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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

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Packing List for International Travelers

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packing list for international travelers

The definitive Worker Bee Tours packing list for international travelers. Whether this is your first trip abroad or simply the latest in a long line of happy experiences, it is always useful to keep a packing list handy to make sure you don’t leave any important items behind.

Important Documents to Bring with You

Passport and/or National ID Card
Medical Insurance Card
Credit and/or Debit Cards
Frequent Flyer Card and other Affinity Cards
Travel Itinerary and Transportation Tickets
Travel Insurance Information
Emergency Contact List
Important Addresses
Xerox Copy of Passport and/or National ID Card

Saving a soft copy of these documents to the cloud or on your personal electronic device is also recommended to make recovery easier in case of loss.

Currency

Be sure to bring enough cash to meet your needs while traveling and for the first day at your destination. US Dollars, Euros, and British Pounds are all good options if the local currency of your destination country is not easily available. We recommend you carry cash equivalent to at least $100 US on your person, which can be exchanged when necessary.

Items to Pack in your Carry-On Bag

Choose a bag that is comfortable to carry and fits within the size and weight restrictions imposed by the airline(s) you will fly. Be sure to have a shoulder strap and, if possible, wheels for ease of movement.

The following is a comprehensive list of items to include in your carry-on bag. You may not want to bring all of them, since you actually do have to carry the bag around. Consider your personal situation and choose the things you will want while traveling or do not want to risk losing if your baggage should be lost or delayed.

Important Documents: (see list above)
Essential Toiletries: (small sizes in keeping with international travel restrictions)
Shampoo / Shower Gel / Soap
Toothbrush
Toothpaste
Comb or Brush
Others by personal preference

Please remember that your carry-on toiletries need to meet the TSA’s 3-1-1 rule: Liquids, gels, pastes, creams, aerosols are limited to containers of 3.4 ounces (100 ml) or less, all packed together in a single clear quart sized zip lock bag.

Technology:
Mobile device and charger
Headphones (consider noise reducing headphones if sensitive to sound)
Camera and charger
Electrical converters and adapters (check standards for your destination country)
Travel Comfort, Entertainment and Information:
Travel pillow
Eye mask
Ear plugs
Books and magazines
Games
Guidebooks, travel guides, maps, phrase book
Travel journal and pen
Health and Beauty Items:
Glasses and case
Contact lenses and supplies
Prescription drugs (in original packaging)
Hand sanitizer or wet wipes
Make-up as needed

Main Baggage

Most of your belongings will be packed in your main bag. Be sure to choose something that is lightweight, versatile, and big enough for everything you need. Generally speaking airline checked baggage is limited to 50 lbs (23 kg) per piece, so you do not need to think about luggage bigger than that for your trip.

Lightweight, soft sided luggage that can be either rolled or carried is ideal for action oriented travel. There are many backpack and duffel bag style options available which fit this bill nicely.

Organize your belongings:

Try to keep your belongings organized for easy access and use. Especially for trips that involve different kinds of activities, it is useful to keep the different clothing and equipment separate in smaller parcels that can be pulled out of your bag individually as needed. You might consider investing in lightweight packing organizers or compression sacks for this purpose.

Clothing Basics For Every Trip:

Lightweight clothing that can be layered is the way to go for maximum utility and convenience. Include clothes that can be worn during the day and perhaps dressed up for evenings by mix and match or with accessories.

Shirts
Pants and/or shorts
Socks
Sweater or Fleece
Rain jacket
T-shirts
Skirts and/or Dresses
Belt
Pajamas/sleepwear
Underwear
A swimsuit or swim trunks
Sunglasses
Comfortable walking shoes
Athletic Shoes (essential for sports camps)
Work Boots or other sturdy shoes (essential for service projects)

Pack your Toiletry Bag

When it comes to toiletries, everyone is unique. At Worker Bee Tours we make sure that basic toiletries (soap and shampoo) are provided, but you may want to carry your favorite brands with you. There are retail pharmacies in all of our project locations, though product assortments do differ country to country.

