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Logistics & Practical arrangements

Managing the logistics efficiently will ensure that the Tour is carried out smoothly and provides a secure frame for the participants to challenge themselves, meet each other and learn. Think practical and try to anticipate as much as possible the group's needs and the situations you might face.


International transportation

Here lies one of the biggest contradiction of the Heterotopia Tour: so far, we do rely on the plane most of the time for international transportation!

Why? Mainly because it is a substantial gain of time and money for the participants. But you can make different choices and encourage the participants to use more eco-friendly ways of transportation such as trains, carpooling or buses. Keep in mind that, if the Heterotopia Tour is financially supported by the Erasmus+ Program or by a public institution, only the means of transportation that can provide an invoice and a receipt might be eligible.

To book flights or international train or bus connections for your participants, you can visit online platforms (such as, or that you know of or ask the hosting organization for advice before actually looking for tickets. They might know the local possibilities and the best deals to reach the venue.

No matter how far the participants come from, if you host a Tour you will need to organize the arrival and departure of the participants and plan extra accommodation if needed before and after the Tour (cf. chapter below). In order to do so, we advice you to create an online chart on which all the info needed will be available.

From our experience, they should include at least:

  • the name of the participant
  • the country they are coming from
  • the mean of transportation used (flight, bus, train, car)
  • the place, date and time of arrival in the city where you will meet the participants
  • the place, date and time of departure from your town/country
  • the participant's food diet, Health state and special needs (If any).

We suggest you give access to this online chart to the coordinators of your international partners so that they can fulfill it with their participants after buying the tickets with them.

Local transportation

For the local transportation, you can try your best to limit your footprint by limiting the number of journeys during your stay to a minimum.

This requires good preparation and includes at least:

  • looking for a relevant route (that will optimize the time and fuel expenses between each venue);
  • finding local supplyiers for both food and building materials;
  • using local public transportation when it is possible (for instance when staying in town).

For any car journey, we strongly advise you to:

  • prepare and print the directions to each venue and give a copy to each driver (You may also use online maps and technology to be more eco-friendly if your staff has the appropriate device. You should get prepared accordingly (chargers, download of offline maps, preregistered itinerary, etc.));
  • organize specific meetings with the drivers before each journey and define together what has to be done in case one driver gets lost or if a vehicle has a mechanical problem;
  • make sure that each car has enough gas and oil to reach the venue at least one day before departure so that you can refill it in a timely fashion;
  • determine in advance how the participants will split between the different cars and check that everyone is there before any car leaves;
  • check each vehicle's insurance and discuss with each driver regarding the financial deal between you (for example, determine how your organization will pay the drivers back if they take their own car, taking into consideration distance, tolls, the car wearing down, the driving schedule, etc). You might want to sign a mutual agreement to avoid any misunderstanding.

Remember that a participant might easily get lost (because they went to the toilets in a Café without telling anyone during your stay in town, or they turned at the last street corner to buy a sweet or better hear a street musician). To solve the problem, make sure they all have the phone numbers of your staff before any move and tell them when arriving at the venue where and when will be the meeting point you will leave from after the visit.

Hospitality & hosting before and after the Tour

The arrival and departure time of the participants will vary significantly depending of their flights, train or bus connections. As organizers, you can decide to take care of the accommodation for the extra days of their stay and to figure how you will welcome them.

The challenge will be to make them feel confortable and welcome from the very first moment and to sustain this feeling over time, until they leave. In our experience, there are several options to do it, that all have pros and cons.

Welcoming the participants

Option 1: a representative of your team meets and picks the participants up at the airport / train station / bus terminal. It will help build a relationship of trust and openess with the participants and reassure those who are not used to travelling, but it can be time-consuming if they all arrive at a different times.

Option 2: If you can't be available to pick them up at the airport/station/terminal, we recommend to send to each person a “welcome pack” which explains how they can reach the place they will stay for the night and offers information on the city, the available transportation, the people they can contact in case of need, etc.

A nice additional proposition would be to offer to the participants to go on a tour of the city center or in some places that suits in their interest. It will help them feel at ease and connect with your team, the venue and the local community.

Hosting the participants

Option 1: host the participants in your homes and share a piece of your reality and lifestyle with them. It will help connect to each other and build a trusting relationship in an informal way, and will lay the foundations for community living, intercultural connections and deep communication in the following weeks.

Option 2: ask volunteers of your organization and people from your community to welcome the participants into their home. They might be really pleased to give you a hand, to feel part of the project and to meet people from elsewhere.

