Travel to the 3rd world and surviving it…

This post might be for you IF…

  • you plan to go on a mission trip anytime soon.
  • you travel to developing or 3rd-world countries for work or pleasure.
  • you’re interested in adventure-type travel (which is a lot like visiting a developing country).
  • you’re just curious.

Do you have experience with this type of travel? If so, I’d love to hear your best tips. I may need them for my next adventure.

My family traveled a lot when I was growing up.

I’ve written before about my father being a traveling minister. For most of my childhood, I was either on the road with my family or in church. This took us to nearly every state on the US mainland and Alaska, as well as Canada and Mexico (which you didn’t need a passport to cross into back then).

In my current job with a Christian nonprofit, I’m fortunate to get to travel several times a year to developing or 3rd-world countries. And, yes, I did say fortunate.

If I can do it, anyone can. #3rdworld #traveltips Click To Tweet

The items on this list are things I never leave home without.

Obviously, every trip is different. My experiences in developing cultures are always filled with the unexpected. The weather, accommodations, or availability of food and medical supplies may not work out as planned.

You could find yourself in a vehicle on a remote road for hours – unexpectedly – without food, in stifling heat or unsanitary conditions. Or, all the above.

The following items are, in my opinion, necessary in unexpected, 3rd-world situations.

Wet Ones Pocket Size Singles – If you take only one thing I recommend, let this be it. I won’t list all the situations in which these little wipes have served me well. One example is that morning on a school yard in Haiti (with temps well over 100 degrees) when I’m sure my life was saved by cooling off my face and neck with a Wet Ones pulled from my day pack.

Insect Repellent Wipes (pocket-size) – These are genius! I’ve used them in expected and unexpected situations, like sitting in a church service in Thailand and suddenly being overcome by mosquitoes. (Take the entire box on mission trips and leave any leftovers with national workers. They will sing your praises until Jesus comes.)

Hand Sanitizer (travel size) – I’m talking about the ones you attach to your back pack or carry-on. They are dual purpose. Yes, you can wash your hands at a moment’s notice. As a bonus, the pleasant scent on your hands will mask unpleasant odors you may encounter along the way. Trust me on this.

Hand fan (for the women) – Laugh if you must, but on a hot bus or airplane the breeze this fan generates will keep you sane. And, then, fellow travelers will start leaning in to catch the breeze from your fan. They may even ask if you have another they can borrow! (Laughing over.)

This post might be fore you IF: mission travel, adventure travel, third world situations, developing countries. Tips for surviving it...Snacks (high protein) – Pack a few snacks in your carry on. Depending on where I’m traveling, there are usually snacks in my checked baggage, as well. The combination turkey sticks with a cheese stick are a favorite. Also, dried fruit, granola, breakfast bars, peanut butter in individual packets, and a little chocolate is always a welcome treat after a few days.

Water Enhancers – Your welcome! These water enhancers come in various forms and flavors. The tiny squirt bottles are my favorite, but I’ve also used the individual packets of drink mix.

Zip lock bag of medicines – If you like to live on the wild side, skip this tip. I do not travel to a developing country without this (and you shouldn’t either). If you come down with a head cold or break out in hives (Benadryl, people) you’ll have what you need to get through it. Or, you may get to save the life of a traveling companion.

Ear Buds & Charged Device – When could you possibly use these? On a plane, in an airport, while traveling in a car or bus for long periods of time, when you need to block out noise, or to gain a bit of quiet time. Even if you’re not generally into music, games, or reading on a device, I highly recommend it for travel abroad.

When traveling to out-of-the-way places #traveltips #3rdworld Click To Tweet

What are your non-negotiable’s when traveling to out-of-the-way places?

Depending on where I’m headed, how long I’m staying, or the known conditions, you may also find one or more of the following in my bag: day pack (to use on the ground, in-country), water bottle w/mister,  chaco’s-type sandles, woolight (to hand-wash clothes), bed sack, Lysol travel size spray, and blank note cards and envelopes (for writing thank you’s to hosts, ministry partners, etc.).

Travel to developing nations and the 3rd world is totally doable.

Believe me when I say, “If I can do it, anyone can!” Do not miss the experience because you are hesitant, afraid, or feel you are too old.

And if this is about God calling you to do something unexpected, GO. Make a difference. Come back changed. But, always GO prepared.

image mine

4 thoughts on “Travel to the 3rd world and surviving it…

  1. Great travel tips Karlene and I love your blog! It has been awhile since Bruce & I have been on a missions trip, but since we met in YWAM, it’s in our hearts to go again when the time is right!

    • Lisa, it is so great to hear from you and thank you, my friend. It surely changes you, doesn’t it? Life never looks the same after a missions trip! I hope you get to do it again.

  2. Thanks, Karlene. I don’t see myself traveling to another country any time soon, but loved all your tips. I use half of them driving the thirty-five miles to town with my kids. 🙂

    • Gleniece, that is too funny. Listen, I always keep those wet wipe packets in my purse and in my car! And I go nowhere without a hand fan in my purse. I’m a middle-aged woman on hormones – need I say more?

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