Voluntourism is a popular form of international travel that combines the good intentions of volunteering with the excitement of tourism. Aimed at those looking to make a positive change in the world, voluntourism provides a safe and easy way for tourists to help others in developing or devastated communities around the world, without the typical time commitments seen in more traditional forms of international volunteering.
To help keep costs at a minimum, voluntourists often live with host families while staying in their selected region. Such arrangements are dually beneficial. Not only is the local community rewarded by the efforts of generous volunteers, but the volunteers themselves are rewarded by being directly immersed into the local culture, giving them a perspective not easily seen from the vantage point of a standard tourist. Reaching all areas of the globe, voluntourism spans countless interests including archeology, building, care, conservation, farming, sports, and teaching. Various programs focusing on interests such as these are then tailored to each volunteer's age, schedule, and level of commitment. Business voluntourism is also becoming popular and can be great for team building, public relations, and employee morale. For youths interested in voluntourism, programs are available for high school-aged individuals through several organizations over the summer months. There are also spring break and gap year voluntourism opportunities aimed at college-aged individuals looking to make a difference. Not only does participation in such programs leave many youths with a new perspective on the world, it can also make for an interesting addition to the participants' college applications or resumes.
Before finalizing any voluntourism plans, it's important that you research a number of different voluntourism organizations as not all offer the same options or experiences. It's also worth noting that in some cases, the organization may help subsidize costs like airfare, insurance, and personal allowances, while in other cases, it's the volunteers who must cover the full cost of the trip.
So, if you want to see the world while doing something meaningful with your life, it's time to give the idea of voluntourism some real consideration. By becoming a voluntourist, you can build lasting friendships, have rewarding experiences, and make a real difference in the lives of those living in developing or devastated communities around the world.