Traveling to a foreign destination requires a lot of preparations. If you are planning to travel to India for a volunteering trip and you think that your work ends as you book your project, then you are wrong! To avoid last minute rush, you should start preparing as early as possible.
The right preparations will help you create better stories during your volunteering journey and here are a few tips that’ll help you to sort things before you finally set out.
It is essential to know about the country you’re traveling to before you arrive there. Try to know a little bit about the social and political scenario, the modes of transportation, basics of the local language like “namaste”, “sukriya” etc. Google will help you a lot in this case, but you can watch some Bollywood movies and read some books to gain a better knowledge.
Don’t procrastinate. Booking your flight tickets well in advance will be beneficial for your pockets, as the prices might soar up later. To get amazing flight deals with the best airlines, you can try booking your air tickets with Skyscanner. The case is similar when it comes to getting a VISA. Make sure you apply in time and have all your documents handy so that when you are applying. You can apply for an E-Visa to India on the government website, but it's easier and quicker to use a company like iVisa.
Make a list of things that you need to pack for your trip to India. Don’t overload your luggage with unnecessary things. Most of the things will be available in India, and thus traveling light should be your mantra. Do a proper research about how the weather conditions will be like during your trip, and pack your clothes accordingly. Taking a volunteer trip would be a little different from any other regular holiday - make sure not to forget all that is essential.
Don’t leave this for last minute. Consult your doctor about 6 – 8 weeks before traveling because some of the vaccinations require a course of treatment spanning several weeks. The NHS Fit for Travel website has good information about recommended vaccinations as well as health and safety tips for India. The weather conditions, food habit, atmosphere and everything else in India would be absolutely different from that of your country and therefore it is advised to take all required vaccinations.
While volunteering, you will have your weekdays packed with work. Therefore, try to use your weekends effectively so that you can explore as much as possible, and cover all the places that you wish to see in India. Make an itinerary of the places you want to cover during your weekends, and also find things to do in your volunteering city which you can cover during the weekday evenings.India is a vast country with so much to see that one trip is absolutely not enough! But try to make the most of your stay in India, and explore as much as possible.
The most important task is to prepare yourself mentally for your journey. Indian culture is unique and you have to adapt while volunteering with the locals. The food in India has a rich blend of spices and your taste buds might get tickled tasting them. You’ll find too many people on the streets, and they might just stare at you - don’t be surprised if that happens! There would be stray dogs and cows moving freely on the roads, too many vehicles honking, and people might even ask you for a selfie! And above everything, you’ll get to feel the love and warmth of the Indians as they’ll always greet you with a smile.
Volunteering in India would be one of the best experiences of your life and I can assure that you’ll feel like returning back again. So gear up and start your preparations as soon as you plan a trip and make sure that you book your volunteering project with a good organization that’ll provide you ample guidance and facilities in the country along with proper work opportunities.