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The Last Person Who Read This Found Inspiring Ideas for Volunteer Vacations

By Mark Clarkson
In Volunteering Advice
Nov 1st, 2013

Volunteer Vacations

…and you will too!

Volunteering and vacationing; two of the most feel-good activities in existence. Imagine if there were a way to combine the two into some sort of deeply rewarding and positive travel experience that thousands of people could enjoy. Why has no one thought of this before? Huh?

Oh. It seems that the concept of the volunteer vacation is already up-and-running. Which is lucky for you as it means that there are hundreds of amazing projects for you to get involved with. Without further ado, here’s a countdown of the five best ideas for you to explore…

At Number Five: Sports Coaching

Sport is an amazingly powerful activity which we so often see bring a team or whole community of people together. As a volunteer on a sports project, you’ll encounter some of the happiest and most enthusiastic individuals whose love of life shines through their poverty. Create sports programmes for whole communities and make an enormous difference to their lives. Choose to coach football and who knows, you might just find the next Lionel Messi!

To find out about the day-to-day experience of a sports volunteer in South Africa, check out Robert’s story on

At Number Four: Teaching English

Everyone wants to learn English – it may sound like a cliché, but language skills will create opportunities for people, even those from the most impoverished backgrounds. Many projects will offer volunteers enough free time to discover the local area, wherever your itchy travel feet take you…

Read Alex’s Teach in Thailand article for a taste of volunteering as a teacher.

At Number Three: Human Rights Action

For all of you budding lawyers, a volunteer vacation where you see human rights law in action is valuable experience. Tackling issues like child labour, working conditions and human trafficking across Africa, working to improve prison conditions in Togo or women’s rights and housing in Cambodia, are all examples of how you can make a difference.

Sophie Clarke worked on a human rights project in Ghana. Read about her experience here.

At Number Two: Wildlife & Habitat Conservation

Wildlife protection and habitat conservation projects are happening across the globe from Cambodia to Costa Rica. Whether you fancy protecting sea turtle habitats in Sri Lanka or caring for elephants in sanctuaries in Thailand, the variety of ways you can volunteer is huge, all whilst being in some of the world’s most exotic destinations.

Poppy’s amazing story of her time at the Namibia Wildlife sanctuary will have you booking a place faster than a hungry cheetah.

And the Number One Best Volunteer Vacation Idea Is… House Building

Whatever your own interests and personal background, building an actual house for a family has got to be the most rewarding volunteering experience. It combines all the very best bits about volunteer vacations: helping those in need, making new friends, experiencing a new culture, teamwork, a sense of personal fulfilment, and a readjustment of perspective.

Read this volunteer’s story about how she helped build a home in Ethiopia.

The Takeaway

Whether it’s work or life experience you’re hoping to gain from a volunteer vacation, the most thrilling thing about it is that everybody benefits. There is no downside. You get to help improve people’s lives whilst enriching your own, and you achieve all this in some of the most spectacular parts of the world. Go on; start planning an incredible journey.


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