Advancements in international travel and opportunities to volunteer abroad have opened the door to an array of different adventures. International travel is cheaper and more accessible than ever. Meanwhile, travel enthusiasts are no longer restricted to beach holidays. There are city breaks, adventure holidays, safaris, skiing trips, and a host of other ideas to consider. Volunteering holidays are another that should feature on everybody’s bucket list.
Volunteering abroad is hardly a new concept, but its popularity has grown at a rapid rate in recent times among people of all ages. Here are 10 compelling reasons why everyone should volunteer abroad at least once:
Why volunteer abroad?
#1 To visit countries less frequently visited
There’s a whole world out there waiting to be explored. The days of staying loyal to the annual two-week trip to the Costa del Sol are a thing of the past. Most travel enthusiasts have ambitions of exploring other continents. Volunteering holidays allow you to do this and visit some of the less touristy countries and cities. The options are virtually endless.
This makes volunteering holidays the perfect way to explore countries that wouldn’t have previously been on your agenda. Every serious traveler can appreciate those rewards.
#2 To meet people
Meeting new people to understand other cultures is one of the best things about modern travel. Sadly, most people are a little guilty of communicating solely with their own travel party. Moreover, the fact we can drag up directions and other info from our smartphones makes it possible to avoid people altogether. Volunteering holidays force you to meet new people.
In addition to meeting the locals when you volunteer abroad and helping them, you will connect with other helpers. Better still, you’ll instantly have some common ground due to your volunteering endeavors.
#3 To gain authentic insight
When visiting a touristy location, the influence of tourism affects the people as well as the local atmosphere. This can present a distorted perspective of the country you’re in. Volunteering holidays put you at the heart of a community, providing real insight into real lives. Ultimately, then, this is far more beneficial for your understanding of the world.
The traditions of those people can be utilized in your life while you can teach them a lot of tricks, too. It’s great to share ideas, which is one of the best ways to grow as a human race.
#4 To leave your comfort zone
Everybody should travel alone at least once in their life, but the thought of solo travel can be scary. Volunteer holidays allow you to leave your comfort zone and gain many benefits. However, there is still a sense of strong organization while you’ll make friends that soon become your travel party. This makes this type of trip the best way to push yourself in this manner.
As with many things in life, striking the right balance between taking risks and staying safe is central to success. When you choose to volunteer abroad, you can be sure that you’ll get it just right.
#5 To learn valuable skills
Furthermore, volunteering abroad opportunities force you to grow as a person and learn valuable skills. As well as the direct skills gained from the work you do, such as basic construction or teaching English, you’ll gain leadership skills. Likewise, it’s only natural that you’ll grow in confidence and become a more logical and practical thinker.
All of these traits can serve you well in many aspects of your life. While it shouldn’t be the main incentive for volunteering, it’s certainly a major bonus.
#6 To discover a new career direction (or second career)
Volunteering holidays can serve as the interlude between one chapter in your life and another. If you discover that helping people is your purpose in life, it can become a new career. When someone builds upon those new skills with a school counseling online degree, it could set the individual up for a highly rewarding future. In many cases, volunteer schemes are a gateway to future success.
Conversely, it’s a great way to test the waters if you believe it could be an ideal solution. Even if you discover it’s not quite right, you’ll be sure to have great fun.
#7 To gain self-satisfaction
Travel makes you feel good and so does helping others. Merging the two with a volunteering adventure is the ideal way to enjoy each feeling to the max. The emotional rewards of knowing that you’ve done something useful with your time away is truly amazing. Besides, that warmth is sure to enhance your experiences on the road, too.
Helping others is often the best way to help yourself, and this is another classic example. For that reason alone, volunteering schemes are for everyone at every stage of life.
#8 To travel for less
When booking travel plans, financial restrictions will usually limit your options. Volunteering schemes won’t pay, but you will get a great deal on your holiday. With the right agency, everything from your accommodations to your food will be included in the package. Likewise, they tend to be very affordable as an incentive to get more people out there. After all, many hands make work feel easier.
The money you save on this trip can fund the next one too. If that doesn’t sound like an incentive to add volunteering to your travel bucket list, what will?
#9 To travel longer
While it is possible to find short-term volunteering opportunities, most last for at least a few months. This gives you a chance to get immersed in the local environment while you genuinely make a difference. Moreover, it gives you a chance to truly embrace the local culture. Most organizations will arrange trips to the local attractions while you’ll also have time to explore at your leisure.
Better still, you won’t need to miss out on attractions or prioritize which ones are worth seeing.
#10 To create unique memories
Last but not least, volunteering holidays are completely different from anything you’ve ever experienced. Whether you’re a frequent traveler or not, the benefits of volunteering are plentiful and powerful. They’ll have a positive impact on your life as well as on the people and places that you visit. The stories you’ll bring home to tell others will be amazing, too.
And an added bonus: The quality of pictures that you’ll gain during your travels. It’s no wonder that more and more people are seeking to volunteer abroad.
*This is a collaborative post written by Amelia Hudson.