During the summer, many people like to take a break from their lives and go on vacation. Whether it’s to the beach, the mountains, or a bustling a city, vacations are a great time to unwind. For those who are passionate about civic engagement, a vacation can also be a great time to help others. This year, consider planning a vacation with a volunteering component.
Give back while outdoors
Some people may be turned off about volunteering during vacation because they incorrectly think that they need to be indoors to volunteer. However, many volunteering opportunities take place outdoors, so you have the chance to soak up the sun and take in the sights. The American Hiking Society offers trail-building trips throughout the country that give you the chance to meet new people while working in the wilderness as a public steward. Some of these trips include transportation from one campsite to another, adding a road trip onto your vacation.
See the world and help others
Traveling abroad is expensive, and the cost deters many people from the chance to experience the world. Working with an international volunteer organization can help to reduce those costs and connect you with groups abroad that need assistance. Look at organizations like International Volunteer HQ and A Broader View, which boasts some of the lowest program fees for international volunteering programs. These organizations let you browse opportunities by country or by cause, so it’s great for those who have a clear idea of where they’d like to make an impact.
Give back as a family
If you have a family, taking a solo trip to volunteer likely isn’t’ possible, and some of the overseas trips may not work with children. However, there are volunteer opportunities specifically designed for families and children. Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms is one such organization with family-orientated volunteer opportunities. Families can receive free room and board in exchange for working on small farms for a set period of time and learning more about organic agriculture.
Do your research
As with anything, you should always do research before jumping into volunteering abroad. You don’t want to end up in a bad situation, especially when you’re in a strange place where you aren’t comfortable. Research the organization that you choose to volunteer with to make sure that they’re reputable. Use tools like Charity Navigator and the Better Business Bureau Give to do so. Look into the country that you plan to travel to and ensure you have all of the necessary vaccines before going there. Plan out how much the trio will cost in its entirety and save up money so you will be able to afford all of the associated expenses, such as flights, meals and accommodations.