TRAVEL TO REFUGEE CAMPS IN GREECE
It takes a lot of planning and preparation to travel to a new destination, and we’re here to help you every step of the way! Whether you’re purchasing your plane ticket, applying for a visa, or getting ready to pack, this guide (along with your expert Program Specialist) is your ultimate resource for a successful experience. So read on to learn more. And remember that we’re always available to answer any questions that you may have, and to share our personal expertise.
Remember that you are responsible for completing a background check before your work in the refugee camps. For U.S. citizens, please complete your background check at Verified Volunteers. For non-U.S. citizens, please complete your background check at Non-US Verified Volunteers
"Given the highly sensitive nature of our work in the refugee camps, we ask that all Greece volunteers complete these four trainings through DisasterReady: Humanitarianism Part 1: Applying Key Principles, Humanitarianism Part 2: Applying Key Standards, The Sphere Handbook in Action, and the Wellness Briefing. These trainings are all online and should take about four hours to complete. Once you receive your work assignment, we may ask you to complete an additional subject-specific training as well. You can register for the trainings here: https://www.disasterready.org/
Your fellow volunteers will be from all over the world, and some of you may even end up on the same flight. Regardless of the flight that you choose, your arrival airport for Greece is the Athens International Airport (ATH).
Flight to Greece: Arrive at ATH before 3:00 pm on your program start date
Departure Flight: Depart ATH before 3:00 pm on your program end date
If you plan to arrive in Athens on an evening flight, we recommend that you arrive on Friday evening so we can meet at the Athens airport on Saturday before 3:00 pm. Please notify your Program Specialist if you plan to arrive on Friday evening. A recommended hotel in Athens for volunteers staying overnight near the airport is the Holiday Inn Athens Attica Avenue Airport West Hotel or the Mare Nostrum Thalasso Hotel.
Of course, many volunteers choose to arrive early, or stay a bit longer in order to experience all that Greece has to offer. If you plan to be in Greece prior to your program start date, or have any questions about scheduling your flights, just let us know.
There are many online resources available to purchase your flight, but here are a few recommended by our team of volunteer travel experts:
Call Key Travel
Call STA Travel
Once you arrive at the airport, you’ll be greeted by a friendly CCS driver or staff member.
We’ll be waiting for you right outside of the arrival gate, so keep an eye out for a smiling face with a “Cross-Cultural Solutions” sign! It’s a 1 hour drive (depending on traffic) from the airport to our Home-Base, so you’ll be able to take in some of the sights of Greece as you relax after your journey.
We want to make sure you're healthy during your CCS experience, so take a moment to review the recommended vaccinations for your destination at the Centers for Disease Control, or by visiting a travel doctor.
A visa is not required for tourists in Greece for less than 90 days from the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and EU countries. If you're from another country, learn about Greece visa info.
As a CCS volunteer, you’ll automatically be covered by our comprehensive Travel Medical & Emergency Evacuation Insurance while you’re participating in our program. If you’re traveling before or after your program, you may choose to extend your insurance so that you’re covered every step of the way.
Need to upgrade your insurance? There are alternate plans available to you, which can increase your medical expense limits to $500,000 and your trip cancellation insurance up to $5,000. Just log on to the Core Travel website to print your card, extend your insurance, or upgrade!
What to Pack
Greece has a warm, Mediterranean climate. Average temperatures during the summer typically average around 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit; the warmest month of the year is July. The spring and fall are much more temperate, averaging around 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit and the winter months can dip down into the low 40’s.
As international travelers, we love everything about preparing for our next adventure—but we must admit, packing can sometimes be a bit overwhelming. We’re here to help you figure out what to bring and what to leave at home, and we've even created a handy packing list as a general guideline. This is based on a two-week volunteer experience, and assumes you’re doing laundry around every 10 days, so feel free to make adjustments based on what is right for you.
Remember that you will be working with conservative community and we will ask you to be respectful in your dress. This means that women and men should keep their shoulders and knees covered at all times while at the work assignment. During the summer months, we recommend light-colored, loose clothing for men and women. Men should wear shirts with sleeves and loose pants. Women should wear shirts or blouses with sleeves, and loose pants or long skirts. Female volunteers do not need to cover their heads while at their work assignment. You should also remember to pack clothing for your free time, during which you are welcome to dress as you please. Greek culture is less conservative and you should bring clothing in which you are most comfortable.
Greece's currency is the euro – you can exchange your currency into euros when you arrive at the Athens airport, or withdraw euros at an ATM within a few blocks of the CCS Home-Base. Remember to contact your bank and credit card companies before travel to let them know that you’ll be out of the country!
Currency Converter by OANDA
While everyone’s spending habits are different, you might want to budget for around $50 - $75 USD per week for keepsakes and free-time activities.
Emergency Contact Information
It’s helpful to inform family and friends of your travel plans so they know how to reach you. Just input your flight information and you have a handy Travel Contact Sheet to email or print for your family and friends.
Remind friends and family that if they’d like to make an international call to reach you at the CCS Home-Base, US and Canadian residents should dial “011” before the number, and UK residents or residents of other countries should dial “00” before the number.
Citizen Services Abroad
Your safety is our top priority, and to make sure you comprehensive support, we request that all volunteers register with their government for access to emergency support and safety information. Please select the appropriate link below to follow some simple steps (it only takes a minute) to register your travel information:
US Citizens: Safe Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) through the State Department
UK Citizens: Foreign Commonwealth (FCO)
Canadian Citizens: Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT)
Australian Citizens: Smart Traveler Program through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)
CCS partners with and verifies information for your safety in-country with several resources, including OSAC (Overseas Security Advisory Council), the UK High Commission, the US State Department, and iJet. You can learn more about services available to you through the US State Department (for US volunteers) at http://www.state.gov/travel/.
Posted at 2:23pm on August 18th, 2017