle this problem is by going to the volunteers National embassy to solve the issue.
In some rare occasions the volunteers are the perpetrators of the crimes. The volunteers could be the ones who break the laws by for example taking photos of security related institutions, purchasing some antiques (some of the locals may seem them as national relics or treasures, possessions of fire arms, and drug violations( the volunteers are caught in possession of illegal drugs). To avoid such scenarios the international volunteers should acquaint themselves with the rules and regulations. Also they should ask for permission to do certain things.