While travel can be a life-enriching experience, it can also be expensive. Luckily, if you are travelling for academic, creative or humanitarian reasons, it might be possible to receive assistance in the form of funding, equipment and in-kind donations. Your proposal for travel assistance will vary depending on if you're seeking money from an individual or private foundation, academic institution or government agency, but there are several key elements and best practices that can increase your chances of success.
Plan out the details of your trip. Include the dates of travel, locations you plan to visit, approximate length of stay and any specific goals you have for the trip.
List all the materials you're going to need. This includes everything from airfare and lodging to camping gear and electronics. Separate the list into items you will include in the proposal and things you will obtain through other means.
Create a budget. This will be based on where you plan to travel, the time and what additional equipment you'll need. All money and assistance requested in the proposal must be rigorously explained and accounted for.
Research potential funding sources. If you don't have a specific organisation in mind for assistance, find out what institutions are interested in projects like yours. Two places to start are the Foundation Center and The Fulbright Foundation; you can access information through the organisations' websites. Pay attention to the dates proposals are due and the types of trips each group will fund and select programs that best fit your needs.
Write your proposal. This should include a letter of introduction of yourself and the project, a detailed explanation of the trip and your expected outcomes or deliverables, a budget of how you plan to spend the money and any supporting documents that can strengthen your case. The latter can include letters of support, awards you've won for similar work or any special arrangements you've secured including invitations to speak, conferences or temporary work.
Review the proposal and send. After you've written the draft proposal, reread the document and make sure you have included all relevant information. Run a spellcheck on the document to catch any simple mistakes; and, if possible, have someone you trust read the document before submitting. Pay close attention to the submission guidelines. Some funding sources have very specific requirements on how they wish to receive proposals.