FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
DO I NEED TRAVEL INSURANCE?
YES - You will need full comprehensive travel medical insurance in order to participate. This includes death, helicopter transfers in emergencies and theft. You won’t be able to join us without it.
DO I NEED A TRAVEL VISA?
Australian’s do not typically require a traveller’s visa for the countries we visit. It is important that you check for yourself what is needed for you to enter the country. Folks from New Zealand do require a visa for South Africa.
In Haiti, you receive a visa on arrival. You will need $10US cash.
DO I NEED ANY VACCINES?
We highly recommend that you check with your Doctor prior to travelling to ensure all vaccines are up to date. Also do you research online to make sure vaccines are right for you.
WHAT ABOUT MALARIA?
This is a tricky subject and completely up to you on how you protect yourself against this.. Some areas of Haiti and South Africa have Malaria. Please be mindful about taking Malaria tablets as they can make you very ill. Consult your doctor and research online for what is right for you.
DO I NEED A PASSPORT?
Yes. With at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival, visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
WHAT SHOULD I PACK?
We recommend travelling light, with essentials only.
We minimise our effect on the environment by trying not to use single-use plastics. We ask everyone to bring along:
Carry bag / Canvas bag
(We also recommend using these items on your flight on the way over to reduce your waste)
Other suggested essentials:
Sunscreen and mosquito repellent
Light scarf for the back of your neck
Hat for sun protection
Closed toe shoes
Small day pack
Light clothes for working in (clothes you don’t mind getting dirty)
Towel and Essential hygiene products
**Leave any jewellery or valuables at home**
ARE THE PLACES WE TRAVEL TO SAFE?
We partner with local charities to ensure the safest experience. We mitigate risk by working closely with on local ground partners who know the communities and areas well. Every place we visit has some degree of crime as people are living in poverty. Our partners are familiar with the local areas and do what they can to assure safety. Visiting any country that has extreme poverty has its risks with theft and even food safety. We do everything we can to reduce risks for the group.
We advise everyone to be a conscious to traveller safely; act wisely by keeping valuables tucked away, earbuds out, and eyes open. If something doesn’t feel right it usually isn’t.
WHAT ARE SOME TRAVELLING SAFE TIPS?
Keep your travel plans, including accommodation details, to yourself.
Try not to travel at night.
Avoid 'seedier' areas of the cities you visit, especially at night.
Ask your hotel manager for advice on 'safe' versus 'unsafe' local areas.
As a general rule, city streets that include children and women suggest the area is safe for families.
Carry with you at all times the contact details of the Australian embassy. If your city doesn't have an Australian embassy, find out which other country's embassy is available to help you, such as the British embassy.
Keep a photocopy of your passport and all other important documents in a safe place or in your email.
Use ATMs during the day, when there are people around.
Try to rely more on credit cards and traveller's cheques than cash.
If you are mugged, don't fight back. It is better to lose a few dollars and a wristwatch than getting injured.
Avoid incidents such as fights, riots or civil disturbances at all times.
Let the group you are with know where you are at all times.
IM NOT A BUILDER IS THAT OKAY?
Yes, it sure is. We have builders that build structures of our projects and our volunteers help with the ‘easier’ tasks that don’t require skills. These trips are all about learning and growth. All you need is a big heart.
DOES THE TRIP FEE INCLUDE THE PROJECT COSTS AND FLIGHTS?
The trip fee you pay to The Conscious Traveller covers the accommodation, meals, activities and transfers. Flights and the fundraising are additional to your trip fee.
DO I HAVE TO FUNDRAISE?
This is one of the most important parts of the trip. There is nothing quite like raising money through your networks, pooling the fundraising with your group on your trip and seeing first hand what you create, the lives you change. The fundraisers you hold spreads positivity and help promote the charity’s you work closely with. We ask that you raise a minimum of $1200 to contribute. The money you and your group raise is what funds the project you work on your trip, without the fundraising there is no project. Many people raise way above $1200 and surprise themselves with their abilities. 100% of the money you raise goes directly to the project in which you are funding.
CAN THE PEOPLE THAT DONATE GET A TAX RECEIPT?
Yes – The charity partners we work with are all registered charities and can provide a tax receipt for donations over $2. For You Haiti is a registered charity in the USA so only USA residents can be provided with a tax receipt.
EXCHANGE AND SPENDING MONEY
Most of your meals are covered but bring additional spending money (We recommend $250USD, to be comfortable) for food, snacks, alcohol or local souvenirs.
Haiti – You will need $10US on arrival for the visa along with spending money. You can change your US dollars to Haitian dollars at the Haitian airport on arrival OR if you have a layover in Miami or Florida airports. Haiti does not change Australian or New Zealand dollars only US.
Changing $$ in Haiti - You will need to change your Australian dollars to US then to Haitian
Changing $$ in Florida – You can exchange Australian to Haitian
La Gonave in Haiti does not have ATMs so you will need to get out all of your spending money before you get to Haiti.
South Africa - You can exchange your Australia /USA dollars to South African on arrival or in your home country which we recommend
Note: Be aware of arrival times of where you want to exchange money. Some airports do not have 24 hr exchange services.
For example – You are travelling to Haiti through Miami airport. You land into Miami at 3 am and your flight to Haiti leaves at 6 am. Most likely the exchange booths in Miami transfer terminal will be closed. In this case, you will need to exchange for US dollars in Australia that you can exchange to Haitian in Haiti.
WHO ELSE IS COMING ON THE TRIP?
Groups vary, but typically groups are no more than 14 people (this includes the guides)
We love to keep the groups intimate.
HOW DO ENSURE SAFETY OF THE KIDS ON THE TRIP?
There is always a representative from the charity we are working with on our trips that direct the volunteers on what safety precautions to take with the kids. Our trips are only once a year to assure there is very little disturbance to the school and crèches in which we visit. We make sure that all volunteers follow the strict instructions of the charity leader and time spent with the children is during lunch breaks from school and are monitored at all times.
Volunteers are briefed by trained professionals on how to hold space for kids who have been through trauma to assure that the child feels safe. The kids health and safety is our biggest priority.
WHEN CAN I BOOK MY FLIGHT?
Wait to book your flight until you have secured your spot on the trip, reviewed the recommended arrival times for your trip, and have had all your questions answered by the team.
We do our best to accommodate all needs. We stay in hotels and BnBs that can cater to your needs. On our Haiti trips, our team cook for everyone so can also cater for your needs.
However, if you have really strict dietary restrictions such ceolic please get in contact as we can not assure that this can be accommodated. We also recommend bringing any snacks or protein bars for yourself.
ARE TIPS COVERED?
We do not cover tips for staff that help us along the way. We don’t include this on our trips as we leave it up to our travellers to choose how much they give to those who assist during our trip. We suggest you take some smaller notes and coins on your trip and give to those who you feel called to. We visit areas of extreme poverty and the smaller donation can improve someone’s life greatly.