Travelling to foreign countries to do volunteer work is important, but also hazardous. Safety must always be considered when travelling and working abroad. Many individuals, groups, and agencies regularly commit some or all their time to helping less fortunate regions, so the people can have the same access to health care, education, housing, clothing, food, and clean drinking water that the more prosperous lands have.

Travelling to another part of the world to help the inhabitants is a very rewarding and necessary experience. Thousands of people participate in some sort of humanitarian work every year through local organizations, non-profits, and professional associations. But it is not without its risks.

For those who might be considering a humanitarian trip to a foreign country, should prepare for the excursion beforehand to avoid illness, injury, or other unhealthy and dangerous conditions. Some things you will need to do before your globetrotting adventures include:

1. Vaccines

Many countries have different environmental and critter carrying bacteria and viruses that are not a risk in your own country. Some illnesses can be life threatening while others can be very debilitating. To ensure you stay healthy while trekking to different parts of the globe, it is important to be up-to-date on all your vaccinations.

2. Physical Assessment

To volunteer elsewhere, you should be in good physical health. Long flights and increased physical labour can put you at risk of injury or other related medical conditions. Before going on an extended travel plan, you should consult with your doctor first to make sure you are healthy enough to travel.  First Aid Training

3. First Aid Training

Hospitals and health care clinics are not always as easily available as they are in your own homeland. Therefore, it is important to be prepared for any incident when you are in a foreign place. Taking a first aid course before going to your destination will help prepare you for any accident, illness, or injury.

4. First Aid Kit

Medical equipment, even the most basic, is not readily available in many regions so it is important for the volunteers to come with their own kits. You can add extra supplies to your bag, so you will have everything you need should a medical emergency occur.

5. Travel/Medical Insurance

If you become ill or injured, insurance will help cover the unexpected costs. Accessing healthcare in other countries is not as easy as it is at home, nor is it free. Make sure you have insurance to cover you while you are out there.

6. Region Maps

Knowing where you are going, where you can go, and where you should not go is important. Accessing maps of the area before travelling out there will help you learn the region and plan your travel itinerary. Some parts can be very unsafe and must be avoided. Advanced preparation will help keep you safe.

7. Protocols and Procedures Documentation

Every country has their own way of doing things. The nation’s procedures and protocols are important in your travel plans and will determine your stay. Before going to a new area, it is important to learn the do’s and don’ts as well as what business is allowed and what is not.

Professionals and groups often take trips to third world countries to offer free medical care, aid in construction of essential services such as hospitals, housing, orphanages, schools and other needed facilities, bring much needed supplies, and start agriculture or irrigation projects. Humanitarian work is vital for many struggling nations and rewarding for those who cross the globe to freely offer their services.

Before taking on any volunteer work in a foreign land, you should be prepared for your adventure. Even if you are unable to travel, consider charitable giving and donating to children’s charities for a similarly rewarding experience.

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Mo is a seasoned traveller and an adventurous spirit who dreams of visiting every country around the world. When he's not travelling, you might find him writing and cataloguing about his recent trips.

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