International Volunteering and Gap Year Placements for 17 - 25 year olds
Lattitude Placement Packing Tips
Posted on the 28th June 2017
Packing for your Lattitude volunteering trip is both exciting and scary. You want to bring all of your gadgets and beauty products but also feel that you need to bring the bare minimum and all waterproof, neutral clothing. Don’t do either! A balance is vital and your packing needs will be different to everyone else’s and your usual trips abroad as you will likely be going somewhere halfway across the World and you will need completely different things to the next volunteer. Here are some top packing tips to help you prepare and make the whole experience easier:
1. Before you do anything else- research your country! You need to consider the weather at the time you are visiting. Will you need layers, a thick jumper or a rain mac? Even in hot climates like Vietnam, monsoon season means you’re going to need a durable raincoat. You must also consider their culture and whether your clothes are appropriate. As a rule of thumb, always pack on the modest side e.g. Tops that cover your shoulders, knee length skirts and long trousers.
2. Bring suitable luggage. A heavy, wheeled suitcase and rural cobbled streets or dirt tracks do not mix well. Think about bringing a hiking rucksack as they’re easily transportable and it doesn’t matter if they get muddy, wet or thrown around a bit. You should also consider bringing a smaller rucksack or bum bag if you are going on a day trip somewhere which has a sturdy zip so to avoid the risk of being pick-pocketed.
3. Carry-on bags should have emergency provisions. If for some unfortunate reason your main bag cannot travel with you immediately, your carry on should be sufficient for you to survive for a few days. Therefore, ensure you have a change of clothes, less than 100 ml toiletries bottles, some money, a snack and water. Most importantly make sure you have all the necessary documentation with you: your passport, travel details and accommodation details.
4. Only pack what is necessary! Most destinations will have a local shop where you can buy toiletries and snacks so try not to fill your bag with big shampoo bottles and ten of your favourite chocolate bars. If you know that bedding isn’t provided, think about investing in a good quality, lightweight and compact sleeping bag maybe with a mosquito net if you’re heading somewhere malaria prone such as our placements in Malawi.
5. Pack layers and convertible clothing. Wherever you are off to, layers will come in handy for both weather and modesty reasons. Trousers that turn into shorts and jackets with zip-out linings will be your best friend in ever-changing climates and environments!
6. Roll your clothes and put them in other items. Rolling makes more room so you can pack more and it also makes it easier to identify clothes when you need them without having to tip out your whole bag. Additionally, why not put a pair of shoes in a shower cap or a rolled up t-shirt in a drinks flask?
7. Smartphones are a great alternative to loads of items but only if you have internet access, electricity and an adapter! Without these three things, your iPhone is not going to be of much use for longer than its current battery life. However, if you are lucky enough to be able to use your phone it can replace a map, a camera, a torch and a language translator. Also investigate whether or not you need a new SIM card or need to contact your provider so that you can use your allowances abroad.
Of course this is only a guide but plan ahead, pack smart and enjoy your Lattitude experience!
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