Taking care of wounded animals, cleaning litter from the beach and assisting to deliver medical supplies to a disaster-stricken area. This may not sound like your to-do list when going on your dream vacations, but have you ever wondered the impact you can contribute if you do so? Travelling and making a difference at the same time…
There are personal and emotional rewards for being able to accomplish two goals in one trip: fulfilment with your objective of travelling and the priceless act of giving back.
Volunteering comes in different forms, it could be from short-term, part-time, full-time and for some it could turn out to be a really long-term project. A growing number of travellers nowadays are combining fun holidays with an opportunity to do good in the world.
Here are 10 tips for volunteering before you embark to a journey of making a difference. Make sure you look into the pros and cons before even pushing for that humanitarian holiday!
1- Identify the issues that are important to you
Think of all the things you worry about and search for an organization that works for that cause. Remember, most organizations focus on one cause so think of the issue you feel most strongly about.
2- Think of the skills you can offer
You can look for volunteer work that match your specific skills or interests. Several associations prefer volunteers that already have experience with certain equipment or tools.
You can also look for volunteer work that is similar to jobs you’ve done in the past. As long as you enjoy it and you’re able to offer something in return…
3- Be physically and mentally prepared
Know what you can and cannot do and always remember that before you help out others you must first help yourself.
4- Don’t over-commit
If you’re going to travel after completing volunteer work, be sure to plan it out. Think of all the time you’re willing to give to an organization so you won’t shortchange them and you don’t feel pressured for not being able to fully commit.
Most importantly, plan the days you’ll spend travelling! There’s nothing better than travelling after working and helping others.
5- Financial stability
Be sure you’re financially stable before you extend it to others. Consider that over-investing your money can ruin an otherwise amazing experience.
6- Do your homework first
Know exactly what organizations you are tapping. Are they legitimate? Will they actually contribute to your goal of making a difference? Will your well-earned money go to where you want it to go?
7- Consider volunteering with friends or family
Most people go on their own and experience their first solo trip but you can also go with your friends, groups, parents and family! Volunteering will bring them together and introduce them to skills and experiences they’ve never encountered. Imagine all the stories you’ll bring home!
8- Think outside the box!
There are a lot of community-based organizations out there. We’re pretty sure they’re some you’ve never even though about. Do your research and you’ll find the perfect volunteer organization for you.
9- Be yourself
Give your 100% to your volunteer work: your heart, sense of humour, enthusiasm, skills… everything! What you give to others will surely be returned and these emotions and experiences will fill your heart and soul with joy.
10- Have fun!
No one forces you to volunteer and it shouldn’t feel like a chore. Remember, you’ve decided to do this so have fun with whatever you decide to do. Even the most mundane thing can be fun if you manage it with a sense of humor and excitement for making a difference!
So what are your thoughts? If you’re thinking of going for it, check out or Volunteer page with the best destinations and tips!