Toiletry Bag Basics:

Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, mouthwash
Hair brush or comb, hair ties, barrettes/bobby pins
Deodorant
Shampoo and conditioner
Sunscreen
Make up
Face wash and/or makeup remover wipes
Moisturizer
Skin Lotion
Lip balm
Personal hygiene items
Feminine hygiene products
Extra contacts, solution, and case

Toiletry Bag Extras:

Cologne/perfume
Hair products
Clothesline and detergent
Shaving kit and extra razors
Sewing kit/clothing care kit
Facial tissues
Scissors, nail clippers, and tweezers (must be in checked luggage)
Mirror

Travel Health

Depending on your personal needs, you may want to include some of the items on this list for personal use. If you are traveling in a group, it is sufficient for the group leader to organize one shared first aid kit that would include most of these items.

First Aid Kit Contents:

First aid dressings (bandages, gauze, adhesives, etc.)
Personal prescriptions (copies of scripts)
Pain and fever relievers (also children’s strength if you are traveling with kids)
Thermometer
Cold medicines and throat lozenges
Diarrhea/laxative medicines
Allergy medicines
Hydrocortisone cream/antibacterial ointment
Multivitamins
Sunburn relief
Insect repellent/mosquito net/sting reliever
Motion sickness pills or bands
Eye drops
Moleskin
Medicines and vaccinations specific to the region/activity

Pack a Day Bag

A lightweight, versatile day bag can be used in a variety of ways and help you stay comfortable and prepared. Most people simply use their carry-on bag, but you may want something a little bit more specialized, like a messenger bag, bum bag (fanny pack) or small backpack for carrying just your daily essentials.

Have Questions About This Packing List for International Travelers?

If you have any questions about this packing list for international travelers, please contact us before you leave so we can help you sort them out. It is always better to be safe than sorry, so do contact us with whatever questions you may have. It is our pleasure to serve you.

Travel Preparation Tips: Think Ahead

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travel preparation

There’s no greater disappointment while traveling than experiencing a problem that could have easily been avoided with just a little bit of advance planning. To that end, we have assembled a list of safety tips for international travelers to help you avoid the most obvious irritations you are likely to encounter while traveling abroad.

Organize Your Documents

Of all our travel preparation tips, this section is the most important. You will need your travel document, either your passport or national ID card, everywhere you go. Lost or stolen documents are a tremendous headache, and the administrative work to get new ones will certainly interfere with your project participation. Please treat your identification and travel documents like the treasures they are.

Apply Early for a Passport, or Renew your Old One: Your passport should be valid for at least six months after you return home, and needs to have two or more blank pages. Otherwise, some countries may not let you enter.

Make a Color Photocopy of your Passport: Carry it with you, in a separate bag from the one in which you keep your passport.
Make Electronic Copies of your Documents: You’ll be carrying important documentation with you when traveling abroad. Create an electronic backup of your passport, visas, travel itinerary, medical insurance card and travel insurance before you leave home, and know how to reach them while you are traveling. Email the file to yourself and keep it in your inbox so you can access the information from your smartphone should the paperwork be lost or damaged.  Leave one copy with a trusted friend or relative at home.

Money Matters

Look Up the Currency Exchange Rates Before You Go: You don’t want to be caught with too little money, or too much, so check the current exchange rates before you leave and plan how much local currency you want get. Sometimes you can order foreign currencies through your local bank. Alternatively, you could bring an ATM card and withdraw money as you need it or bring cash and convert it at a currency exchange.
Secure your Credit Cards: Make a list of your credit card numbers and the telephone numbers needed to cancel them (but not the security number and/or expiration date) and carry it with you in a separate location from where you keep your cards. While some people advise making photocopies of the front & back of your card, if these get mislaid or stolen the thief can use the details to order online. You can keep a soft copy of your list on your portable computer or in the cloud, as long as you know how to access it should the need arise.
Notify your Bank: You should let your credit card company and bank know that you will be overseas – and ideally where you’ll be. Banks monitor suspected fraudulent use and will block a card if they suspect it. While it often takes just a phone call to reactivate your card, it’s more efficient, and less embarrassing, to let them know your travel plans in advance.
Use Banks or ATMs: Airport change bureaus tend to be huge rip-offs. You won’t get charged as many fees through an ATM or the bank, and the conversion rates tend to be better than at the airport. Change Bureaus on the city streets may or may not be trustworthy, so ask your Worker Bee Tours project leader for help before making a decision which one to use.
Cash or Credit: Always have enough local cash on your person to meet your immediate expenses. Not all establishments accept credit or debit cards. Even when they do, sometimes the computer systems encounter problems and your card may be declined. this happens more often than you might expect when using cards issued abroad.

