When planning any kind of international travel, you need to have your documents in order. You won't be able to enter foreign countries without a valid passport. To get a passport in the United States, you can go to a variety of locations, including courthouses, post offices and passport agencies. You can find the name and address of your nearest passport location by doing a zip code search via the U.S. Department of State Web site [source: USDS].
The passport application process includes:
- Filling out an application
- Providing evidence of U.S. citizenship
- Providing current identification
- Paying fees (roughly $100)
- Providing specific photos [source: USDS]
You can try to obtain a passport quickly, but remember that it takes time. While the government can offer expedited passports, the best way to get where you need to go is to plan head. If you need the passport immediately, contact the National Passport Information Center [source: USDS]. You will also need to check with your destination country to learn about any additional documents or fees that may be required when you arrive.
Research any vaccinations you may need well ahead of time so that you can make a doctor's appointment. The Centers for Disease Control offers advice on vaccinations and a list of health issues in countries around the world for reference [source: CDC]. It's also a good idea to carry health insurance documents or cards, a list of contacts back home and multiple copies of your itinerary. Large volunteer organizations will provide you with a complete list of all required materials.
Now that you have your papers in order, read on to learn how to fund your trip with grants.