Option 3: rent some rooms in a nearby youth hostel where the participants can stay for a fair price. It will be lighter for you to organize than hosting them at home, but it can be difficult for some participants to cover the expense (given that, with Erasmus+ programs for example, the participants are usually responsible for paying all the expenses for transportation, accommodation and food for the extra days).

A meaningful effort

Whatever your choices, welcoming and hosting people before and after the Tour will require time, energy and availability. But a Heterotopia Tour is by essence about community living, sharing what we have, connecting with each other in a different way, and putting into practice what we believe in as far as possible. To be consistent, shouldn't we give our best from beginning to end ?

Accommodation and equipment of the eco-camp during the Tour

Equipping the living area

The Heterotopia Tour is an outdoors project. Some activities might occur within a building outside the eco-camp, but the living area will likely be set in a field and most of the activities will take place outdoors.

Usually, the participants sleep in tents, cook outside, enjoy their free time, wash themselves and fulfil their basic needs outdoors. It won't be such a pleasant experience for them if you don't design and equip the living area in a thoughtful way. From our experience, the eco-camp should include at least the following:

  • a cooking area with all the necessary equipment to prepare hot meals
  • a place to eat all together
  • a chill out area
  • a shelter to protect the group from both sunny and rainy weather (cf. below)
  • a cleaning station for dishes and cooking pots
  • shower and toilets (at least 2 of each for a group of 30 people)
  • a storage area for food (with a mosquito net and shade) - it may be a tent
  • a composting spot
  • a storage area for waste (with different buckets to sort them)
  • an access (even limited) to electricity where people can charge their electronic devices
  • a place to dry clothes (with clothes pegs).

Provide shadow and protection from rain and wind for the cooking area, the food storage, the place the participants will gather to eat and at least one place to run activities. That way, you will save time and energy and prevent the participants to get tired because of the weather (too much sun, cold, etc.).

To increase the participants' comfort and well being, we suggest to provide them basic furnitures such as :

  • tables and benches to eat (to avoid pain that arises from sitting too long on the ground)
  • carpets and basic furnitures (such as benches and sofa built with upcycled wood or from straw) for the chill out area
  • buckets with lids for the kitchen waste (before you bring them to the compost).

You should provide the basics (i.e. the kitchen area, the toilets, the showers, the shelter, the cleaning station) from the beginning but then you can dedicate a few workshops during the Tour to improve the living area with the help of the participants. It will help them connect with the venue and feel at home and can be a great team building activity in the first days.

Given how important a campfire can be for the group dynamic from our experience, we recommend you try your best to make it happen during the Tour. With the dry weather we have been experiencing lately during summer time in Europe, campfires might be prohibited in the area the Tour will take place. Yet, you might lift the ban if you secure the area where you intend to have the fire. Look for information from your local authorities about it: if you manage to offer a campfire, your living area will be the core of your camp and attract the whole group.

Dealing with climatic hazards

As the Heterotopia Tour is an outdoors project, you will depend on the weather… And you can never predict it for sure! Always consider that the climate will disturb your plans and that the weather will be the opposite of what you expect. To deal with it, you should always prepare:

  • a plan B to offer (for example, if it is raining when you had planned an outdoors workshop, you should have an other activity to offer, inside a building);
  • a big enough shelter to welcome the whole group, where you can organize activities in case of heavy rain or scorching sun;
  • a safe place (which can be the same building as before) to preserve the participants in case of heavy rain or storm during the night.

Cold can also be an issue. Bring extra blankets and warm clothes with you in case some of the participants get cold at night. If you have the possibility to get your hands on some straw, feel free to offer some to the participants so they can put a layer under their tents. It will protect them from cold and wet weather, especially at night.

Keep in mind that the Tour might be the first outdoor living experience for some of the participants, and that people might be too optimistic regarding their resistance to cold or sunburns. Therefore make sure to bring extra sun-cream, hats, rain clothes, or even tents if possible : an unpredictable thunderstorm can put your participants comfort (and health) at risk if not anticipated. Nobody enjoys being stuck in wet clothes or covered in sunburns, it will impact the participants mood and motivation, thus the general atmosphere of the Tour.

Food and management of the kitchen

Towards high quality raw ingredients

Food should never be a side aspect of the Tour. We strongly encourage you to buy local, organic, non-gmo, seasonal, unpackaged food as much as you can and, if possible from crops traditionally grown in the area.

Try your best to get most of what you need from local organic farmers, open air markets and cooperative shops from the surroundings to both provide high quality food to the participants and support an ethical, local scale economy.

