Do you want a vacation where you can recharge, refresh, and revise your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being? And do you also want a vacation that benefits the world around you? The answer to your quest is a Volunteer Vacation. To find these vacations you can travel across the country or around the world with opportunities to study the environment and preserve the landscape. Your choices are limitless.
According to the Adventure Travel Trade Association, fewer people are seeking traditionally empty energy rush adventure activities in 2018. While activities such as mountain climbing and skydiving may be taking a nosedive, travelers enthusiast are reshaping the meaning of adventure travel. Countless people are seeking personal growth and immersive cultural experiences as the most important aspects of their travel adventures in 2018. The American Express Travel also reported that the demand to learn about new cultures is the top travel goal for 72% of people in 2018.
Six benefits of a volunteer vacation?
1. Helping Others
When you volunteer, you are making a direct impact on the people affected by your cause. Whether you’re taking care of malnourished infants, fostering an abandoned or abused pet, or building a home for a family in need, you are making a tangible change in a life.
2. Learning Something New
While learning new skills to enhance your career outlook is one of the most valuable benefits of volunteering. Or learning something new for the sake of learning something new enriches you and expand your world.
3. Expands your horizons
One of the most exciting benefits of volunteering is the opportunity to see the world and travel to places you might never have considered.
4. Improves Your Physical and Mental Health
Physical activity is good for your heart and health. When you volunteer, you may get in a bit of a workout. But there are other health benefits of volunteering. If you’re volunteering outside, you’ll also have increased exposure to healthy Vitamin D from the sun’s rays. From a mental health standpoint, study after study shows that when we help others, we experience lasting happiness.
5. Personal Growth and Breaking Out of Your Comfort Zone
And the biggest benefits of volunteering are the chances to break out of your daily routine and shatter your comfort zone. Getting out of your comfort zone helps you grow and expand your mind. And it may also increase your creativity.
6. Getting the Job You Want
If you want to transition into a new field or get your foot in the door of the non-profit sector, volunteering can help you make the transition to a whole new career
What to consider in planning that may help you have a successful volunteer vacation.
| What kind of an impact are you looking to have?|
| How will the project you choose to benefit the local community? (The latter is of particular concern since less reputable charities and companies that overstate responsible-travel claims are all too common.)|
| Determine if you have the rights skills set. If you’re not a numbers person, you probably don’t want to collect data for a field team-even if it is in the Caribbean|
| Make sure to ask what the other volunteers are like? Are they mostly retired? College graduates? Church? Find a group that’s comfortable for you.|
| Find out about the intensity of the labor – will you work all day in the sun or have days off?|
| Check out the volunteer organization’s experience level. It’s best to find one that offers more than 20 trips a year with more than 200 volunteers.|
| If you’re donating your time for a charitable cause, find out if you can write off your entire vacation. Check with your accountant on this one.
How to find good volunteer experiences:
Cross-Cultural Solution nonprofit with well-thought-out projects based on community needs in 11 countries.
Earthwatch Sets the gold standard for voluntourism, with projects that often focus on scientific research and wildlife conservation and emphasize education for the traveler.
Global Volunteers Founded in 1984 by a young, idealistic American couple, this nonprofit organization runs community projects all over the world.
Habitat for Humanity Provides a perfect introductory voluntourism experience, though in some places the home building might be better done by locals. Participants are well taken care of, and the organization contributes money to the local economy.
Global Vision International Runs 100 programs, partnering with local groups in 25 countries, ranging from the Jane Goodall Institute to Rainforest Concern.
The Fuller Center for Housing Global Builders Takes groups of volunteers for a week or two at a time to construct homes in 11 countries around the world.