Safety is always a concern when traveling and living in third world countries. Conditions in the developing world may result in circumstances beyond the control of Family Humanitarian.
Family Humanitarian has been operating successfully in each of our expedition countries for several years and is familiar with the areas to which we will be traveling. Be assured that your safety and security are a priority. In addition to following any instructions your expedition leader gives you, you should remember to avoid walking, traveling, or being out after dark in urban or rural areas. If travel is necessary, do not go alone. Also, when in city areas, be sure to keep a very close watch on all of your belongings. It is recommended that expedition participants protect themselves from being targeted by thieves by not packing or wearing nice jewelry or expensive-looking watches.
You will need a passport that is valid for at least 6 months after returning from your expedition.
If you’ve never traveled to a developing country before, the contrasts between what you may be accustomed to and what you will experience may be substantial. The expeditions are conducted in rural villages; expeditions are not tourist vacations. You should be physically and mentally prepared to face frustrating and disquieting circumstances while traveling, working, and living in impoverished, primitive areas. Village access is often along bumpy roads and sometimes requires a short hike. While permanent bathroom facilities and/or heating may or may not be available, bathrooms with basic facilities will be.
Sleeping arrangements will likely involve sleeping on the floor of a rustic building or sleeping in a modest/rustic hotel. As a rule, conditions are modest and the food is simple but plentiful.
Water in developing countries is not safe to drink unless it has been purified. Bottled water is usually available in cities, and hotels often purify their entire water systems, but it is always important to ask before drinking or brushing your teeth. Do not brush your teeth from a tap unless you have verified that the water is purified. Also make sure that any ice served to you has been purified.
The in-country director will make sure that there is plenty of safe water available for you in the villages. The people cooking for the expedition adhere to strict sanitary standards.
Expedition participants are free to organize their own pre- or post-trip travel, but they must attend orientation the first day of the expedition and depart from the village the final day of the expedition.
We recommend that all participants be at least 8 years of age or older, but it is not strictly enforced if you have a child that travels well.
In order to make expeditions available to as many as possible, Family Humanitarian strives to keep the expedition costs as low as possible. Expedition fees are used to directly support the expedition projects as well as in-country expenses for each participant including ground transportation, food, lodging, and security. Approximately half of the fee goes toward personal expenses and the remaining half goes toward expedition projects.
Family Humanitarian has a strict no-gifting policy. While select items may be donated to the community at large (to be cleared through Family Humanitarian), individiual gifts of food, candy, toys, clothing, etc. are strongly discouraged. Items that foster interactive experiences such as bubbles, nail polish, and sports equipment are encouraged. These items should not be given to individuals.
Interpreters will be available in Guatemala where necessary to facilitate communication between expedition participants and the individuals with whom we will be working. Familiarizing yourself with simple Spanish and Q’eqchi phrases prior to the expedition is encouraged.
A passport is required for travel to Guatemala. Please make sure the expiration is at least 6 months after the date of your arrival home from Guatemala.
No VISA is required for travel to Guatemala. Immigration will stamp your passport upon arrival.
No special vaccinations are required for travel to Guatemala. We do recommend, however, that you make sure your routine vaccinations are up to date. Additionally, we encourage you to check the CDC recommended vaccinations for this area and determine which of those you would like to pursue.
Sleeping accommodations will typically be on the cement floor of a school or municipal building in sleeping bags on air mattresses. You are also welcome to bring a tent to set up indoors for privacy. Electricity, running water, showers, and flushing toilets will generally be available. Occasionally, there may be situations where camping overnight is an option, but we will make you aware of these situations prior to the expedition. Food is good and plentiful and cooked to US standards. A typical breakfast includes pancakes or scrambled eggs, fruit, and toast or tortillas and lunches and dinners typically consist of chicken, rice, beans, tortillas, and fruit.
Wi-fi will be available at the Hotel in Guatemala City. In the villages, internet service and cell-phone reception is limited, but there are two internet cafes in Senahu. Please check with your cell phone carrier for information on international talk, text, and data plans.
It is anticipated that electricity will be available where you will be sleeping, however, it never hurts to bring a power strip and/or power bank as outlets are limited. No outlet adapters are necessary as they use the same plugs found in the United States.
English is widely spoken in Uganda. In addition to English, there are many different tribal languages that are commonly spoken in the villages. We will have translators available to facilitate any necessary communication while working in these villages.
All expeditioners will need a passport for travel to Uganda. Please make sure that the expiration date is at least 6 months after the date of your return from Uganda.
A VISA is required for travel to Uganda through a simple online process that can be obtained fairly quickly. The cost of a single-entry VISA to Uganda is $60 or, if you will also be traveling to Kenya either as part of the expedition or on your own, you can apply for an East Africa Tourist VISA that will permit you to enter both Uganda and Kenya for $100. These costs are not included in your expedition fee and are your responsibility. Complete instructions will be provided after registration.
The yellow fever vaccination is required to enter Uganda and proof will be required to obtain your VISA. We also recommend that you are current on all of your routine vaccinations. Additionally, please check the CDC recommendations for travel to this area to determine any additional vaccinations you might desire. Please also be aware that it will be necessary to also obtain a prescription for an antibiotic to prevent contracting malaria. Fees for obtaining vaccinations and antibiotics are not included in your expedition fee and are your responsibility.
Accommodations in Entebbe will be in a moderate hotel. Rustic mostel/guest house accomodations without air conditioning can be anticipated in the village with electricity, running water, showers, and flushing toilets. Food will be good and plentiful at the guest house and may be basic during the day while working in the villages.
Wi-fi can be expected at the Hotel the first night in Entebbe and limited wi-fi may also be available at the guest house. We recommend either purchasing a SIM card in Uganda for use in your phone or checking with your cell phone carrier to see what options are available for international talk, text, and data.
Electricity will generally be available, however, both the guest house and the Safari camp sometimes turn the electricity off for several hours at a time during the night. For this reason, it can be helpful to also bring a power bank. Please also note that you will need to bring an outlet adapter with you so that you can plug your devices into the outlets provided. Depending on what you are trying to plug in, you may also need a converter to convert the wattage. For hair dryers and curling irons, you will need to purchase dual voltage appliances for use in Uganda with an outlet adapter.