I did a segment for the CBS Morning News in Washington DC a few years ago on volunteer vacations and it was an eye opener. Mistakenly I thought “volunteer” meant one was an unpaid participant in some worthy project and your way was paid by the organization in exchange for your labors. Well there aren’t any or very few that operate that way. The majority of the non-profits operating these beneficial programs require you to get yourself to the destination and pay for your food, housing and possibly more.
We’ve published several stories on GallaghersTravels.com from Global Volunteers team leader Francoise Yohalem as she goes about the globe involved in their projects. She was just in Vietnam and also Montana with various teams of volunteers.
I have never done a volunteer vacation although I do a lot of volunteer work in the geographic areas where I live. I think this is a wonderful cause to support but would mention that you need to thoroughly check out the organizations that seem to have the program destinations you will be the most interested in.
When my daughter was small, she loved horses and riding and one summer together with a few other little girls decided to convince us that they should go to a horse camp in South Dakota. One parent drove them and another picked them up. We didn’t know all the details until they were all back safe and sound but very dirty! The bunk houses were old chicken coops, not a single fresh vegetable or fruit was served in a weeks time and sundry other horrifying issues.
All kinds of travel is broadening for anyone of any age but do make sure you get good references and check the organization thoroughly with current facts not a brochure with pictures ten years old.
Francoise is our expert and you’ll enjoy reading her stories.