Blogger’s Guide to Volunteer Work & Gap Years

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Volunteer Work & Gap Years

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Sometimes the experience matters more than money. Volunteer work is increasingly on the bucket list of many travel travellers and these travel bloggers tell us more about doing good or working for food in every corner of the globe.

Top 5 Things Organizations Wish Volunteers Knew
It’s easy to find out what volunteers wish they knew before they went overseas. But did you ever wonder what the staff of volunteer sending organisations wish you knew?

Working Aboard A Caribbean Sailing Yacht
The Runaway Guide writes from the sun deck of an 80 foot yacht plying its trade between Panama and Colombia.

Work For Accommodation – Save Heaps Of Money Whilst You Travel!
Chris Stevens has clocked up some serious savings around the globe as a result of working for hostels.


How an Internship in Prague Helps Me Enjoy the City Even More
Tansu Philip likes to keep busy, so she took on a work placement with a magazine while studying in the Czech Republic.

Living and Volunteering in Cappadocia
Crystle-Day and Julian volunteered in Cappadocia for a month with the Fairy Chimney Inn, assisting the hotel manager with housekeeping and setting up breakfast.

Effective Microorganisms, a Beaver Dam, and Other Tales
After their pictures of a luxury resort cause a bit of confusion, David and Caroline reveal the reality of their WWOOFing stint on Ko Pha Ngan.

My Uncoventional WWOOF Italy Experience: Drinking and Feasting in Tuscany
The grapes aren’t full of wrath for Lucy Cheseldine.

Work Exchange in the Spanish Countryside
After making breakfast with fresh eggs and showering with a view, Sonja wanders with the dogs up and down rolling hills before cleaning the dust from a traditional Andalusian style house.

To the Dogs
How to save the lives of strays by volunteering abroad.

Lions, Zebras, and African Children: Voluntourism in the Age of Social Media
Pippa Boodle makes Brooklyn school children cry.

The Ants Go Marching
Peace Corps volunteer Kylynn Pelkey discovers sometimes the very smallest things can make or break an experience abroad.

6 Things You Should Know About Volunteering With Your Children Abroad
With preparation, and a whole lot of patience, volunteering abroad with your children is not only possible, but it will be something your children will not soon forget and an undertaking that you, as a parent, will not regret, says Jennifer Bangoura.

Volunteering with All Hands Volunteers in Nepal
Despite advice from international aid agencies to stay away dozens of local and international volunteers show up each day wanting to help after the Nepal earthquake. Kirsty Henderson works with All Hands Volunteers to help coordinate these small groups into teams to build the first of 30,000 temporary classroom structures.

Volunteering at the Bamboo Bar
After extraditing themselves from the clutches of souvenir sellers in a Hmong village near Sapa, Caroline and David pitch up at Luckydaisy’s Buffalo House to work for their keep.

My (Mostly Bad) Experiences Wwoofing In Japan Across 3 Farms For 6 Weeks
A Reddit poster details their time in what they describe as ‘WWOOFer slave camps.’

Affording Travel Interview With Eric: Free Accommodation at Hostels
Nomad Wallet interviews Eric Reed, who has worked in hostels in England, Cambodia, Turkey and Greece.

Volunteering for l’Auberge des Migrants in the Calais “Jungle”
The temporary accommodation in Calais presented a rather different experience to Katie Featherstone when she volunteered in France.

I Became a Mural Artist in Vientiane, Laos
After painting an elephant on a wall in exchange for bed, board and beer, Kristin impresses the owner of her hostel and gets paid to keep painting.

Rugby World Cup 2015 Volunteer: The Pack Training
Nicola Lazenby begins her training in Milton Keynes as one of the 6,000 volunteers recruited to work at the Rugby World Cup.

10 Things You’ll Learn From Working at a Hostel
Bartending at a hostel in exchange for free accommodation taught Monica Gray many things including saying goodbye to people and how to ignore a mouse running across her pillow.

A Terrifying Volunteering Experience
Rebecca Curtis accuses a man of stealing her sandwich and volunteers to be a zombie.

“Building” in the New Dunkirk Refugee Camp, France
Overshadowed by the Jungle, Katie Featherstone tries to improve the living conditions for people in another of Europe’s refugee camps.

CityTravelReview Review – Week One
Alison Karlene gets settled down in Berlin for her month long travel writing internship.

6 Reasons Why You Should Never Volunteer Abroad
Anna Faustino provides half a dozen double negatives for why you should, really, volunteer abroad.

