Frequently Asked Questions:
1. What is volunteer travel?
According to Wikipedia, volunteer travel, volunteer vacations or voluntourism is travel which includes volunteering for a charitable cause. According to voluntourism.org, volunteer travel blends volunteer service with the traditional elements of a travel experience such as sightseeing, history, the arts, water sports, shopping, etc. In recent years, these “bite-sized” volunteer vacations have grown more in popularity.
Volunteer travel ranges from providing low-skill work clean-up to providing high-skill medical aid here and abroad. Volunteer travel participants are diverse but typically share a desire to “do something good” as part of their travel experience. Volunteer travel is also known as: community tourism, responsible tourism, philanthropic travel, service learning travel, immersion travel, faith based travel, mission travel, gap year travel, reality tours, humanitarian travel, etc.
We specialize in “short term” volunteer travel experiences.
2. Why should I participate in a volunteer travel program?
Volunteer travel can enhance your overall travel experience by connecting to you to the people and culture of your chosen destination in a unique and special way. It is an incredibly rewarding way to travel and to experience a destination – a reciprocal process that is beneficial to both
the host organization and the participant traveler. In preparation for this type of experience, it is important to reflect on what your driving motivation is. Participants will have their own unique goals and objectives for wanting to travel to do good. We partner with organizations that focus on projects that have long-term viability and sustainability, which enable you to become a link in a process that will hopefully continue long after you have left that destination. We believe that this form of philanthropy travel fosters learning, empowerment, mutual growth, respect and understanding.
3. If I am volunteering, shouldn’t my costs to travel be covered?
This is our number one most frequently asked question. Never do we want to cause a financial hardship to an organization in our desire to give back. Even though you are there a volunteer, you are still responsible for your own travel expenses. Your personal travel style and individual group needs (how, when, why, and where you travel) will of course drive those expenses. You may also have other fees that you will cover logistical coordination, staffing and supplies needed for a specific non-profit project.
4. Is it better to travel with an organized group when traveling to do good?
When participating in this form of travel and especially when traveling abroad, it is important to work with experienced professionals who are familiar with the project, understand the volunteer travel industry and, most importantly, know and understand the local destination you are visiting. Our international network enables us to source program partners from around the world. Our extensive network includes local entities with personnel who live and work in the communities of the destinations you may wish to serve. Traveling with an organized group can help you to avoid pitfalls as well as create a mutually beneficial experience for both the traveler and the participatory non-profit organization.
5. What skills are required to participate in a volunteer vacation?
Your desire to help combined with an open heart and an open mind are the primary prerequisites. Depending upon your skill set, we can then match you with the right project based on your experience, desired activity and comfort level. Safety is our utmost concern. If you are working with children, a background check will be required.
6. What support is provided to volunteer vacation participants?
To ensure a safe and meaningful travel experience, we provide professional assistance and local coordination. Travel to do good in country personnel are accessible during your entire trip. Trip briefings will familiarize you with the necessary prerequisites for your trip. You will also learn more about your non- profit partner organization and what specifically you will be doing as a volunteer. Before the trip, we also encourage (when possible) a “meet up” via video conferencing that will enable you to connect with the local in country coordinator and non-profit partner (via Skype)
7. How much actual time is devoted to volunteering?
Whether you devote your entire trip to volunteering or wish to have a blending of volunteer time, down time or other tourist activities, will depend solely on you. Some projects have specific time requirements while others may not. Our goal is to always create a travel to do good experience that is mutually beneficial to all involved
8. What are the itinerary options?
Travel to do good projects are in the U.S., Central and South America, the Caribbean, Africa and India. Some of the options for volunteer travel projects include building and painting, community development, education, medical relief and women’s empowerment. Many of our projects focus on the United Nations Millennium Goals.