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Volunteer Travel

Travel2013-1-22By: Libby Znaimer

Combining volunteer work with holidays was once the domain of nonprofits, small adventure companies, and granola-crunching backpackers. But it’s a style of travel to suit these tough economic times, and it’s becoming more popular especially for Zoomers who want to give back.

According to an American survey, only fourteen percent of people have taken a holiday, but fifty-five percent say they would like to. But does spending a few days as a volunteer in Peru or Timbuktu really do any good? And how can you assess which projects are worthy?

According to voluntourism.org, a website that specializes in volunteer trips, the key is good preparation. First, you should establish the pupose of your experience. For instance, if you’re trying to build your resume, there may be better ways of doing that.

Second, assess your skills to see what services you can provide

Then you have to evaluate things like your personal minimum requirements for accommodations. Do you need your own room with running water?

How much time do you want to dedicate to volunteering and how much to travel & tourism?

How sensitive are you to deprivation, poverty, and health issues? What’s your tolerance for extremes in climate? You won’t be ready to choose a trip until you figure all this out.


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