Frequently Asked Questions

How much does the trip cost?
ZOE does everything it can to keep the costs down for trips.  Trip fees are $1,090, covering all in-country transportation, meals, accommodations, travel insurance,  and including excursions where possible. Because Guatemala trips are shorter, the Guatemala trip fees are $670.

Other costs include:

  • Plane tickets:  ZOE recommends a trusted travel agent who accesses missionary fares and coordinates travel so that the entire group arrives and departs at convenient times.  We will put you in touch directly with the travel agent to book your flights.  For Africa and India, ticket costs generally vary between $1,200 and $2,200; with travel being traditionally less expensive in the winter and a bit more expensive in the summer.  Guatemala flights tend to be more affordable. Prices can rise significantly the closer you get to your trip; make reservations early.
  • Immunizations and anti-malaria medications:  These can cost in the $500 range depending on your doctor and if you already have some immunizations (they last for years).
  • Travel Visas:  Kenya – $50, Zimbabwe – $30  Rwanda – $30 Malawi – $100 India – $175 Guatemala – none (African visas will be purchased at the destination airport. Travelers must apply for an Indian visa in advance with the help of our travel agent.)

We estimate that most total trips will cost between $2,500 and $3,500; plus personal money for shopping and tips.

How much walking/physical activity will there be?
We attempt to get as close to the orphans as possible with the vehicles, but there is walking involved.  This is rarely more than a quarter mile on unpaved, sometimes rocky or inclined terrain.  One can always choose to opt out of visiting an area that is difficult to access.  We also have one or two work sessions where we help build a home or tend a field with the orphans.  If you are unable to do physical exertion, there will be plenty of younger children with whom you can interact (to their great joy).

Is this trip safe?
ZOE is careful to only travel in areas we feel are safe.  The ZOE staff members take our safety extremely seriously.  They know their own culture well and do everything possible to ensure we do not get into difficult situations.  The ZOE staff leaders will give team members tips to help us interact well with those we meet.  It is important that we listen to the ZOE staff leaders at all times.  For U.S. State Department Travel Information and Advisories please see:  http://travel.state.gov/travel/.

What medications do I need?
ZOE cannot legally give advice on what medications you need since we are not health care professionals.  We advise you to contact your doctor or travel clinic for this information.  Your doctor will often consult the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov) to find this information.  The American ZOE staff finds it helpful to take a general antibiotic such as Cipro or similar, an anti-diarrhea agent such as Imodium A/D, and anti-malarial medication such as Malarone or Doxycycline, and a sleep aid such as Tylenol PM, or Ambien, in addition to our doctor recommended immunizations.

What will our accommodations be like, and will I have a roommate?
The accommodations vary based on the country. Please contact Elena at elena@zoehelps.org for specific accommodation info for your trip.

In general, the hotels chosen by our ZOE staff are comfortable. They usually provide internet access and we typically plan for breakfasts and dinners at the hotel restaurants. In Africa, the hotels will likely provide mosquito netting. Laundry services are also usually available at the hotel.

Our goal is for everyone to have their own room and this is usually the case.  However in country plans can change and it is possible that you will have a roommate if the hotel is overbooked.  Earplugs are a marvelous idea.

How do I meet the group when traveling over?
The ZOE recommended travel agent works hard to ensure everyone’s itineraries match as closely as possible.  Usually the ZOE group meets in the U.S. before the first international leg of the flight.  Occasionally we may meet some people at the destination airport, but when this happens we walk you through exactly what to expect.  Our destination airports are small and fairly easy to navigate with many helpful people around, and ZOE’s program staff members are always there to meet us once we are through baggage claim.  Even if you are not a seasoned traveler you should be able to follow the crowd to the right location.

Will there be shopping?
Yes, we stop at several places throughout the trip for you to purchase items if you choose.  You will even learn how to barter.  In Rwanda, some of our orphans also make baskets, wood carvings and wonderful cards which you can purchase.  In both Rwanda and Kenya we have orphans who are accomplished tailors and can make custom clothing for you.  Be sure and ask them to put in some extra room or else your clothing will fit…. exactly!

What kind of electrical appliances can I use?
Most ZOE countries use a 240 volt current for electrical outlets (the U.S. has 110 volt outlets);  many cameras, shavers, hair dryers, camcorders, laptop computers etc. are able to use either power source and some have a switch that needs to be flipped to enable the use of a different power source.  We recommend that you examine your appliances to determine if they can be used with 240 volts.  You will still require a plug adapter which will allow you to plug into a wall socket.  These can be purchased at many places including Radio Shack, Best Buy, WalMart etc.  If your appliance can not handle the alternative power source, you can try a power converter although these are more expensive and less dependable.

Guatemala uses 110 volt, 60 cycle electricity, the same as the US. Plugs are typically the 2 pronged flat type so US travelers will not usually need a converter or adapter unless your device has a third prong.

Will there be enough water for me to drink?
Yes, ZOE staff will make sure you have access to bottled water whenever you need it.  It is important that you drink enough liquids during the trip.

What should I wear?
Please where comfortable clothing and shoes.  Any modest clothing is appropriate to wear (shorts and low/high cut clothing is rarely seen).  The ZOE program staff and orphans will dress up for our meetings, but our American teams typically wear casual clothing.  Bringing an extra pair of shoes is recommended in case one pair gets muddy or wet.  Some people want to pack light and wash clothing in country.  This is possible but if the weather is wet, then drying clothing can take days, even if using the hotel laundry.  Most people bring a change of clothing for each day.  Men tend to wear dress shirts and ties for Sunday worship and women tend to wear nicer outfits as well.

What is a typical itinerary?
Our ZOE staff members are working with children on the edge of poverty and emergencies come up regularly in their lives. Our itinerary will likely modify several times during our stay, although the sample schedule below is typical:

  • Day 1 – Depart USA
  • Day 2 – Arrive in country
  • Day 3 – Travel to base Hotel
  • Day 4 – Visits with ZOE orphan working groups/mutual help project
  • Day 5 – Visits with working groups/mutual help project
  • Day 6 – Worship at local church, visit with working group
  • Day 7 – Visit with working group, see anti-AIDS club presentation by working group members
  • Day 8 – Visit with working group
  • Day 9 – Travel to capital city to depart
  • Day 10 – Arrive home