Been around the world and seen it all? Looking for something new and exciting to keep you occupied on your holiday? Have you thought about a volunteer vacation?
Volunteer vacations are becoming increasingly popular around the world, with more and more people looking for something a little bit exciting to do on their holidays. These expeditions involve giving back a little bit with your time-off in various destinations around the world. From coral reef conservation in the Caribbean to volunteering with leopards in Namibia, there is a fantastic opportunity for everyone.
People of all ages and abilities can take part in a volunteer vacation. For many trips you don’t even need any prior experience, although for most coral reef or other marine conservation trips you will need SCUBA diving experience and qualifications. Giving back needn’t mean cleaning toilets or building schools, many projects are less physical but more interesting including collecting data on the local wildlife or environment or simple administrative tasks.
Volunteer vacations provide you with an opportunity to see a part of countries around the world you might not otherwise see. Sunning yourself by a pool in Dubai won’t open your eyes to the native species of the United Arab Emirates such as the Oryx. By following the back-packers trail in Peru you might miss helping to conserve the lesser known wildlife in the Amazon rainforest. After your trip, you certainly won’t be short of stories to tell your friends and family!
If you’re looking for a relaxing holiday or a laid-back gap year adventure, a volunteer vacation might not be for you. While the aim of all volunteer vacations is for the volunteers to have a good time, there is also work to be done to support the charities and local organisations that have organised the trip. They are also not likely to be suitable for those looking to travel the world on a shoe-string as you’ll need to pay for the trip and your flights. If you’re unsure about whether you’d enjoy a volunteer vacation, research other people’s experiences online before signing up.
A volunteer vacation is sure to be an enlightening and rewarding experience for everyone involved. There are a range of opportunities available and organisers are always on hand to advise which might be the best trip for you.
Bio: This article has been written by Laura Jennings for Biosphere Expeditions. An international not-for-profit organisation running wildlife conservation volunteer vacations worldwide.