Pack Smart

Don’t Bring More than You can Carry: Heavy bags and multiple pieces of luggage create difficulties when you are on the move. The more often you have to stop and rest, put things down, or shift your load, the more likely you are to leave something behind.
Carry your Belongings in Closed Bags: Keep your belongings safe by carrying them inside a closed bag or purse. Open top bags and loose hanging items are a temptation for people around you. It is also easy to lose items that fall out of an open bag while moving around or when rummaging for that guidebook you just have to look at right away.
Look Back When Leaving: People leave personal items behind all the time when they’re ready to move on to their next destination. Look back at where you were sitting as you’re leaving just to make certain you didn’t forget your purse, shopping bags, or any other items you might have had out while sitting down.

Mind Your Luggage

Even if it’s not worth much, it’s all you’ve got on your trip, and what seems of little value to you may be exceptionally tempting and valuable to people in the countries you visit. Keeping your luggage safe means securing it in every way possible, to prevent and deter anyone from tampering with or stealing your belongings.

At the Airport, Watch for your Suitcase as it Appears on the Carousel: Step right up and claim your bag as quickly as you can. Don’t hang back and wait for the crowds to disperse, or you might find that someone else has already taken your bag and made off with it. Many bags look similar, or even identical, and taking the wrong bag is a common mistake for tired travelers at the end of a long flight.
Always Have a Lock for your Luggage: Unlocked luggage is easily rifled. TSA-approved padlocks help to deter property loss due to luggage tampering and ensure that airport security can inspect your bags without having to cut the locks off, which would leave your belongings unprotected.
Pack an Extra Set of Clothes in your Carry-on Bag: Most people don’t think to do this, because they want to assume that everything will go smoothly and all of their bags will arrive on time. Baggage delays are very common on international flights, and you could easily find yourself without access to your things for up to a day or two simply as a result of close connections.
To Check Bag or Not to Check Bag: Each airline has its own set of rules regarding how many bags can be checked or carried on for free. Make sure to look up your airline’s regulations to avoid any incremental fees or, even worse, a refusal to accept your luggage. Consider traveling light, which has the additional benefit of making it easy to keep track of your things!

Beware of Thieves

Don’t Let Them Distract You: Packs of young people making a commotion around you may look like they are just goofing around, but such groups are often organized gangs of thieves working hard to steal your belongings. Don’t let yourself be distracted. If you find yourself surrounded, move away to a clear area or clasp your bags tightly until the crowd has passed.
Don’t Carry Anything in your Back Pocket: Speaking of theft, pick pocketing is common in many areas around the world, and yes, pickpockets have been known to target tourists. Do not keep anything in your back pockets, including your wallet, passport, your hotel room keys… anything! Bulging back pockets make you an easy target for pickpockets who are so slick you’ll never know what happened.
Keep Personal Items to your Front: You might be tempted to Carry a bag over your shoulder or hang a purse on the back of your chair at a sidewalk cafe. Keep your bags in front of you whenever possible. When seated, keep your purse in your lap or at your feet under the table, with the straps wrapped around your leg to prevent fast moving passersby from lifting it right out from under your nose.
Leave the “Bling” at Home: It might be tempting to wear your favorite jewelry throughout your trip, but in the interest of safety please leave expensive jewelry home. Flashy accessories are like bright neon signs shouting “mug me,” so be boring and stay safe instead.
Avoid Strangers: By all means be friendly, but in a distant, impersonal way. Do not share personal information or details about your stay with strangers or people you have just met. Don’t talk to strangers who don’t look trustworthy, do not accept food or drink from them, and definitely do not go somewhere with them unless they are your licensed tour guide and you’re on your booked tour.

