Volunteer travel combines travel with an opportunity to help others in foreign countries. With programs ranging from serious expeditions to volunteer vacations mixing tours and travel with work, there really is something for everyone. Most programs are less expensive than a vacation of the same length and the program fees are usually inclusive of everything except airfare. There is a wide range of countries available to volunteer in, along with opportunities to work in the US.
Global Vision International
Global VIsion International is a company that sets up community and charity operations in different countries around the world. They charge for people to participate and then use that money to fund the projects. They offer an extensive selection of high school programs, that combine volunteering with guided adventure travel in exotic locations. Locations include Mexico, the US, Greece, Spain, Thailand, Fiji, Africa and the UK. The trips last about two weeks and everything is included, all accommodation, food and supplies. For example, a four-week teaching experience in Laos is $2,372 and a four-week teaching program in Costa Rica is $1,950.
Global Volunteers has a range of programs in the US and around the world and really has a lot to offer families. They have programs for solo travelers, couples and families with kids, allowing everyone to participate in the experience. They make a point of welcoming LGBT and non-traditional families to join their experiences as well. They offer many projects, including some interesting ones in St. Lucia in the Caribbean and in Cuba. Also projects in China and Peru. They also have a structure to enable participants to fundraise their fee. Weekly fees range from $2,300 to $2,800 and include all food, lodging, supplies and even airport transfers.
Vida Volunteer specializes in medical, dental and veterinary volunteer missions around the world. The volunteer programs are aimed at medical professionals and pre-med, med and nursing students but are open to anyone with a serious interest. This is serious medical outreach, mainly in South America. Volunteers work at field medical clinics in areas underserved by medical professionals. A ten-day program in Guatemala costs about $1,800. This includes all food, supplies, accommodations and transportation, but not international flights. In addition to helping people out in these remote areas, Vida Volunteer also does veterinary clinics to help the local animal population too. The company offers help for fundraising the trip cost and has a structure to allow others to donate to support participants.