Helpful Tools

We’ve compiled a list of tools you’ll find helpful as you prepare for your international volunteer experience.

Prep Checklist

Use this checklist of milestone preparation items to keep you on track as you prepare for your international volunteer experience with us. This list will also help ensure we receive all necessary documents and information from you before your trip.

UV print-friendly checklist


You’ll need a passport to travel to any of our destination countries. If you’re an American citizen without a passport, or if you need to renew your passport, use the link below for more information.

U.S. Department of State passport information


Visa requirements are constantly changing and therefore we recommend researching current policies and speaking directly to visa officials about any questions. Utopia Volunteers staff are also available to help.

Below are U.S. Department of State websites with basic information about visa requirements for American citizens. (Expand the Entry, Exit, & Visa Requirements section for detailed information.)

If you are a resident of another country and have questions about your visa requirements, talk with us and we’ll do our best to provide answers.

Costa Rica visa information 

Guatemala visa information

Kenya visa information

Nepal visa information

South Africa visa information

Uganda visa information


Kayak offers a great method of searching multiple websites at one time for deals on flights. And, Economy Travel is a travel agency specializing in fares for non-profit and humanitarian groups.


Economy Travel

Background check

We recommend using First Advantage for your national criminal background check. Use their Instant Check service and make sure to send us a copy of your completed background check at least four weeks before your scheduled departure.

First Advantage

Travel insurance

At a minimum, we require comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, emergency evacuation, trip cancellation, personal liability, and personal belongings loss. We recommend the companies above as providers of your travel insurance, however, there are many options and you’re free to use whoever you choose.

World Nomads

Seven Corners

CSA Travel Protection

Vaccinations and health

Search the CDC’s Destinations site to find a list of recommended vaccinations and medicines to carry with you on your trip.

Center for Disease Control (CDC)


We require every volunteer to register with STEP which will make sure you’re notified of safety conditions in your destination country, and will help with communication in case of an emergency. Use the link above and follow the steps to register before you leave.

Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)