Every participant is required to have their own international travel medical insurance. Though Converge does not purchase the insurance for participants, insurance may be provided by the host organization. Check with the host. If the host organization does not provide insurance, the participant is expected to obtain international medical insurance prior to departure.
We subscribe to the Volunteer Card, an insurance provider for travel. This link will allow you to be auto-approved and automatically associated with YWAM Converge. Sign up, pay, and have your Volunteer Card mailed directly to you. For more information, visit the Volunteer Card site.
US Dept of State
This site is designed for American citizens traveling abroad. However, this information is also useful for travelers from many nations. At this link, you will find information about:
- Preparation for Travel
- U.S. Visas
- Applying for U.S. Passports
- Emergency Assistance for U.S. Travelers
- Tips for Studying/Traveling Abroad
- Travel Warnings
Center for Disease Control
The Center for Disease Control maintains a website of current worldwide immunization recommendations (www.cdc.gov).
Before you go out, ask your Host and other locals what areas are safe and which aren’t.
Check the Medical Situation
Ask your host if they recommend certain vaccinations or medical supplies to carry before you travel. Speak with your doctor about any personal medical concerns that need to be addressed before you travel. Some medications (like malaria pills) will need to be taken weeks and sometimes months in advance.
If you’re traveling alone, get a cell phone and know your emergency phone numbers. As well, check for relevant apps such as the State Department one that lists embassy phone numbers and addresses. Have regular check-in times with family and with your Mentor. Post regularly on your blog so that family and friends can keep up with your experiences. This is also a good safety measure in case something happens they’ll know ASAP.
If you’re sick, don’t waste time wondering how bad it is. If you’re not sure, call home or go to a doctor! To stay healthy, avoid questionable food and drink. In questionable situations, if you can’t boil it, cook it, or peel it, don’t eat it.
Driving & Motorcycles
We do not recommend that you drive when traveling abroad, but if you do make sure you have proper training, licensing, and insurance. We strongly recommend that you NOT ride on motorcycles. Did you know that volunteers with the Peace Corps get sent home even if they suspect you rode a motorcycle? Yes! They’re that dangerous!
Alcohol & Drugs
Did you know there’s almost a 90% correlation with alcohol and rape? Drinking alcohol may be acceptable as a social activity in some countries, however, we strongly recommend against it. And did you know that marijuana, in some countries, can carry a death sentence?
- Know your Embassy’s phone numbers.
- Visit the State Department website for any travel warnings, and WATCH THE NEWS.
- Visit the State Department website to see what areas you need a visa for and which ones you can get ‘on arrival.’ Every country you travel to will have an immigration department, and without adequate preparation, you may not even be able to enter the country!
- Register with the State Department’s Smart Travelers Enrollment Program.
- Scan your passport, email a copy to yourself, and save it on your Google or another cloud drive. This is just in case yours gets lost, stolen, or a sunk to the bottom of the Amazon… in this way you have a digital copy so that you can more easily prove you are who you say you are to the embassy when you’re trying to get a new one.
- If you lose your passport, contact the embassy immediately – delaying this call will only mean a delay in getting a new one as they now have to check to see if your passport has been used illegally and thus taking more time for them… and more time for you!
- Let us know if you have any other essential travel safety tips to know before you go!