Do you crave adventure year round? Thinking you want to travel abroad AND make a tangible difference in the world? If your answer is yes, then read on to see how you can have a meaningful and wonderful adventure with volunteer trips abroad! When you volunteer abroad, you are offering your services to communities around the world who otherwise might not receive the help they need. What better way to put those coveted vacation days to good use? Take a look at these eight exciting volunteer adventure trips that allow you to give back while being your most adventurous self.
1. Into the Lion’s Den
Number one on the list of ultimate volunteer trips abroad has to be working with lions in Africa. Based in a number of countries, volunteers can spend two to four weeks helping to rear cubs and reintroduce healthy, full grown lions to the wild. Not only do you get to spend a few weeks living on the wild side, you get to help the king of the jungle out, too.
- African Impact - Volunteers in this program work alongside researchers and wildlife foundations in South Africa to better the lives of lions (and other animals in the “African Big 5”). You will monitor data, sweep the game reserves for traps and other materials from poachers, and of course, working with the lions and their cubs.
2. Under the Sea
If working with lions doesn’t sound adventurous enough for you, how about slipping your feet into some fins and working with marine life underwater? During volunteer holidays around the world, volunteers can spend anywhere from a few weeks to a year working with a dedicated research team who are fighting to preserve aquatic life. This might not be your typical diving holiday, but you will take away with you a unique experience, specialist’s knowledge, and a newfound appreciation for life under the sea.
- Conservation Travel Africa - In this program, volunteers team up with marine biologists in Mozambique to collect research and data on manta rays, whale sharks, turtles, and other aquatic life. Any and all help dedicated to this program directly influences the protection of these sea creatures. If you’re not scuba certified, don’t turn away! This program will walk you through the process and you’ll be certified in no time.
3. Holiday on Horseback
If you like your co-workers to be on solid ground, how about participating in volunteer trips abroad that involve galloping through the countryside on horseback? Volunteers help to look after horses and perhaps to work on a farm. They may also take part in overnight safaris in local nature reserves and ride out to spot big game — talk about volunteer travel!
- Projects Abroad - Offered in Bolivia, this equine therapy program is for all horse-loving and people-loving volunteers. Working alongside the horses, volunteers help disabled children connect with the horses through techniques in equine therapy.
4. Putting Your Best Foot Forward
Stepping away from the animal kingdom and toward local communities, this option may be for those who enjoy trekking, but who also want to give something back to local communities. Consider volunteer trips abroad in Nepal, where you’ll combine your desire to trek the earth with a volunteer placement to satisfy your philanthropic desires. In Nepal, it is possible for adventurers to experience both a month of volunteering with breathtaking hikes to and through the Himalayas.
- Raleigh International - This program allows volunteers to experience the real Nepal. Along with hikes through the beautiful countryside, volunteers will have the opportunity to offer help to the rural communities whose homes have been ruined in the past by earthquakes. Build perspective as you help to rebuild the community.
5. Slow & Steady Wins the Race
There aren’t many things better than spending a few weeks on the beaches of Costa Rica. Opportunities for surfing and diving holidays abound in this beautiful part of the world. Plus, there are plenty of opportunities for volunteer holidays as well, where you can take part in important eco projects, like working with sea turtles and ensuring their survival. Volunteers spend time monitoring the turtles, helping to manage their environment, and overall, making sure these beautiful creatures are safe and protected.
- Oyster - Volunteer with turtles in Costa Rica with this awesome program. The main effort with these coastline projects is to make sure the endangered turtles safely make it to sea. You will protect both adult and baby turtles during your time, and in your freetime, explore all the physical beauty that Costa Rica has to offer.
6. The Wave
Everyone knows that Thailand is a paradise when is comes to adventure sports, from rafting and diving to biking and hiking. However, you can still lend a hand during your volunteer holiday abroad by spending time in an orphanage or rebuilding damaged communities. Make it your mission to connect with the people and the culture around you, and use your down time to explore the adventures that Thailand holds.
- Volunteering Solutions - This program focuses specifically on orphanage care amongst volunteers. Potential work includes playing games, teaching English, hygiene education, and care, and just interacting with the children and giving them love. Bring out the little kid in you and meet with some wonderful children in Bangkok, Thailand.
7. A Little World within Itself
Not many places say “exotic” more than the Galapagos Islands. Lying about 600 miles west of continental Ecuador, these islands’ geographical isolation has made them one of the most unique places on Earth. By taking part in conservation projects on the Galapagos Islands, you will have the chance to swim with sea lions, meet giant tortoises, and dive with dolphins in this pristine, world-class diving location. If you’re looking for volunteer trips abroad like no other, look no further than the incredible Galapagos Islands.
- Love Volunteers - Dedicated to protecting and rehabilitating the unique ecosystem and ancient animals like the giant tortoises and marine iguanas, this program is for the environmentalist driven volunteers. Spend up to three months working on reforesting, habitat restoration, agriculture, and environmental education. Be a part of the important commitment to preserving these incredible islands.
8. The Land Down Under
Many people travel “down under” for its great variety of holidays. However, if you want to get to know the island and its culture better, combine a number of different options, like a homestay, an adventure in the Outback, and an eco-adventure in the Great Barrier Reef all in one trip! You’ll get a completely new perspective as well as the adventure of a lifetime as you engage in volunteer holidays in the Land Down Under.
- GoEco - Volunteer in Cairns, Australia, and put forth all your effort into working to conserve the Great Barrier Reef. Now more than ever, reef systems throughout the world are suffering and dying due to human activity, so be a part of a group of people working to right this terrible wrong. Once you obtain your PADI diving or advanced certification, you’ll be diving right alongside researchers and reef conservationists.
As a final note, no matter where you decide to travel for your adventurous volunteer holiday abroad, try to keep an eye out for companies and programs that provide eco-friendly options. By using local guides and sustainable resources, you can do your bit to make a difference (and lessen your footprint) wherever you go.
Your time volunteering abroad (mixed with a little adventure travel fun) will really be a turning point in your life. Whether you’re playing with lion cubs in Africa, conducting vital research in the Galapagos Islands, or providing help to local communities around the world, adventure volunteer trips abroad will absolutely change your life (and others’) for the better.