Today is the big day! You’re finally ready to leave home and fly abroad for your volunteering trip!
This will undoubtedly be a day filled with mixed emotions – both for you and your family and friends – as you’re about to have an experience that few others ever will.
You should of course be feeling major excitement for the adventure you’re undertaking.
Like most other volunteers though, you (and your family) will also likely have some level of fear and anxiety. That’s perfectly normal, so don’t worry so much.
Then, as you finally settle into your seat on the plane, you should also be feeling a genuine sense of relief. After months (maybe even years!) of planning and preparation for this trip, you are literally and figuratively ready for take-off!
From a practical perspective, there are some things you need to keep in mind.
Tips for Your Departure Day:
1. Don’t leave home without these 3 things
- Your passport
- Money ($100 in cash & ATM card)
- Prescription medicine(s)
Everything else can be replaced relatively easily, such as clothes, toiletries, even electronics like cameras and cell phones.
2. Weigh your luggage
Before you leave home, weigh your luggage (including carry-on bags). Every airline has its own weight policy, so check with your airline. Assume that the airline will be very strict with luggage weight rules. If you’re luggage is overweight, expect the airline to charge you a fee.
Most airlines allow two checked bags on international flights, with a maximum weight of 50 lbs (23 kg) per bag.
Alternatively, if your bags are overweight, you can remove items from your bag until you’re under the weight limit. You can then give those items to your family – assuming they’re still at the airport to see you off after check-out. (If you’re bringing 100 lbs of luggage though, you’re bringing way too much stuff!)
3. Arrive early at the airport
Most airlines officially advise travelers to arrive at the airport at least three hours before your international flight’s departure time. However it is best to extend this to four hours, in case of unexpected traffic delays on your way to the airport. The worst-case scenario should be – you arrive 4-5 hours before your flight, leaving you with a bit more time to kill. This is much better than missing your flight of course!