- Posted July 10, 2014 by
Volunteering and vacations can be connected
After searching for a unique way to spend summer vacation, I noticed there is a growing trend among travelers to combine vacations with volunteer opportunities in one trip and create a different experience in the process. The trend has been called voluntourism by some experts, and it can have a powerful impact on the traveler. Since volunteer options continue to expand, it is easy to find a way to help during a trip at almost any destination.
One of the most difficult steps of combining volunteering and traveling is to select the right type of vacation. Most travelers turn to popular travel sites for ideas and begin to plan a way to add volunteer opportunities to the mix. In addition, there are programs designed to combine these two aspects, so the options are extensive.
Travelers share that selecting a purpose for the trip is an easy way to help narrow down the choices and make it reasonable. As they question who and how they want to help during the vacation, they often discover that they have several ideas about their goals for the trip. This can help reduce the amount of time spent on research while helping you make a list of criteria.
You can create your own voluntourism trip or choose one of the programs available from nonprofits, charities and other organizations, but any of these decisions will require preparation. Most people remember the need for visas, passports and vaccines. However, you may also need special permits to help in certain parts of the world, medical insurance may need to be obtained and cultural differences may need to be studied. Language barriers, food changes and water filtration may need to become a part of your plans. It may be tempting to jump into packing for the trip, but all of these aspects must be finalized first.
Despite their best intentions, some travelers who combine vacations with volunteering have run into problems. One solution is to have realistic expectations and understand that these types of trips may require more flexibility than a normal vacation. It is also important to consider the limitations of your destination. Most travelers understand that exclusive hotels, fancy restaurants and luxury spas may be miles away, but they often forget that hospitals, and any type of medical help can also be distant. Volunteering during a vacation can be an eye-opening experience for adults and children, so it is easy to understand why the trend is becoming popular.