About Electronics

Bring a Charger Adapter: International electrical outlets use different shape plugs and voltages. Make sure you have the right adapters for all of the countries in your itinerary.
Check the Voltage of your Electronics: From my own experience I know that nothing is worse than having an adapter and still not being able to use a blow-dryer or a straightener because the voltage isn’t high enough for that country.
Activate your Phone’s Global Capabilities: There’s usually a charge for doing this, but it is much less than the roaming charges you’ll get if you don’t.

Have Questions About These Safety Tips for International Travelers?

If you have any questions about these safety tips for international travelers, please contact us before you leave so we can help you sort it out. It is always better to be safe than sorry, so do contact us with whatever questions you have. It is our pleasure to serve you.

 

Rockin’ English Ofrinio Beach 2015

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rockin english ofrinio beach 2015 volunteers

We worked together with a local English school to put on a Rockin’ English weeklong camp in Ofrinio Beach, Greece. We used the Rockin’ English Beatlemania curriculum, a five day program using songs from the Beatles animated film Yellow Submarine to encourage kids to learn new words and practice their conversational English.

Five Days of Fun and Games

Rockin' English Beatlemania songEach day we taught the kids a new Beatles song, then played a game to reinforce the language lesson.

 

See the Rockin’ English Ofrinio Beach 2015 Brag Book:

 

World Impact Greece 2014

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A service project for high school students primarily from Wheaton,  Illinois, with a handful of volunteers from Bulgaria as well. World Impact Greece 2014 combined construction of a playground in an underdeveloped part of the municipality by day with informal sports in the local community each evening.

A Tradition of Service Around the World

Most of the high schoolers came from College Church in Wheaton, Illinois, which has a long history of sending high school groups to take part in projects around the world. In this case they came to help us do something lasting in the community that would open doors for us to develop a long term presence in the Pangaio Municipality.

An Angel in the Neighborhood

As soon as we arrived at the work site a curious resident who lived right across from the empty park came by to ask us what we were doing. It turned out Yorgos was a retired contractor, and he jumped in right away with help, advice, and tools to make the work go faster and better. He really improved our construction technique, giving it a level of professionalism that would make any builder proud.

A Playground for Tuzla

The most obvious product of this service project was the playground built in Tuzla, a section of the municipality where there was land earmarked for a park, but no money available to actually develop anything on the spot. So for years it just sat empty. When we started talking with the municipality about sending a group this year, the Assistant Mayor suggested this location and we agreed that it was a good place to get something done.

The playground attracted attention from the first day we started work, with neighbors coming out see what was up and beachcombers stopping to watch the playground take shape. As the posts went in and the crossbeams gave the structure shape, the whole thing stood out against the bare landscape. An excellent paint job by the team applied the final touch and the completed playground was beautiful in its setting against the sand and sea.

Making Friends Through Sports

After dinner each evening the team went out to the downtown area of Ofrinio Beach, where there was a basketball court and a football pitch. The temperature cools off in the evening, and kids come out to play. Some of the team played basketball, some football, and others tossed frisbees around. A couple of American teens taught Greek teens to throw an American football. Some got the hang of it and showed off great spiral technique!

A few of the regulars from the local crowd really welcomed the American and Bulgarian teens. By the end of the week they developed friendships that seemed destined to carry on via social networking.

See the Brag Book from World Impact Greece 2014:

Peshtera Summer 2016 Community Service Project

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Peshtera Summer 2016 group shot

The Peshtera Summer 2016 service project contributed improvements to a local kindergarten including benches, tables, and a new mural to decorate an old wall in the schoolyard. In addition to the physical improvements, the volunteer team organized English lessons and crafts for kids while the outdoor work was underway.

