Read these smart tips from Savvy Sugar to find out how best to plan a volunteer vacation.
A volunteer vacation offers a great way to see and experience a different culture and can be an especially fulfilling way to spend time off. The concept's not for everyone—no four-star hotels or five-course meals—and there's service work involved, making it less of a "break," but it can be an affordable way to travel somewhere exotic and truly experience a new location separate from the confines of a resort. If this sounds up your traveling alley, consider these three steps before committing:
Figure Out Your Cause
Passionate about animals or the environment? Education or children's issues? Something else entirely? No matter the area in which you'd most like to make a difference, research an opportunity that best fits you. You'll end up more satisfied if you are working for a true passion rather than picking a volunteer vacation based on a destination desire. Your duty there is to help, not to rest and relax, so do your homework for a volunteer vacation that fits your interests and location needs!
Figure Out Your Budget
Despite the word "volunteer," these vacations usually cost you some money. Finding a reputable volunteer vacation company (like Global Volunteers) is key—remember, higher fees may mean more security and comfort in high-risk areas. As an added benefit, part of your program fees and travel expenses are tax-deductible and should go toward the organization you're helping out.
Figure Out a Plan
A good resource for finding opportunities in a predetermined destination is the Volunteer Abroad section of the Transitions Abroad portal for worldwide options. It describes causes and provides tips for affordable housing if you'd like to add a volunteering portion to your regular trip, too.
To read this article in its original form and for more great tips, head over to Savvy Sugar.
Image credit: Flickr/Kanu Hawaii.