Login | Register | Subscribe to the GG RSS Feed

Volunteer Travel Hot Spots

Take a voluncation and get in on this feel-good travel trend

Volunteer travel isn't a new term. Cross-Cultural Solutions (CCS) began in 1995, and the Peace Corps Voluncation Power!Voluncation Power!and UK Volunteer Service Overseas have been coordinating volunteers for decades. But business leaders like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett and celebrities like Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are giving traction to a trend that's good for everyone.


And it's not only the rich and powerful taking these vacations. Pricing out a volunteer vacation can be surprisingly cheap - especially if you share a home with a host family.

Travelocity recently surveyed 1,017 people and found 17.7% had previously combined their vacation with volunteering. Last year CheapTickets partnered with United Way to create an online tool that matches domestic volunteer listings with travel options.

If beach lounging bores you and cruising is something only the newly wed and nearly dead do, voluncationing may be for you. Anyone can write a check, but a volunteer vacation gives you an opportunity to work off your stress instead of drowning it in a vat of tequila.

If you're considering a volunteer vacation, do your research. Charlotte Hindle, author of Volunteer: A Traveler's Guide to Making a Difference Around the World, advices you to consider the ethical implications of volunteer travel. Just because you want to volunteer doesn't make it good for everyone.

"Make sure you're not taking a job from a local person," she says. "People see volunteering with rose-tinted glasses and think [they're] going to really contribute. That's not necessarily the case."

Considering a voluncation? Check out these spots:

Santa Ana, Ecuador: If you've dreamed of exploring the Amazon, UVolunteer offers 2 to 12 week programs that assist Santa Ana residents with tasks from introducing managerial systems, reforestation to construction. Fees range from $705 to $2,105, depending on the length of stay and does not include airfare.

Dominican Republic: Habitat for Humanity has built more than 225,000 houses around the world. In the Dominica Republic you can help build hurricane-worthy homes. Work during the week and take the weekends to experience the local culture. A 1-week stay costs $1,170 and does not include airfare.

Dharamsala, India: Cross-Cultural Solutions matches volunteers' professional skills with locally run organizations to contribute to education and childcare efforts. You'll be asked to commit to a minimum of 3 weeks, but you can stay as long as 12 weeks. Your first 3 weeks will cost $2,885, which does not include airfare. For each additional week, add $297.

Have you ever taken a volunteer vacation? Would you take one?

Related Stories

Rate This post

Post new comment

GoGirlfriend Recommendations

Connect With Us



Membership is free and with it you can set up a profile, vote on stories and post your opinions.

Already a member?

Not a member? Join!

Most Recent Comments

  • On Lesbian Adventure Travel, ELLA Travel said "Thanks for the great article!! If you're travelling to Europe check the ELLA International Lesbian Festival (ellafestival.com) and ELLA Travel (ella-travel.com), organising lesbian events and trips! "
  • On 5 Nudist Resorts that Will Blow Your Mind, John Ruze said "Hi Julia, There is a brand new, very popular nudist resort you should think about reporting on in your next article about naturism. It is the New Terra Cotta Clothing Optional Resort and Spa in sunny Palm Springs, California.. The original Terra Cotta Inn was a fantastic nude resort. Repeat guests from around the world stayed there. TCI was sold in Nov 2015 and greatly missed. Well, this July 2017, it was revived at a new location in Palm Springs. The site is HotelTerraCotta.com. Guests are super happy. It's perfect for couples and girlfriend getaways. And Tom and Mary Clare from the original Terra Cotta Inn work with us, so it has the same relaxing, fun feel. "
  • On The Best Naturist Resorts in Ontario, Dennis Wilson said "Love the freedom feeling going nude . 1st time ever was at freedom fields ranch near Tamworth On,Hector & Eyvon are super hosts ,hope to visit this summer but want to learn of more places to visit."
  • On An Open Letter to Hotels Everywhere, Lynn said "I agree on the night light thing. Since hotels have none, I end up keeping the bathroom light on all night with the door ajar. Windows. I understand in the litigious US of A, hotels need to prevent folks from throwing themselves out the windows (or else the hotel could be sued?!!). Ok, fine. But for those of us who dislike A/C and only use it when absolutely necessary, can't we still have the option for some FRESH AIR? There ARE ways to allow windows to open up only so much, while at the same time preventing an entire body from throwing itself out the window. Bedskirts. Am I the only one who gets the skeevies when I see hotel beds with bedskirts that hit the floor? I always had images of food crumbs, bugs, and god only knows what...as being hidden behind that bedskirt. I'd much rather a bedskirt that's at least 2" above the (usually carpetted) floor. Towels. Can't we get nicer towels that don't feel like cardboard? Carpetting. Am I the only one who never walks barefoot in a hotel room ...esp when there's carpet? Blech. I'm sure those things are very rarely cleaned. "
  • On How to Choose a Cruise Ship Cabin on Your Next Cruise, Tinu said "Thank you for this post! I was dragging my feet about going on a cruise. Now that I know there's such a thing as a balcony cabin, I can't wait to book a trip!"

Blogs We Love

beautiful Vancouver, British ColumbiaCheck out our GoGirlfriend Facebook page to follow us as we seek new adventures and create memories in our own part of the world.