Voluntourism Harms, Not Helps, The World’s Orphanage Children
Georgette Mulheir puts forward the argument that well intentioned Westerners do more harm than good, with voluntourism one of the causes of family break up in very poor countries.

Volunteering and Yoga in Nelson B.C.
Chelsea and Andrew head to Awesome View Road to work on Chuckleberry Farm.

Kanchanaburi Safari Park
A couple of volunteers pitch up to help out at a safari park located on the site of a former diamond mine.

The Ultimate Guide To Volunteer Travel
The combination of exploring a new destination and being able to help local people or causes is fulfilling and empowering, says Kiersten Rich, who delves into the ethics of volunteering, raising money, and which projects are right for us.

You Love The Animals, You Love The Poo – A Week On Safari!
Ashleigh cleans up wild animal droppings and has her photo taken with Thai policemen.

WWOOFing: The Good, the Bad, and the Downright Dirty
Alison Karlene says you are barking up the wrong tree if WWOOFing makes you think of puppies.

WWOOFing, a First-Timer’s Guide
Sophie Saint had to undergo WWOOFing in order to get her second year working visa but saw a whole different side to rural Australia that wouldn’t have been possible if it hadn’t been for the scheme.

Panamania – It’s a Surf Christmas!
Chelsea and Andrew volunteer in a small hotel in Santa Catalina.

Seven Questions To Ask Yourself Before Volunteering
It’s decided. You’re going to take the plunge and volunteer abroad. But where do you even begin? How do you decide what type of placement you’re looking for, which country, or even with which organisation? Steph Dyson is at hand to help.

How to Walk a Bear
Before you slip into your rubber boots and plunge head first into the jungle to walk your first bear, perhaps it might be best to check out Andrew’s survival tips.

Toronto Veg Food Fest: My Experiences as a Volunteer and Visitor
After attending the Toronto Veg Food Fest for a few years Lauren decided that it was about time she volunteered for the event.

How City Travel Review Changed My Life
Nam reviews the travel writing course she took in Berlin that inspired her to begin her own blog.

Working Holidays in Andalusia Spain
Though the Mediterranean coast is a major tourist destination infamous for sun burn, piss ups and the absence of local culture, volunteering on farms gave Jonathon and Emma Engels a different impression of southern Spain.


Volunteering at Elephant Nature Park: What’s It Like?
Amanda Williams planned her entire Southeast Asia trip around volunteering at an elephant sanctuary.

Life Inside a Guatemalan Kaleidoscope
Verge Magazine’s Maggie Kirkpatrick, tells us how her ‘real job’ found her.

The Big Voluntourism Lie
Michael Huxley condemns companies within the gap year industry who are selling travel experiences for vast sums, covering their marketing and promotion with the terminology of volunteering.

Featured Member: Betsy And Justin (The.Wandering.Woods on the Forums)
Nomadic Matt speaks to Justin and Betsy who between them have volunteered in hospitals and clinics in Tanzania, Nicaragua, Peru and Papua New Guinea.

The Refugee Crisis: Volunteering in the Calais Warehouse
Ever since the body of three year old Aylan Kurdi washed up on a Turkish beach, Flora had been planning to volunteer within the chaos that is the refugee crisis.

Feeling the Urge to do Good Abroad? Here’s How Volunteer Agencies Are Taking Advantage
From disguising their true nature to making up work, Eric Hartman has beef with volunteer organisations.

Volunteering Abroad Near Sucre, Bolivia: A Rural Adventure
One of most important skills Steph Dyson has learned while being abroad is how to deal with any situation without panicking. This came in handy when she was placed in front of a year 7 biology class in Bolivia.

Voluntourism in Kenya: Celebrating My Birthday with Strangers
50 Kenyan kids give Sara the bumps.

Saving Zakynthos: 5 Reasons to Volunteer with Earth Sea and Sky
Nam spent a month volunteering with a turtle conservation group in Greece, inspiring her friend to do the same. Here she tries to inspire us too.

I Was Abandoned by my Grey-Gapper Parents
Anna Hart’s parents are in their sixties and going on a gap year to Vanuatu, finally giving her a taste of what it felt like for them when she jetted off to South East Asia at 24.

Kibbutz Volunteering – How it Changed My Life
Sean was sat on a couch watching TV when his dad suggested he go work on a kibbutz in Israel.