Peshtera Summer 2016 Opens Up a New Partnership

This was our first summer working at the “Iglika”kindergarten in Peshtera. Iglika is the Bulgarian word for primrose. We met the director of the kindergarten at a previous event at the nearby Patriarch Evtimii School, where we have been working for a couple of years. She was able to observe our work, hear from us and the Bulgarian staff of the other school, and then make a determination whether they wanted to work with an organization like us. From our earliest conversations it became apparent that we shared a desire to improve the learning environment and possibilities for kids, and a partnership was born.

Planning the Work for Peshtera Summer 2016

Every new location raises a long list of potential projects to impact the community or institution where we plan to work. It is always challenging to work through the possibilities to find just the right mix of activities to make the overall project a success. Some of the toughest parts of our job are making the decisions related to specific works to be completed, and the order in which things can or should be done.

It is important that the scope of work match the resources available for each project. In this case, we chose a limited number of construction projects, installing tables and benches, along with painting a mural on an unused wall in the schoolyard. This proved to be an excellent work list, providing useful practical improvements as as well as aesthetic enhancement for the school. It also gave us a good variety of work for volunteers with different interests. Those who enjoyed manual labor found ample opportunity digging, sawing, constructing and installing the furniture. The more artistic members of the group had a literal blank slate on which to create a work of art.

A Work of Art to Brighten the Schoolyard

A blank cement wall became the canvas for an art project. It was an l shaped structure, about one meter high, maybe a bit taller, and about 4 meters long. We weren’t really sure why the wall was there, but it sat in the middle of the school yard, bare and gray. Speculation about why it might have been built yielded no answers, but surely there was a reason it was put there in the first place.

In just a few short days, our amazing creative team transformed the former eyesore into a beautiful work of art. Instead of a dull, cracked surface, the completed mural portrayed a scene bursting with life, motion and color, taking in sky and trees and mountains and animals, perfect for brightening up a schoolyard environment. We were very proud of what the team was able to achieve.

Looking Ahead to the Future

This year’s project was just the first step in the work we hope to do at the Iglika Kindergarten. There are outdoor shelters, sandboxes, and other schoolyard amenities which need to be repaired or improved. We will also work with the PINK Foundation to help them establish a branch of the PINK Program at the kindergarten, investing in better opportunities for children and families in that community.

See the brag book from Peshtera Summer 2016:

Visa Regulations by Country

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visa passport

Visa Regulations by Country

Visa Regulations for Bulgaria

For all other passport countries, please check for visa requirements on the website of the Republic of Bulgaria Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Visa Regulations for Greece

For all other passport countries, please check for visa requirements on the website of the Hellenic Republic Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Visa Regulations for the Republic of Macedonia

For all other passport countries, please check for visa requirements on the website of the Republic of Macedonia Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

After Trips

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We offer optional three day excursions for volunteers to unwind after the work is over. Visit the best of the area where you have served and spend a little bit more time with new found friends. These are private small group excursions custom designed by Worker Bee Tours just for you. We lead them ourselves and pour into them the same care and attention to detail we invest in everything we do.

Excursions for 2017

Treasures of the Rila Mountains

The Magical Rhodopi Mountains

Thessaloniki Old and New

See Photo Highlights from Previous After Trips:

Project Itinerary: How to Read Your Daily Schedule

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itinerary

The project itinerary starts with your arrival day and ends with your departure after completion of the project.

Day 1 ARRIVAL Look for someone holding up the Worker Bee sign when you exit the secured area of the airport. You will be welcomed by one of our staff, who will direct you to the volunteer assembly point. There you will meet other volunteers as they arrive and then travel together to the project location. After check in, assemble for teambuilding, games, and orientation.

Day 2 PREPARATION This day is dedicated to getting everything ready for the week. Roles assignment, tool time, safety procedures, a work site visit, more team building, and preparing program materials. Organized tour of local surroundings.

Days 3-7  All of our programs run Monday through Friday, with a kick off on Monday morning, daily activities, mid week excursion, and last day celebration and awards ceremony. The volunteer team will enjoy a farewell dinner at the conclusion of the week.

