Packing tips for volunteers abroad

Tips learn’t the hard way, in the field…..

No packing lists, just things to take and things not to take.

This a live list of tips that I hope will grow with time, If you have any lessons learned or tips you want to share, feel free to pop them in a comment and I’ll add them to the list!

OK, I’ll start the list off with a few of  my own tips……..

  • Minimize your daily carry. Take as little out and about with you as you can, piling yourself high with laptops, cameras, mobile phones, handbags  etc, etc will eventually get you into trouble as well as all hot and bothered lugging it all around!
  • Indulge your passions. A little of what you like does you good. Equip yourself to, dance, train, read, listen to music, whatever rocks your boat. I know a lady who had a ball organizing Salsa dance classes in Rwanda!
  • Take Books. There may be times when you have lots of time to yourself. Relish this valuable time, enjoy the freedom and solitude, use it. I got through dozens of books sat in my comfy chair out on the verandah, watching the sun go down over an amazingly green East African landscape. Heaven. Find out what book swap schemes are available in country, if there isn’t….start one!
  • Sentimental stuff. If you would be upset to lose it, leave it behind. Accidents happen, things get lost, broken and stolen….all the time. Leave it or lose it!
  • Don’t take jewelry. My first day in Kampala saw a fellow volunteer lose a sentimentally valuable necklace to a ‘jogging’ passer by. He was 300m away by the time she realized what had happened.
  • Take a hat. I know, I know, you don’t wear hats…..you do now! I covered this in the clothing section but it is important, With a brim if you can. Baseball caps don’t protect your ears. I love my Tilley hat and wouldn’t go anywhere without it.
  • Prescription drugs and don’t forget the supporting paperwork for replacements.
  • Simple first aid kit. And I mean one that is so simple and small that you carry it everywhere. A comprehensive one is useless if it is too big to take anywhere! (I’ll add a list soon.)
  • Photocopies. You MUST have several copies of your personal docs.
      • Passport,
      • Volunteer ID card
      • Driving licence,
      • Credit cards, debit cards etc.
      • Hard copy of your [intlink id=”1150″ type=”page”]Personal Information Sheet[/intlink], free download from me!

In the event of loss this will make the very traumatic situation SO much easier to cope with. Trust me.

  • Tool up.Leathermans multi-tool is not just for blokes, gurls can fix things too. A decent multitool will save your hide many times out in the field. Especially if you have a bike or vehicle. Maintenance is not a strong point in many developing countries so many broken things get abandoned.
  1. Over to you………

I'd love to know what you think...