Packing Tips for Global Village Team Members
Pack light! Limit your baggage to what you can carry without any help. We will be managing our own bags at airports, in and out of vans, etc.
Nondescript boring looking bags are less attractive to thieves (I know this from experience)! Therefore, put some type of identifying mark on your luggage—sewed-on patches, outrageously colored tape, but leave the designer looking bags at home. Weight limits for international flights are generally different from in-country domestic flights, so be sure to confirm with the airline or travel agent. Usually these limits are even less for safaris or if you are flying on small aircraft. Backpacks are handy for taking to the work site and shopping in town, and make good airline carry-ons. Keep all important paperwork, medication, irreplaceable items, size appropriate toiletries and at least a change of underwear in your carry-on. Seldom does a Habitat group arrive at its destination with all luggage in tow, so it’s good to be prepared if you have to wait for your bags.
You’ll need less than you think. Plan to wash some of your clothes or, depending on your location, there may be a laundry service available for a small fee. There are two types of clothing to consider for a Habitat trip: work clothes and “nice” clothes. It is important to consider the cultural norms. Women may be expected to wear long pants, long skirts or other culturally appropriate coverings. Check with your team leader to be sure.
Think about layering and remember that most of our time will be spent at the work site. Bring clothing that you don’t mind ruining with dirt, concrete, mud, etc. Consider buying clothing at your Goodwill-type store. After the build you may be able to donate any clothing you wish to leave behind, also lightening your load.
- Hat for sun and rain protection
- Lightweight raincoat or windbreaker
- Fleece, pullover or sweater
- Daily work and play clothes
- One special outfit for house dedication, church, dinner in a nice restaurant
- Undergarments, socks, PJs (you will be sharing a room!)
- Works boots for on site, comfortable shoes for when you aren’t working, sandals
- Soap, shampoo, laundry detergent (good to pack in small Ziploc bag)
- Dental care, lip balm, lotion, sunscreen
- Personal cosmetics and toiletry items (deodorant, nail clippers, feminine products, etc.)
- Tissues, toilet paper, travel size wet wipes
- Towel, facecloth
- Prescription medication (kept it in the pharmacy bottle and packed in your carry-on)
- Over-the-counter drugs (pain reliever, Pepto Bismol, motion sickness medication, etc.)
- A written copy of your prescription in case you lose the medication and need a refill
- Small first-aid supplies (We’ll have a team medical kit, but you may want to bring antiseptic, band aids, etc.)
- Insect repellent (something with DEET seems to work best)
- Antibacterial wet wipes (useful for many things)
- Prescription eyeglasses, contact lenses and solutions
- Watch (a cheap one that can double as an alarm clock, or a travel alarm clock)
- Water bottle
Paperwork and Money
- A money belt or pouch (to wear under your clothes) or small purse for carrying a few items out to dinner or while sightseeing
- Passport, airline tickets, immunization record, in-country contacts & itinerary
- A photocopy of your passport, tickets, contact info (packed in your suitcase)
- ATM, credit card and personal spending money for souvenirs, etc.
- Emergency Contact Information (also leave a copy with someone back home)
Miscellaneous Items to Consider
- Camping knife/scissors/bottle opener (pack in checked luggage)
- Earplugs for the plane or for snoring roommates
- Family photos to show and share with new friends (always a favorite!)
- Journal and writing supplies
- Reflection materials for team meetings
- Travel guides to read and share, paperbacks to read, share and leave behind
- Games, cards, puzzles (for airport and waiting time)
- Favorite snacks
- Plastic bags/old pillow case for dirty laundry, packing shoes, etc.
- Laptop, music player and headphones, phone, camera, extra batteries & charging cords
- Duct tape
- Flashlight/headlamp (extra batteries)
- Resealable plastic bags
- Voltage adapter to charge your electronics
- Solar camping shower, mosquito nets (if advised by team leader)
Specific tool lists and wish lists will be provided by host program. Check with your team leader to see what you may need or want to bring. Remember to pack these items in your check baggage.
ONE MORE BRIGHT IDEA! Consider taking clothing or hats with the logos and names of you alma mater, professional association, a civic organization you belong to, anything you would want to be photographed in so that you can promote HFHI and your GV experience with other potential participants. It’s free. It’s fun. And it builds awareness for a great cause!
GOT A LITTLE EXTRA SPACE IN YOUR LUGGAGE? Check out Pack for a Purpose, a non-profit with the mission to “positively impact communities around the world by assisting travelers who want to bring meaningful contributions to the destinations they visit.”