The holiday season is high time for baking, shopping, gift-giving, and get togethers, but the holidays are also prime time for two things that don’t seem, at first glance, to go together – taking vacations (especially if you live somewhere cold) and giving to those less fortunate. Why not combine your time off with your charitable side? That’s right, take a volunteer vacation and help those in need. Here’s how to get involved in global charities.
Choose your location
First things first, where do you want to go? Think about the climate you’re after, sights you’re hoping to see and environment you want. Where you want to be geographically will impact the types of volunteer opportunities you can choose from. However, if what you do is more important than where you do it, start with choosing the type of volunteering you want to do.
Decide on the experience
Next, what are you interested in doing? There are countless opportunities that need volunteers and offering different types of experiences.
Animal welfare and conservation
Working with children
- Volunteer at an orphanage in Cambodia
- Work at a children’s hospital in Ecuador
- Help underprivileged children in Argentina
- Environmental conservation in Mexico
- Tropical dry forest conservation in Costa Rica
- Get involved with climate change research in Borneo
- Help save cultural treasures in Italy
- Volunteer on a cultural Inca project in Peru
- Help excavate an ancient Thai Village
You can also teach abroad, work on community development, care for the elderly and much more, depending on your interests and passions.
How long to do you want to volunteer for? Next you’ll want to decide whether to spend your entire vacation or just a portion of your vacation helping out. Volunteer vacations are usually fairly flexible in terms of your time. Take one week, two weeks, several months or even a year depending on your budget.
Volunteering: Budget and cost
You also have look at how much money you want to spend. Not only will you have to pay for a flight, but you’ll also have to pay a certain amount to participate, which usually goes toward room and board, food and equipment and training (if necessary). Cost depends on the location and the activities you’ll be doing, so before you get excited about a potential opportunity, figure out how much you’re able to spend and then make your decision.
Volunteer vacations for teens
More teens are choosing to spend part of their summers outside in the woods – away from cell phones and video games, but close to nature. Volunteer Vacations for high school students with Washington Trails Association are fun, teach new skills, and maintain backcountry trails for hikers.