What Not to Pack When Volunteering Abroad
If you are currently planning a volunteer trip and need idea's for what not to pack and take abroad read this guide we have put together. We will give you suggestions on how to get space in your suitcase or backpack by leaving items and clothing behind which you probably will not need. Read on for more information...
1. Book & Guidebooks
Try to avoid carrying heavy books and guidebooks, try to get a light guidebook, some weigh a ton and can make you carry a heavy backpack. When you arrive in your destination you can always buy a new book and sometimes pick them up for free in hostels and hotels. There is also the option to buy a Kindle or something similar
2. Food or Dead Animals
This might seem a silly suggestion but lots of people travel abroad and then get caught and fined at airports. Please check all country requirements for entering their borders, sometimes you can even be put in jail or not allowed entry by taking something you shouldn't into a country. Try to check your baggage for not taking any unwanted animals into the country too, very often mice and other little insects can get into your belongings and get you in trouble.
3. Oversized Bottles and Toiletries
These are not really necessary, the country you are going to is very likely to have toilet paper and so don't waste space in your bag packing lots of toilet roll, instead maybe take a few packets of tissues. Also think about how long you are going to be away for, do you really need a large bottle of shampoo or conditioner? You more than likely will only need a small or medium sized bottle and even when volunteering in South America you can find normal shops to get new items.
4. Precious or Expensive Valuables
In some countries you will be a magnet for unwanted attention by taking really expensive goods. Also if something holds sentimental value it's probably best leaving it at home as if you lose it this could ruin your experience, we only want you to create happy travel memories so even the little things matter.
5. Anything for Anyone Else
This is quite a serious suggestion but don't carry anything for anyone else, especially someone you don't know. Sometimes when going to travel or volunteer in Asia you might be put in a situation where someone wants you to carry drugs or something illegal in your belongs and if you get caught ignorance is not a good answer. You can be given the death penalty in the worst case and this happens every year to tourists in places like Malaysia and Indonesia. Also someone offering you great riches for carrying goods through borders might sound appealing but these are the types of people you want to avoid, always seek help if this happens.
6. Too Many Clothes
Try not to take too many clothes or a large towel, these will take up a lot of room which can be used for other things. Clothing can be brought around the world and in a lot of countries its a lot cheaper, also if you are going to a hot or warm country you might end up wearing flip flops every day and so 10 pairs of shoes its really not ideal to be carrying around. Check the weather before departing and you might find the large coat you were planning on taking won't be needed. A large towel when wet also starts to smell bad, buy a smaller travel towel instead.
7. Party Poppers
Fireworks and party poppers, this might sound a pretty obvious suggestion but if you are travelling and going to an event or party do not take these in your luggage. Lots of people do and end up have problems, there are lots of reasons for this including if they go off and start a fire.
8. Alcohol or Glass Bottles
If these break in your luggage everything could get ruined! Try to put all liquids in plastic bottles and then wrapping these in plastic bags and taping the caps to make sure nothing leaks.
9. Large Laptop
If you are planning on taking a laptop or computer, do you really need a large one which is really heavy? You might be best to spend a little bit of money and buy a tablet, notebook or ultrabook computer. There are lots of cheap options available we recommend the Google PC tablets or Acer Aspire computers both of which are cheap so even if they break or get stolen you won't be too disappointed.
Hopefully this has given you some ideas for things you might not need to take travelling. Visit our volunteer abroad directory for a full list of articles and recommendations.