Communication

All information you send electronically—by computer, phone call or text can be intercepted. Wireless devices are especially vulnerable. Please click Communication to familiarize yourself with LIFE International’s Risk Categories, Communication Protocols and Social Media Guidelines.

Medical Preparation

Immunizations are not always optional; some countries require proof of immunization for entry, so you must carry the record of your immunization with you. Recommendations for vaccinations are individualized based on destination and the traveler's age, medical history, and past immunizations.  You can visit www.cdc.gov for standardized recommendations. LIFE International advises you contact your local health department or personal physician to determine the best course of action regarding immunizations.  Do this well in advance of the trip, as some courses of immunization can take a month or more.

When traveling to an area with risk of malaria, use anti-malarial prescription medication and carry 30% DEET insect repellent as a further precaution.

Prescriptions need to be in original containers indicating the name of the person they are prescribed to, drug name and dosage.  We also advise carrying antacid, anti-diarrheal medicine, mild laxative, anti-motion sickness medicine and antihistamines.

The Team Leader on the trip will be carrying a basic medical kit.

You must submit a Emergency and Liability Release before your trip.

Insurance Coverage

Travel insurance plans offer coverage for trip cancellation, travel interruptions and delays, emergency medical expenses, lost luggage and more. You must have a policy that covers emergency medical evacuation. Unless you make other arrangements, LIFE International will issue you the Premium Individual plan from International Volunteer Card: www.volunteercard.com/purchase.

Security

LIFE International has a Crisis Management Policy in place to deal with any unforeseen circumstances. You will receive a form with relevant contact information for you and for your family in the event of an emergency—at home or abroad. Staff will be available by phone and email to share the most up-to-date information.

Sanitation

Typically, overseas countries have a lengthy history and/or poor infrastructure; accordingly their buildings, streets and plumbing are often inadequate. The most common surprise to Westerners is the disposal of toilet paper in bathrooms. Due to inadequate plumbing, toilet paper cannot be flushed through the septic system, as this would cause a backup in the system. In this case a wastebasket is always provided for proper disposal.

Public restrooms are not always readily available. When traveling it would be wise to determine the length of time you will be in a vehicle and how often public restrooms will be available. Carry toilet paper with you as it may not be provided in public restrooms.

If you find yourself unable to communicate with standard American terms, it is appropriate to use the term “toilet” or “water closet”. Although it might sound offensive to us to use the term “toilet”, words like restroom and bathroom do not easily translate. First-time travelers can find this very distressing, and learning to accommodate and look past this reality often proves to be a challenge.

Accommodations can vary greatly, from primitive (albeit adequate) mission-run lodging with “bucket” baths to comfortable hotels. However, LIFE International’s hosts do their best to insure that your accommodations will be adequate, clean and safe. 

Food & Drink:

  • Drink bottled water only.
  • Bring protein bars to accommodate unusual meal schedules.
  • Do not eat fresh fruit unless it has a skin which can be removed (i.e. bananas, oranges).
  • Do not eat fresh vegetables such as lettuce unless you know they have been washed with bottled water.
  • Most cooked foods are fine.