So, it’s almost time to leave for your big trip! You’ve done your fundraising, you’ve prepared, you’re ready. You’ve probably read and followed our complete packing list (click here to view). Below, we’ve compiled a list of often forgotten items (and items you might have read and thought, “Oh, I’m sure I don’t need that”).

As you’re doing your final shopping trip or bag check, make sure you’ve included these items.



Grab a sturdy 32-oz or bigger water bottle and throw it in your carry-on. You’ll want this on the plane, on the job site, and anywhere else you go. While you’re at it, add a carabiner to the handle or lid so you can easily attach the bottle to a backpack, carry-on suitcase, or your pants. Ideally, choose one with a lid cover that protects the part your mouth will touch. If the area you’re headed to is more remote, you can even find a water bottle with a built-in filter.


Rest assured, you’ll get fed on your trip. But no one has ever regretted having a couple easy, no-prep snacks on hand. Grab a few non-perishable, pre-packaged items, like beef jerky, granola bars, trail mix, or even a couple chocolate bars. Plan for snacks on the plane (there and back), a few items to throw in your bag to go to your work-site, or something you’d appreciate for an end of the day treat.


No matter where you’re flying off to, we recommend bringing a pair of flip flop sandals along with you for a number of reasons. It’s always good to have rubber shoes you can wear in the shower as opposed to having bare feet on the floor. Additionally, you’ll be glad to give your feet a break from hot work shoes and sweaty socks at the end of a long day. In any case, it’s nice to have something you can throw on without lacing up during evening debrief meetings.


Don’t wait until you’re scratching away before running out to the store to grab bug spray. While many locations Forward Edge teams travel to will have easy access to stores, not every trip will have that access, and not every person will have the free time to run errands. In the end, it’s easier to be prepared. We’d recommend bug spray with deet or picaridin—there are pros and cons to both—but using at least one of them is a must to effectively repel those pesky bugs. As you know, mosquitoes can be both annoying and dangerous. Better to be prepared.

Are you reading this at 10 pm while packing for your 7 am flight? Raid your laundry room: Bounce dryer sheets are fairly effective at keeping pests away as well (we learned that here!). Toss a box in your suitcase, and tuck one in your pants pocket and shirt pocket when you’re on the job site.


Print out a few photos of your family, hometown, and other details about your life. Locals love seeing photos from your life back home. Not only will the people you serve get to know you better, they’ll get a taste of your culture and come to understand what you care about, and who has sent you. It’s a great way to establish common ground, and serves as a wonderful conversation starter.

Serve on a Team!