Ideally, we invite you to cook your own biscuits, jams, jellies, chutneys and preserves in advance as much as your time and creativity allows. It will be a nice way to promote self-sufficiency and an efficient tool to get the participants involved, as they will be encouraged to take part in the making process. In the end, it might help you to save money while providing high quality homemade products that gives an insight on what are the traditional ingredients available in the area and how they are proceeded.

If you feel comfortable with it, an additional challenge worth taking will be to encourage the participants to find (incr)edible wild plants from the local flora around the campsite (always keeping an eye on preserving biodiversity and caring about the participant's health and safety) to add to their meals. Given that wild picking is usually a new experience for most of the participants, we recommend you organize at least one workshop per Tour on this topic with the help of external facilitators, focusing on easy to find edible plants (such as nettle, plantago, rosmarin, salvia, thyme, etc.) that the participants can easily pick and cook during the Tour.

Food supplies and diet

Always remember that food is strongly cultural and can easily become a source of tension. For example, some people are used to eating high protein meals and can feel underfed if they lack some products they are used to. It is important that you hear their needs and try to find a balance together to plan next meals and shopping trips. Generally speaking, the more you explain things to the participants and involve them in the purchasing and cooking process, the more you will avoid misunderstandings and complains.

Regarding the diet, we've been mainly preparing vegetarian food during the Tours in order to reduce our ecological footprint. Dealing with this new diet can be a big challenge for a person used to eating meat daily. For this reason, we advice you to offer at least one meal with meat a week to make the change easier.

Each organization team should make their own choice regarding food diet, according to their ethics as long as every person's needs are also taken into consideration. This means that any specificity has to be recognized and respected: Gluten-free, lactose-free, sugar-free, vegan, hallal, kosher, food intolerances or wathever else diet. This can be a bit tricky sometimes, but it is decisive in making people feel safe and accepted for what they are.

Equipment required for the cooking

Cooking on a campsite requires a light and functional equipment. From our experience, your minimum cooking gear should include :

  • 2 burners / stoves
  • 4 pans with their lids (1 for boiling water and 3 big enough to cook for 30 to 40 people each)
  • 1 big frying pan (ideally a paella dish or a plancha)
  • plates, glasses and cutlery for 40 people (you might have guests)
  • a set of good knifes and cutting boards
  • a colinder (big enough to deal with pasta for 40)
  • a bunch of peelers (to ease the preparation of vegetables)
  • wooden spatulas and spoons
  • 3 big salad bowls
  • 2 ladles and 1 whip
  • 3 big thermos for coffee and tea
  • 5 dish towels to dry the dishes
  • natural soap (test it before for grease removal efficiency) and a set of sponges (including 1 steel wool scrubbing pad).

Those listed above are your “must-have”. Then you can add solar cookers, bike-blenders (for smoothies) or whatever you feel like adding that will be meaningful from a pedagogical point of view, specific to your traditional cooking slyle or funny to use.

Storing food

We usually have no fridge during the Tours, which implies to divide up food supplies into 4 categories :

  1. dry and long lasting products that can bear heat for as long as needed : dry beans, cereals, sweet or salty preserves (jams, honey, chutney…), dry fruits, coffee, sugar, etc.
  2. fresh perishable products that cannot bear heat at all : dairy products, fresh vegetables, fruits such as nectarines, peaches, apricots, etc. eggs, meat and delicatessen;
  3. fresh products that can bear heat for a while but not too long: watermelon, bananas, oranges, squashes, carrots, cabbages, etc.
  4. fresh products that can bear heat without getting bad but get dry or unpleasant after a while such as bread.

You need to plan your purchasing according to the category each food item belongs to. We usually buy most of the dry food beforehand in cooperative organic shops or from local producers we trust. For the fresh food, we usually plan ahead the trips to the farmers markets or local shops from each of the places we will visit during the Tour.

We strongly advice you to place an order for the food you need from the small shops or producers: those are not usual quantities and you can't afford to improvise. If you only get half of what you need from the shop because it is all they have, you will have to run somewhere else to get the rest when this time will be better used caring for your participants.

Buying and cooking the right quantities

Knowing how to manage a budget, to purchase the right quantities of food or to cook for a group of 30 people are quite complex tasks. The Tour is a good opportunity for the participants to develop those skills.

To help them feel more comfortable and avoid mistakes, you can either let them free to choose whatever ingredients they want in the storage area to cook the meal (which can be a bit scaring for those who are not used to cook), either provide them a basket of food with the right quantity to prepare a meal (you will then let them free to decide what they want to do with the given ingredients).

