Are you tired of the same boring scenery? Do you want to make a difference in the world and travel at the same time? Have you ever heard of a Volunteer Vacation? If you haven’t, you are not alone. Many people are unaware of the vast amount of opportunities made available to them through organizations like the Pacific Crest Trail Association and the United States Lighthouse Society. What could be more fun than traveling a distance to help others in need?
Instead of spending ridiculous amounts of cash to stay in overpriced hotels and participate in run-of-the-mill sightseeing, why not explore the possibility of being a Light House Keeper or help care for the trails in your favorite National Park? Not only will it do you a world of good to spend your summer doing something useful, it will get you out of your house and into locations that even the most seasoned traveler dreams of.
Pam Grout, author of The 100 Best Volunteer Vacations to Enrich Your Life, has created a handy reference guide for those individuals wanting to lend a helping hand but that are unsure of where to start. Each listing has a description of the type of work available through each volunteer opportunity, a summary of costs, and the contact information of the group, institute or organization organizing the trip. Not only will this book spark your interest, chances are, it will give you a serious case of wanderlust.
Websites like the American Hiking Society and the Gesundheit! Institute provides volunteers with ample opportunities to uplift someone’s spirit and leave the world in a better state than what they found it in. You can find out more about program requirements and restrictions by visiting these websites or contacting the Volunteer Coordinator by email.
Other places worth looking into include:
- The Earthwatch Institute. Scientific expeditions that include projects on ecology, zoology and archaeology
- Habitat for Humanity. Building projects in numerous countries that help people obtain affordable housing.
- Rustic Volunteer and Travel. Opportunities to complete projects in China, India, Nepal, Uganda, Argentina, Peru, etc.
No matter what time period you are looking at, there is a Volunteer Vacation opportunity available. Some programs last a few days while others last a few months. Some provide meals and accommodations at no cost to you while others charge a menial participation fee. Whatever way you look at it, it is money well spent. In addition to changing your life, you have the opportunity to change those around you with a simple act of selflessness and kindness.
If you’re interested in a volunteer vacation you may also be interested in caretaking as another option for traveling, vacations, or even as a career option.
Charissa Arsaoui is a freelance writer for ChickSpeak, Buzzine, DisFUNKshion Magazine, Student Stuff, and a guest contributor for Wisebread. She loves thrift related topics and can spot a bargain a mile away.
Charissa is into frugal living and saving money.
I think it's awesome that you're blogging about this. In high school, we were given the opportunity to participate with EarthWatch and it was such a privilege. I think it's a great opportunity for anyone who wants to do a good deed as well as experience a completely different environment. I learned a lot and we even got to present it at our school after we got back. I'm looking forward to doing habitat for humanity after college so let's see how that goes.