Have you ever thought about volunteering abroad? It is often an amazing life-changing experience but it can get quite expensive if you don’t do your research.
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There are a few things you can do to save money when volunteering abroad. (And if you are a student, a teacher, or are under 30 you can check out STA Travel which offers great discounts!)
5 Ways to Save Money When Volunteering Abroad
1) Pick the kind of volunteering you want to do (ex: wildlife, teaching English, etc.) and research different destinations to do this in. Some countries may have cheaper options for volunteering or you don’t need an expensive visa to visit. For instance, South Africa does not require a visa from certain countries if you stay less than 90 days. Other African countries expect you to have one no matter how long you stay.
2) After you determine what and where you want to volunteer, try to find all the available projects that are similar to what you want to do. Most of the big name volunteer websites do not list the actual project title. They don’t want you to look up that project on your own. The reason: you could save hundreds of dollars by going directly to the project and not through a volunteer travel agency.
- Write down all the website you find for your desired project to keep track of where you have searched.
- Check all big name volunteer travel agencies to get as much information about the project as you can.
- Try to search for the project on your own to get the better price.
- Ex: A 1-week volunteer project with elephants in Thailand costs around $1800 (flight not included) from a big name site. I was able to find the same or similar program for around $350!!! (flight not included). Everything else was the same: food, accommodation, and local transportation included. That is a lot of money you could save!
3) Check for food inclusion in the price. Your main meals typically are included, but additional snacks or alcoholic beverages are not. However, some places do not include food at all. Food exclusion can be good and bad. Food would be another thing that you have to budget for, but you may be able to cut down on your costs by buying your food yourself. Just remember to stick to a budget.
4)Next, check to see when flights are the cheapest. I made a mistake flying to South Africa in our summer (their winter), and flights were $2200! The next time I flew in our winter (their summer) and flights were $1200! That’s $1000 saved just from the flight!
5) Many volunteer programs give you a day or two of free time per week. Research ahead of time the types of extra activities you want to do. When you get to your volunteer program, see if they offer any discounts on those activities. They may get discounts through agreements with nearby excursions.
To summarize how to save money when volunteering abroad:
- Pick your type of volunteer program
- Pick your destination
- Find all the available projects with big name volunteer travel agencies
- Try to find the project you found on your own
- Check to see when the cheapest time of the year to fly is
- Research possible activities you want to do in your free time
Volunteering abroad can be an amazing life-changing experience. With careful planning, you can save a lot of money when volunteering abroad. Don’t forget to check out STA Travel for discounts for students, teachers, and under 30’s.
Any tips or experiences you would like to share? I would love to hear about them in the comments.
PS: Want a travel abroad checklist? Check out my free printables! I have free travel planning printables on a private page. Sign up below to gain access.
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