Now that you’ve booked your trip, let the preparation begin! This is an exciting time and we understand that it can be a bit overwhelming as well. Here are a few things that may be helpful as you prep for one of the most rewarding experiences of your life.
Everyone traveling to Haiti is required to obtain a passport. Without it, you’ll be stuck at the airport and probably miss your flight and none of us want that. If you already have one, please make sure it does not expire until after you return from your trip. If you do not have a passport, arrange to get that started as soon as possible with your local Post Office and allow 4-6 weeks to receive. You do not need to obtain a visa; a passport is sufficient. We recommend photocopying the first page of your passport and carrying it with you just in case you happen to lose your passport.
Unless otherwise indicated by your group leader, travel arrangements are to be made by each member to Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Travel arrangements should be made as soon as possible once you receive confirmation from Happy Kids International that you have been approved for your trip. Please, do not wait until the last minute to book your flight because we need to be able to coordinate with our Haitian staff to ensure a smooth airport experience. A representative of Happy Kids International will meet you at the airport and will be providing transportation to the guesthouse. Just look for the bright yellow shirt! Be sure to check with the airline for current restrictions, luggage weight limits and dimensions, etc. before heading to the airport.
Happy Kids International ministers in a Christian environment. Dress should be modest for both men and women. You are Christ’s example to the children and the people of Haiti and that includes the way you dress. Please refrain from wearing short shorts and revealing tops. Remember, modesty is the best policy! Weather conditions do not vary much but during January and February you may need a light jacket or sweater at night. Hats and sunscreen are recommended as it is a tropical climate and we don’t want you being so sunburnt you can’t enjoy all the things you’re there to do! We recommend also that your bring a pair of closed toed tennis shoes or boots and a couple pairs of sandals (one for shower/inside guest house).
Vaccinations & Medications
Like any third world country, Haiti is home to a number of illnesses. We strongly recommend that all team members visit their local health department or doctor to ensure current vaccinations are up to date and to receive any that are not. Most adults should have been immunized against tetanus, diphtheria, polio, measles, mumps and rubella as children. Booster shots are required every ten years for tetanus and diphtheria to remain effective.
Anti-malaria medication is strongly recommended. Team members should begin taking the medication before their arrival in Haiti and after their departure per medication instructions. Also, obtaining a prescription of Cipro is recommended as a precautionary measure. If you have any other health problems/issues/allergies, be sure you bring any medication you already take and carry them with you in properly labeled packaging. Please bring enough to supply your entire time in Haiti because medications are not easily accessible. Your health is important to us and is important to your mission in Haiti.
Before leaving for Haiti, we suggest checking with your insurance company concerning your overseas coverage. If additional coverage is desired, travel insurance can be purchased from several different organizations for a relatively low fee. Happy Kids International is not responsible for this.