Resources to Help You Plan Your Trip:
The information and resources listed below will aid you in researching the areas you are interested in traveling to and the documents required. These links are a starting point and we highly recommend you use the Internet, books and other tools to supplement this information.
You must have a passport to travel outside of the US. We recommend you bring a photocopy of the face page of your passport with you and leave a copy with friends or family at home. If your passport is lost or stolen you can get a replacement from the nearest consulate/embassy and having a photocopy makes this easier.
Please visit the The US State Department for a complete list of Foreign Entry Requirements.
For projects in countries where visas are required you will receive a special invitation letter and instructions on how to obtain a visa. Always call the Embassy or Consulate concerned for an update on their application requirements and fees.
Usually passport size photos (2-3 of an identical poses in either black or white or color) and US$10-$100 (in local currency) are required for each visa. If you are traveling in regions that require visas, have extra photos on hand for itinerary changes, theft, or loss. If traveling by train, beware of any visas needed for countries youmight be passing through. More than one volunteer has been taken off thetrain and delayed a day or two for ignoring basic geography and atransit country's visa regulations.
Credit: R. Chang ~ Indonesia 2010
Travel Warnings and Medical Requirements
It is very important to get up-to-date information on the regions you are traveling to. The State Department updates information 24-hours a day for every country and region.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention provides updated information on immunizations required and suggested, as well as any disease outbreaks by country.
Visit the Lonely Planet website for a wide range of travel information. They also print books for many countries/regions with great suggestions on travel, accommodation and things to see and do.
Insurance coverage for volunteers during their participation in a project varies with the foreign host organization. If provided, the coverage is for accidents only and not up to American standards. If adequate insurance is a concern to you, we strongly suggest that you provide for your own coverage. You may also want to ask about trip cancellation insurance. Some travel related insurance carriers are World Nomads, l HTH Worldwide and Global Rescue LLC.
Traveling to Your Destination
You are responsible to pay for and arrange transportation to and from your project. Savvy travelers and those who take the time to search many sites will find the most affordable options. The Sunday New York Times travel section always has a bunch of little ads from specialty ticket brokers/consolidators. Probably the best deals will come from them, since they buy up big blocks of tickets. Travel agents can also have some great deals.
Raptim International Travel is a global leader in humanitarian and missionary airfares. With a 60 year legacy and a dedicated team of international experts, they continue to provide non-profit organizations the best travel resources with competitive pricing. Raptim prides itself in "Serving Those Who Serve the World". VFP volunteers should contact Raptim Travel at firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel. (800) 777-9232 between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. EST for a quote. Raptim also offers travel and evacuation insurance through Travel Guard.
Volunteers For Peace began promoting Student Universe as a site for volunteers to utilize for purchasing airfare. You do not have to be a student to use the website. This site only applies to international flights. VFP benefits from volunteers who book through this source. Visit StudentUniverse.com to explore flights to your destination.
When you use HUMANITIARIAN TRAVEL to book yourtrip, you'll receive more than just the discounted airfare. Our caringagents are experts in all aspects of International Travel. Our decades ofexperience have helped us develop a unique understanding of the complexitiesand challenges of travel facing humanitarian organizations and their travelers. Humanitarian Travel delivers discounted International travelto clients via access to special preferential humanitarian airfares andexclusive contracts combined with consolidated buying power.
TO FIND YOUR LOW FARE TODAY, please call 802-278-4230 or 866-429-1317, email Mark email@example.com or Fran firstname.lastname@example.org, orsimply go to www.humanitariantravel.netand fill out the travel request form.
Credit: J. Moses ~ Germany 2008
Traveling by train or bus can be an inexpensive, relaxing and flexible way to travel, and it allows you to see the country as you go. A great way to familiarize yourself with travel in your country/continent of service is to do a simple internet search for "Trains in xxxx". Below are some popular sites for booking train or bus tickets.
Helpful Memberships and Credentials
Make your travel in over 140 countries around the globe interesting, safe and meaningful by staying for a few days at a time with local home hosts who are cordial, helpful and fascinating. All travelers and hosts are approved by volunteer Servas interviewers to be dedicated to building cross cultural understanding.
Servas is the original organization devoted to promoting peace through home hospitality, growing since 1942. After you join via USServas, you may have an unlimited number of no-charge, 2-night homestays which you arrange by email or phone. When you will be traveling to and from your destination and when you are on break from your project, this is an ideal way to see and get to know other parts of your region and other areas too! Learn all about Servas and enroll through USServas.org and 707-825-1714. Get to know the world from the inside, through the lives of her peoples, with Servas!
In most countries you will get discounts on train/bus tickets and museum entry with a student ID card. Depending on your itinerary may want to use some of the cards and memberships below. All these should be obtained in the United States prior to departure.
Volunteer ID Card ~ With this card you will receive some of the recognition you deserve as well as savings made available by many organizations who want to support and reward your efforts.
The International Student Exchange Card ~ This is a student's passport to savings. By presenting the ISE Card everywhere, cardholder's will be eligible for a variety of discounts on hostels, hotels, restaurants, adventure tours, discos, museums, castles, and other exciting attractions all over the world. Additional ISE Card benefits include:
- Up to $2,000 in basic medical benefits
- Up to $5,000 in emergency evacuation
- Up to $2,000 in airline bankruptcy
Hostel Res Card ~ Choose from over 20,000 hostels, B&B's and Budget Hotels worldwide based on your preferences - all with NO Reservation Fee and immediate reservation confirmation.
Hostelling International ~ The Hostelling International membership card is all you need to access the world's largest network of budget travel accommodations as well as many member exclusive discounts and special offers. Join over 3 million members who save money and have more fun every time they travel.
International Driver's License ~ Required if you plan on driving abroad, available from your local AAA office.