Jan 24 • 3 mins read
Volunteer Vacations – The New Way to Travel
Vacations bring immense joy. You can go to an exotic location, park yourself comfortably in a resort, recover your lost sleep and splurge to your hearts’ content. But these days, holidays are gaining a new definition, especially among the millennials. Travellers are not only looking for a getaway for their own enjoyment but want to spend their time doing something more meaningful. This desire for this sort of enrichment has given rise to volunteer tourism, volunteer vacations, or what you also call ‘voluntourism’. So, you can now make a great vacation meaningful. It also helps you find an avenue to be able to contribute wherever you go.
Some organisations charge a high fee for being a part of their volunteer programmes. There are some that are quite affordable as well. People who go out on such trips are mostly students on a study break or young professionals on a career hiatus. Therefore, there are organisations that even allow you to work with them for free. You must look around for what suits your needs and budget.
Volunteer Programme Vacations
There has been a growing interest in volunteer vacations in the last few years, and it continues to increase. These programs cater to the interests of people who want to help on vacation, and it ranges from restoring an ecosystem in a location, to taking care of endangered animals, or even something as simple as helping a family with gardening. There is so much you can do while vacationing to make a difference. There are a variety of voluntourism options available. Some NGOs and other organisations help you choose the right programme for you.
Family Volunteer Vacations
Volunteer vacations are not just restricted to individuals, they extend to the entire family as well. Such trips include working in day-care centres, teaching English in a local school, gardening in the hosts’ house, or in a local animal sanctuary. Some families also enjoy going hiking together and living with a local family to exchange ideas and learn about their local culture. Such vacations are affordable and enjoyable as well. These vacations also give you a chance as a family to provide joy in other peoples’ lives.
Wildlife Volunteer Vacations
These vacations help you protect the natural environment by contributing to saving rare species of animals. Lending your support to care for them enriches not just their life, but yours too. Some countries are popular destinations for working with and observing wildlife. Madagascar, Bolivia, Australia, Ecuador are popular for their enthralling wildlife. There are various volunteering programmes which provide opportunities to not just enjoy watching these creatures, but also work for them. India too has wildlife volunteer vacation opportunities. Some of the best programmes are provided by organisations like Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), Wildlife SOS, Snow Leopard Trust, The Great Tiger Project, etc. You get to be among a plethora of animals like rhinoceros, the Royal Bengal Tiger, elephants, sloth bears, whales, sharks, wild buffalo, etc, and a unique chance to work with them.
Hiking Volunteer Vacations
For those who are physically active and love meeting new people in interesting terrain- this is a perfect opportunity for you to make a memorable trip! Volunteer hiking tourism is gaining fast ground among youngsters today. It not only lets you exercise your leg muscles thoroughly but also gives you an opportunity to be hosted by local families who enjoy the company of guests. Staying with them is an enriching experience as you can learn everything about their local culture, cuisine, beliefs, heritage, etc. Hiking and trekking in the Himalayas is a hot favourite among people in India. Various tourism companies can help you organise your trip. Some of them include Volunteering India, India Hikes or Work Away.
Often, volunteers get quite attached to the communities they work in, or even the animals they take care of. This attachment becomes reason enough for them to keep coming back to the same place and doing the same work. There is no feeling that is more satisfying than being the reason someone else smiles. So, to help and provide relief to another is very heartening, and this is what keeps them going. Through volunteer vacations, you explore an adventurous, yet sensitive side to your personality and your enthusiasm can have a positive long-term impact on those you work with.
You can choose from a variety of volunteer opportunities in the fields of education, construction, healthcare, childcare, wildlife and conservation, community development and social enterprise. As far as financing your volunteer vacation is concerned, there are many organizations that require those volunteers to pay their placement costs. These included expenses like your travel within the country, accommodation, food and other personal costs. MoneyTap’s line of credit can be handy and be used as a personal loan for travel while fulfilling your desired needs to make the most out of your volunteer vacation trip.
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