Give your wanderlust dreams a twist by opting for Voluntary Tourism or Voluntourism

Give your wanderlust dreams a twist by opting for Voluntary Tourism or Voluntourism

Enrich your life by extending a helping hand to make a difference, opt for Voluntary Tourism (Voluntourism).

If you wish to travel far and wide but also like to make the trip worthwhile, then voluntourism is the way ahead for you. Voluntourism is Voluntary + Tourism. And as the title suggests, there are many certified agencies that offer smart voluntary programmes, which can be utilised for volunteering.

ST1Organisations in Africa welcome tourists for a week or more as they nurture wildlife. Animals have this unique gesture of thanking humans, you must try this unique ‘connect’!
Suitable for students, young corporate employees, honchos and any traveller who has a skill that can be shared with others. If this interests you further then you can get started by searching for top options online (take inspiration from our edition today). Select your subject of interest (be in teaching English, supporting wildlife conservation, saving the oceans by cleaning plastic wastes away or providing medical aid, etc) along with time duration that you can spare and country you would like to explore. Enrolling for the programmes and getting selected for it can take a bit of planning time, so remain focussed and apply for many options.

What remains in store for you: Once you are selected for the programme, your travel and stay gets sponsored and you may need to pay some part of the fee too. You can reach the host destination and live with a local host family (yes, just like a homestay). Make sure you make a positive impact on the communities during your stay. International internship programmes can get you a certified experience citation that can enhance your work profile. Wondering what the age limit is, then most programmes are open for volunteers between 16 years to 75+. Easy, isnft it!

Care Projects: Working with children can be good fun. If you have the patience and enjoy imparting knowledge to kids (sometimes with special needs), you can feel a high level of satisfaction by improving their quality of life.

ST2Volunteer scuba diver Dan Trehey of Weeki Wachee, transports a bag full of algae from the spring basin at the Weeki Wachee Spings State Park in Spring Hills in Florida.
Nature Conservation Projects: All of us are aware of climate change and also know that the answer lies in Mother Naturefs conservation. Make your efforts count by protecting endangered animals and fragile ecosystems. If you like to rough it out then opt to work in the heart of the Amazon Rainforest. Help with anti-poaching initiatives.

Building Projects: Use your own two hands to make a difference. A lack of infrastructure can hold a community back, so help them by teaching them to build easy spaces. This could be toilets, houses, or classrooms.

Region: Luang Prabang, Laos

The town of Luang Prabang in Laos is a World Heritage Site and attracts tourists from across the world. Located in northern Laos, the lush, green town is situated on a mountainous peninsula formed by the Mekong and the Nam Khan Rivers. History has it that this town was the celebrated center of Buddhism in the region. In fact, Luang Prabang was once known as the capital of the powerful Silk Route kingdom of Lane Xang (Kingdom of a Million Elephants).

The built heritage of Luang Prabang is considered to be in harmony with its environment. Travellers love to stay with the locals in their traditional Lao houses made of wood and bamboo, coated with wattle and daub. Interestingly, colonial buildings are in contrast, as they are built with brick and have beautiful balconies and decorative features. Most striking being the temples that are built of stone and are well-maintained with natural green spaces in the heart of the city, and along the riverbanks.

ST3The vast countryside of Laos is lush green and truly inviting! It is situated amidst neighbouring countries of: Burma, Cambodia, China, Thailand and Vietnam.
It is a great idea to pursue volunteering options where you can get to visit the ancient city of Luang Prabang. Help with teaching conversational English to novice Buddhist monks and other students. The programme guidelines effectively enable volunteers to impart skills to mentor and support. At the same time, you can get to learn about Lao culture, history, cuisine, rituals and language. One benefit that shall reflect instantly is the basic English speaking skills that the students display. This aids them in establishing connections with the outsiders with much more confidence. And eventually, also help in aiding their chances of future employment, and their quality of life.

ST4Cycling is an environment-friendly and healthy method to explore a new destination like Laos.
Most volunteer programmes provide centrally-located guesthouse or dormitories where shared rooms and basic amenities along with meals are provided as part of the programme. After the volunteer sessions, you can visit the city’s temples and attractions, including the Kuang Si Waterfall (great spot for a dip and swim). Take a ride on the Mekong River and visit the historical Pak Ou Caves with its thousands of Buddha images. Enjoy shopping at local markets too.

Region: Gautemala

ST5Be a part of a volunteer programme overseas to meet like-minded people.
The city of Gautemala is a popular tourist destination. Thanks to the many cute little shops and boutiques where you can buy souvenirs, traditional ceramics, textiles and handicrafts. The Guatemalan (yes, that’s what the locals call themselves) are proud of their indigenous culture. Ask them what the country’s name means and a quick reminder of all-things green would come — ‘Land of Many Trees’.

ST6Make the earth green. Build a better tomorrow for your kids today.
Volunteer programmes here are all about conservation projects with sustainable practices. Participants get to learn about and support responsible farming methods in Guatemala. These techniques could be of great use once you get back home too. Working on an organic farming placement, you’ll learn each step of the production process, including planting, harvesting, processing and packaging.