Do your research
It’s a good idea to get some background information on the country you’re travelling to. In doing this, you’ll have a better understanding of what to bring with you. You can access foreign travel advice on the UK Government’s website which tells you about every country’s safety, customs, visa requirements, health service, local laws and more. However, it’s also a good idea to do a little research into the country’s history, culture and climate so you know what to expect.
Try to bring lightweight luggage and a backpack to use during the day. Make sure to check the requirements given to you by the hosting organisation so you can plan what to take according to how much space you have left. It’s a good idea to leave some space in your bag in case you want to bring traditional gifts from the country home with you at the end of your project.
Don’t bring extra clothing depending on the duration of your trip as you can always do laundry more often to compensate. Remember you’re not on holiday so you don’t need a lot of outfit changes! Most of the time you will be able to buy anything you have forgotten from local shops.
What to bring
Depending on the country you’re going to, there may be cultural expectancies as to what you can wear in public and what you can’t. If we haven’t told you already, you should always check this before you leave. Other than clothing, here’s a list of what you should take on an IVS project.
- Soap – you can use it for doing laundry too
- Toothpaste & toothbrush
- Shampoo & conditioner
- Hand sanitiser
- Insect repellant
- Medication (even if you don’t end up needing it) – it can be very expensive to buy paracetamol, antihistamines, antiseptic cream etc abroad
- Notebook & pen
- Snacks from home
- Refillable bottle
- Camera – we love to see pictures from your trip!
- Traditional food from your home country to give the locals
- Mobile phone – make sure it’s unlocked and set for international roaming
Please note that these lists are just a guide, you may wish to bring other items with you.
Now for the important bit…
If you need to order or renew a passport, you should leave 6+ weeks for your application to be received, processed and completed.
Not every country requires you to have a visa but IVS will advise you on this. If you do require a visa, you should apply for this at least 6 weeks before you leave, if not more.
Booking the transportation to and from the project is up to you, but, IVS can offer advice on which websites to use to get the best deal. You should organise flights at least a month in advance. The sooner you book, the lower it will cost you.
As with visas, pre-departure vaccinations are not always essential depending on the country you are going to. It is also up to you to book and pay for vaccinations if you need them. If this is something you do need, you should do this at least 4 weeks in advance, however, your local GP surgery will be able to advise you more on this. You can get more information on travel vaccinations here.
Travel Insurance □
Although IVS provides your health insurance as it is included in the project fee, your travel insurance is not covered. Make sure you have the necessary documentation with you before you leave the UK.
European Health Insurance Card □
If your project is in a European Economic Area (EEA), or in Switzerland, your European Health Insurance Card gives you the right to access state-provided healthcare during your temporary stay. The EHIC covers treatment that is medically necessary until your planned return home. Make sure you don’t forget it!
Notify Your Bank
You may not need to spend any money when you’re away on your project, but it is a good idea to notify your bank that you will be abroad in case you wish to use your bank card in a different country.