Experiencing a bit of wanderlust? I know the feeling. I’ve traveled all around Maine as the Young & Free Maine Spokester and it’s made me want to see other parts of the country, too. Travel is hardly ever cheap, between flights, lodging, and food, so it’s not always possible to satisfy the travel bug. What if you could trade your time, skills and expertise for the opportunity to travel? It’s possible with these volunteer opportunities.
Many organizations all over the world seek volunteers with experience and skills to travel all over the globe and assist on a variety of different projects. In return for your time, they’ll pay your flights, lodging, food, or maybe all of them combined. Read up on these opportunities to volunteer in different parts of the world.
Geek Corps – FREE
You’ve heard of Peace Corps and maybe Freedom Corps, but what about Geek Corps? This short-term volunteer placement is for those with expertise in the IT field. Volunteers are stationed in remote parts of the world, mostly Ghana, Lebanon, and Mali to help foster digital independence. The term ranges from one to six months. Please note, though, you’ve got to have quite a few years of experience in the field of IT development in order to participate.
International Citizen Service (VSO ISC) – CHEAP
VSO ISC is a UK organization that places volunteers between the ages of 18 and 25 in communities all over the world. You’ll be immersed in the local culture, stay with a host family, and work on a range of issues to create lasting change and improvement in the community. The program is free, but volunteers are asked to fundraise around $1000 to support their volunteer efforts. The parent organization, VSC, also has volunteer opportunities for professionals ages 25+ that cover all travel and many other expenses.
The United Nations Volunteer Program – FREE
If you’ve been working in your field for at least two years and you’re at least 25 years old, the United Nations has volunteer opportunities in developing countries. Volunteers from a wide range of professions and with varying levels of expertise give their time to aid in peace and development efforts around the world. Travel, board and other expenses are covered. Under 25? Keep this one in mind for when you need a change of pace (and location) from your day-to-day job down the road.
WWOOF International – CHEAP
Green thumb? Good. WWOOF International, short for Willing Workers on Organic Farms, places helping hands on farms, vineyards, smallholdings, allotments and gardens that practice organic/sustainable farming principles around the world. In exchange for 4 to 6 hours of work, you receive free room, board and meals. You must find transportation to and from the site.
While you may receive travel or lodging expenses free of charge, these programs are not for those looking for a vacation. Volunteering can be difficult, but rewarding work. For more opportunities to trade your skills, expertise, or time for the chance to travel, check out 10 Volunteer Opportunities for Free Travel.
Have you ever volunteered in exchange for travel or other experiences?