Thinking of trying a Volunteer vacation as a new experience and way of helping others. These tips will help you get started.
Image by Darlene via Flickr
Have you recently decided to Volunteer but you don’t want to do the typical food bank or soup kitchen? You want your experience to be something so much more for both you and those you’re helping. Volunteer vacations allow you to help others in another country or culture. These are perfect for all kinds of Volunteers from young adults to senior citizens and including couples and families.
Tips for Joining a Volunteer Vacation Group
Volunteer vacations or Volunteerism allows you see the world while giving back to others. You can find a variety of options available from eco-tourism ones like caring for giant panda bears in China, construction projects like rebuilding and restoring homes in Haiti or caring for young children like when you volunteer in Bangkok. It’s often best to pick a project that fits around your personality and interests as well as follow these tips and steps of the entire process:
- Go with an organization that will match you with a vacation that highlights your interests and abilities. You don’t want to end up rebuilding houses if you don’t know anything about construction. Think about your comfort level, considering if you want do want an active Volunteer option like leading recreation or language programs for children and teens or helping refugees. Otherwise, you have other options that allow you explore your host country for part of time and work for only about half of it.
- Fill out the appropriate paperwork. This may include an online application, your deposit, and a criminal background check, especially if you are going to be working with children. Typically, you’ll send the rest of your money a month before you leave.
- Research any information about your assigned project. Find out where you will be staying and what the accommodations will be like. Determine if you will be staying in like dorm like accommodations with several Volunteers or if you’ll be staying in cheaper motels or hotels. Book your flight to arrive the Friday before your project officially starts so you have time for orientation and exploring. In addition, make sure to invest in travel insurance, in case of any unforeseen issues
- Pay attention to health and safety regulations. Get checked by your physician and receive any needed vaccinations for Volunteering in Bangkok. Make sure that there are no travel warnings for where you’ll be going. In addition, stay close to your group when exploring the community as there really is safety in numbers and your Volunteer guide will know the safe areas to take you.
- Attend Volunteer orientation. You’ll take two hour long courses to learn some basic foreign language to better understand the locals. In addition, you’ll learn the inner workings of the Asian culture and what is appropriate to do around the natives.
- Explore the area safely. While you may be eager to try international cuisine or explore markets and temples, make sure that they’re in a safe area and that the food and water is safe there. If you run into any issues, most Volunteer organizations bring along a travelling nurse to assist you.
If you take the time to research it thoroughly, a Volunteer vacation can be the experience of a lifetime for you and those you’re helping.