Day 8 DEPARTURE Volunteers are transported from the project location to the departure airport, accompanied by a Worker Bee Tours staff member. Those staying for an after trip depart with their groups.

Mountain Adventure 2016

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A hearty band of hikers trekked up and around Botev Peak on our mountain adventure 2016. It was our first excursion in the Stara Planina, or “Old Mountain,” as the Bulgarians call the Balkan range.

Tran Games 2016

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Rio wasn’t the only place where athletics got serious this summer. The Tran Games 2016 were our biggest games ever, with over 70 kids participating in the weeklong event. Volunteers from California and Bulgaria joined forces to organize five days of track and field events in the newly renovated municipal stadium, a fantastic venue that gave us a unique air of professionalism for the competition.

What Happened at the Tram Games 2016

 

 

 

 

Peshtera Summer 2015 Service Project

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Peshtera Summer 2015 was a service project in Peshtera, Bulgaria, during 19-26 June 2015. Our friends from GVF in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, came to Peshtera for the second year in a row.

This year the team took on the major project constructing an outdoor classroom at the Patriarch Evtimii School. This was a special request from the Principal of the school, who had dreamed for years of having an outdoor space where teachers could take their classes for a change of scene in good weather. She told us every year she proposed it for inclusion in the municipal budget, but it never made the final cut. We were glad the group came to make her wish come true, providing both manpower and funding to turn the dream of an outdoor classroom into reality for the children of Peshtera.

Peshtera Summer 2015 Construction Efforts

peshtera summer 2015 outdoor classroomThe focus of the work week was construction of an outdoor classroom at the Patriarch Evtimii School. Located close to the school entrance, the group cleared an area and installed the necessary furniture and equipment to make it a perfect place for classes to meet outdoors in pleasant weather.

The basic design included four picnic tables grouped together facing an innovative removable whiteboard holder designed for teacher use. The wooden holder allowed individual whiteboards to slide in and out so that they could be taken inside the school for safekeeping and protection from inclement weather. We left multiple whiteboards with the school.

The team built a gazebo at the end of the class complex where small groups could meet for discussion or to socialize outside of class hours.

With a lot of sweat and hard work, the whole construction project was finished in just five days. That was a tremendous job well done by the team!

Crafts for Kids at the Patriarch Evtimii School

While many of the volunteers concentrated on sawing, drilling, digging and painting, the rest of the group was equally engaged in crafts with kids inside the school building. The group brought with them a lot of supplies for jewelry making and other kinds of handicrafts.

Baseball Fun with Peshtera Summer 2015

peshtera summer 2015 sandlot baseballThe first volunteer team from GVF brought with them baseball equipment to share the great American pastime with kids in Peshtera, and this year there was considerable desire to pick up the sport once again. Every day the volunteers organized teams and played a pick up game or two. It was great to see how kids who just a year before were introduced to playing for the first time once again got out there, this time bigger, stronger, and eager to compete.

Of course there were many newcomers this year as well, and the kids with more experience helped them out by showing them how to grip and swing a bat, explaining the basics of base running, and warning them to fill holes in the field when feared sluggers came up to bat.

Leaving a Mark at the Patriarch Evtemii School

peshtera summer 2015 outdoor classroomOne thing is certain about Peshtera Summer 2015: This project left a visible mark in the schoolyard at the Patriarch Evtimii School. The outdoor classroom is an exciting, innovative addition to the school campus, and will contribute hopefully to a better educational environment for the local community.

More important, the time spent together with teachers and staff of the school has helped us to understand more about what we can do to help them in the future.

You Can Help Too!

Anyone can volunteer to take part in a project like Peshtera Summer 2015. Contact us for information about other Worker Bee Tours volunteer service opportunities or to find out how we can organize a meaningful volunteer trip for you and your group. You can browse our upcoming events online, or inquire about custom designed trips to meet your personal or group needs.

Check Out the Peshtera Summer 2015 Brag Book:

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