Whatever the case, provide the participants easy guidelines for cooking various raw ingredients such as rice, pasta, chick peas: how many grams per person, how much water is needed, how long do you cook it, etc. Make sure they are explicit and simple enough for people who are not used to cooking and always within reach. You can also provide a book of recipes for those who don't feel comfortable or who prefer to cook with guidelines.

Keep in mind that the amount of food someone eats will vary by age, gender and personal preference: you will most probably have to adapt a bit your plan according to the needs and habits of your participants (you can't predict them before you meet).

Don't be afraid on the side of cooking a bit too much: you can't go wrong with having some leftovers around. If you store them well, they will be eaten on the next meal.

Organizing the cooking teams

Taking into consideration that there are 3 meals per day (breakfast, lunch, dinner), that cooking for a group of approximatively 30 people takes time and that we want everyone to enjoy the various activities of the Tour, it makes sense not to leave the kitchen up to improvisation but to set up teams for cooking in advance.

Depending on the Tour and the needs of the participants, those cooking teams can change shift either every day or every meal. Bearing in mind the abundant program filled with various activities and the duration of the Tour, each option has pros and cons:

  • if the cooking team is the same for the whole day, people will miss all the workshops of the day but they will have time to rest, to wash their clothes, read a book, take a walk, spend time with their mates in a more intimate way…;
  • if the cooking teams switch every meal, the cooking team will gain access to half of the workshops of the day, thus reducing their (potential) frustration not to participate in something, but they might feel more rushed or tired later on the Tour.

A nice option for the selection of the teams (that should ideally never be composed of the same set of people) is that everyone writes their name on the daily program board under a specific breakfast, lunch or dinner at the beginning of the Tour or after every 5-6/7 days (when the group will change venue). It is a good idea to have additional discussions taking place every night after dinner to ensure there is enough people in each cooking team.

To reach the goal of providing nourishing food that meets everyone’s nutritional needs for each meql, we recommend you provide information to the participants about the various possibilities they have at their disposal to cook and that you support the least confident in their efforts to prepare meals.

As said before, you can decide either you prepare a basket with ingredients for the day or per meal (giving it to participants to use creatively), either you leave them total freedom to manage the amounts available for the whole tour or till the next shopping.

This means that each member of the group as mean to check what food supplies are available and has an idea of what the daily food budget for the group is.

In both cases, on shopping days, we recommend you bring to the market the cooking team for the day, so they can discover this aspect of the daily life as a group and get an insight on what types of budget constraints the group is dealing with. Thus, they can understand the choices that have been made by the organization team and assess the quantities of each product that can be bought with the budget for the day.

Regarding lunch and dinner, the cooking team should be informed of the number of people present, their specific diet(s) (vegan, halal, allergies) and the menu of the previous days, before starting putting ingredients together.

Food combinations for optimal nutrients absorption and adequate calorie/protein/carbs/etc intake will of course be central in the process to ensure people well-being and health. Nevertheless, don't confine yourself to nutritional data: Food is also about pleasure and being together. For this reason, encourage people to present the food before starting to eat (where the recipe is coming from, or any other story of the food the cooking team prepared), welcome diversity in the meals as much as possible and include sweets from time to time; they will always be appreciated.

(You can download HERE the Menu of the Tour that was held in Greece in September 2017 and HERE a document with the quantities of food it required).

For any meal, have a look at what’s left from the meal before so there is no waste. Otherwise, a colorful, light and newly imagined and created recipe will most probably please everyone around the table. Generally speaking, leave as much space as you can for creativity and to try to make every day a bit special: the smiles of the group will be your reward.

As for breakfast,it usually requires little to no planning, still it requires your care and attention : it is always a key moment of the day.

In order for the group to start the activities on time, ask first the breakfast team to wake up earlier than the group to prepare hot beverages (i.e. tea and coffee) by boiling water and pouring it into suitable containers at least half an hour before the breakfast is served. From the first days, the participants will get to know each other and will estimate and inform others on the exact quantity needed for each item (2 litres of coffee, 1 for tea, etc.).

On the table, offer as much variety as possible depending your local context and budget constraints. Ideally, provide at least coffee and tea (green and black), fresh fruits, bread, honey, tahini (instead of butter that cannot bear heat), marmalade, biscuits and dry fruits. To break routine, offer surprise food items from time to time such as yogurt, an omelet, pancakes, cheese, smoothie, etc. You might be surprised of the impact it can have on the people's mood!

guide/implementation/logistics.txt · Last modified: 2018/11/05 15:33 by Cecilia