Sustainable Volunteer Vacations on the Rise

by Susan Finch

Aug 7, 2019

© Pablo Hidalgo | Dreamstime

Trends / Voluntourism

 

Volunteering on vacation isn’t a new concept and, according to the Corporation for National & Community Service, you can trace one of the earliest iterations of voluntourism to the creation of the PeaceCorps in 1961. The boom of study abroad programs followed in the 1970s, followed by ecotourism in the 1980s and volunteer vacations in the 1990s. Today, there is a broader variety of volunteer projects available around the world where travelers can pitch in for a few hours, or design their entire vacation around volunteering.

 

However, not all volunteer programs are created equally. Travelers should connect with reputable, long-standing companies like Volunteer HQ, with connections around the world to verified non-profits and charities. VolunteerHQ also assists with pre-departure support and 24/7 support abroad to ensure volunteer vacations run smoothly. Focusing on working with ethical organizations is also key to a successful and rewarding volunteer vacation. Volunteer vacation program fees should remain transparent to easily trace where each dollar is going.

 

Once you’ve verified a travel volunteer program is legitimate, travelers should pick causes that enrich their own travel experiences while making a positive impact. Animal lovers with a bucket list dream of seeing wild animals in Africa can volunteer in Victoria Falls on a private game reserve. Travelers looking to immerse themselves in a culture while giving back can visit Vietnam and teach English or spend time in a medical center for a rewarding experience.

 

Remember volunteer vacations should make a long-term impact in the area you’re serving. Giving back to a community abroad can be a rewarding and life-changing experience, but should ultimately make a positive impact on those who were served instead of those who traveled.

 

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