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by Michelle (subscribe)
Traveller and thrill seeker. Lover of nature, the great outdoors and new experiences. Coffee addict & redwine lover. Currently studying on the Central Coast
Published May 20th 2014
How to take a volunteer vacation without spending an arm and a leg.

'Voluntourism' has become all the rage lately and while I do think it is a great way to travel, I also believe that paying high amounts (that may not go straight to the cause) for the privilege is not something many want to do.

If you like to be doing things worthwhile whilst travelling or are just looking for a different experience is something you could incorporate into your trip.


The concept is simple: volunteer your time and experience in exchange for accommodation and food in some cases.

Like all holidays, there are many different experiences to be had in a range of different places around the world.

You can work with an NGO in Africa or help out with animals in Sri Lanka. Help on a Husky farm in in the Artic Circle or work on an organic vineyard in France.

The opportunities and experiences are endless.


Ever thought about what it would be like to run a dive shop in the Caribbean? Run a surf school in Brazil? Well, why not volunteer in one.

Or if have you held an interest in permaculture and sustainable living and you would like to learn a bit more about this. Do you fancy yourself as quite artsy and wouldn't mind turning your hand at helping out with an art project, volunteer opportunities abound you.

If you love kids or are able to work well with them there is a great range of families abroad looking for help with childcare in exchange for accommodation and food. Or multiple schools across Asia and the rest of the world looking for help teaching English.

There is a volunteer opportunity for everyone of every taste and style. If you are trying to learn a new language staying with a host family is a great motivator for improving this.

It also gives you the opportunity to explore the area where you are volunteering, at your leisure and is a good way to really get a feel for a new country and their traditions and family life.

Worldwide opportunities

Most work away hosts ask for between 4-6 hours of work per day.

So in your free time you could be haggling for goods in the street markets of Bangkok, traipsing around the cobbled lanes of Rome, practicing your Spanish whilst ordering sangria on the streets of Spain or just chilling out in a hammock with a good book reflecting on your travels and wondering what's coming next.

As we all know we don't take a holiday to work so why use work away you ask? Wel,l besides the fact that it's a fab way to help someone out.

It is also a neat way to taste a complete new lifestyle, make some new friends, use some of your skills or gain some new ones. It is also an experience of a lifetime and something you definitely won't forget anytime soon.

This experience isn't just limited to gap year students. I have seen professionals on career breaks, students, couples and people just wanting a complete change or foray into a new lifestyle and a way of giving back. So why not give it a go. For those in the workforce it also adds a new string to your bow and looks impressive on your CV to employers.

You are never too old to stop learning and there is a whole big world out there. So what are you waiting for?
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Why? New experiences keep us young
Where: All around the world
Cost: Volunteering is free, travel expenses to be paid by you
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