Voluntourism 101: Tips for Giving Back
There are countless causes, destinations, and communities all over the world that benefit from volunteer service. But how can you sift through the overwhelming amount of information, organisations, and options to find the right programme? Social worker and experienced voluntourist Michelle Russell shares her insights.

WWOOFing in France: Discovering a New Beauty Regimen
After spending five months studying abroad in Strasbourg, Maggie Cregan set out to see more of France before her visa expired, and saved money by working on an organic vegetable farm.

So You Want to Volunteer in South America?
Flora Baker taught English to Ecuadorian teenagers, painted roofs in Brazil, made artificial limbs in Bolivia and worked as a journalist in a Colombian newsroom. She presents her tips to those that wish to do likewise.

Packing for the Peace Corps: Volunteers Share Their Must-Haves
Once volunteers are accepted into the Peace Corps and notified where they’ll be serving, they must carefully decide which items get to make the journey overseas with them, from the practical to the sentimental.

How To Find Volunteer Opportunities Around The World
Jonathan, who has volunteered teaching kids in Cambodia, and Kach, a former volunteer on a sustainable eco-farm in Laos, offer their help in finding our own places to volunteer.

How I Applied for my Career Break
Though they love to travel as full time workers the only way Gemma and Craig could take a long trip was to take a career break. Here is how they did it.

Working for Free at Iceland Airwaves
Flora Baker accidentally flashes her bra to the lead singer of Of Monsters And Men.

Volunteering in Italy: Washing up and Witch Burning
Cat Rainsford volunteers in a restaurant in the Italian lakes, in a village with a permanent population of two.

My Week as a Pai-rate: Working at a Hostel With & How You Can Travel For Free
A $30 one year subscription to a work exchange website led Tina to a hostel job in Pai, a hippie town two hours from Chiang Mai.

Working at One of the World’s Biggest Music Festivals
Finding T in the Park tickets to be too expensive for her backpacking budget, Alison Karlene secured a spot volunteering in exchange for a weekend pass and staff camping.

How to Volunteer at a Music Festival
Volunteering at a music, film or art festival can mean getting free tickets, discounts or crew perks, as well as gaining an insight into how major events are put together, writes Will Coldwell.

That Festival Feeling: Part I
Over the summer she spent in Australia, Mimi had the chance to volunteer at multiple music festivals across the country.

That Festival Feeling: Part II
By knowing the right people Mimi lucks out in grabbing a volunteer spot for one of Australia’s more exclusive festivals.

That Festival Feeling: Part III
Mimi joins the other ‘vollies’ at Fall Fest, a festival that tours around Australia.

How to Escape: Tips and Sites For Working or Volunteering Abroad
If you dream of swapping the nine to five for more fulfilling work overseas, take a look at these courses and sharing websites that could see you teaching, farming, or looking after a millionaire’s pad, for free.

Snakes, Scorpions, and Permaculture Farms
Flora Baker volunteers on a permaculture farm in Thailand and takes a picture of a rice husk covered mound of poo.

Headrock Dogs – Part 1: Hands
Each year John, a full time professional photographer based in Belgium, commits himself to volunteer work and also to help an animal related organisation via his photography. This year he volunteered with Headrock Dogs, an animal shelter in Bang Saphan, Thailand.


Guide to Ethically Volunteering in Asia
Amy Blyth promotes four organisations through which she has found responsible placements in Asia.

A Night In Paris’ Shakespeare & Co Bookshop
When American wanderer George Whitman opened Shakespeare and Company in 1951 he started letting readers, writers, students, artists and weary travellers sleep among the book stacks in exchange for a few hours work. This practice, known as tumbleweeding, continues today. Melissa Wellham is one such tumbleweed.

Catching a Ride Across the Atlantic
Though this piece by Jill Dickin Schinas is a good few years old now her guide to working a passage from a yacht owner’s perspective is both a riveting read on the realities of hitching a ride with a stranger and valuable advice on how to improve your chances of becoming one of the lucky few to win next year’s Transatlantic Lottery.

Volunteering In Italy (Abruzzo) And Learning Raw Earth Construction
Davide and Otilia volunteer on a construction project, working with natural materials collected in the surrounding area.

My Surprise Gap-Year Doing Helpx Work-Exchange
Rob gorges himself on pomegranates while working on a moringa farm in the Sonora desert near Tucson, Arizona, looks after a dog in Winston-Salem, helps around a house on Prince Edward Island, and works on a goat farm in Florida – all thanks to his membership of HelpX.

How to Volunteer at a Festival in New Zealand
If you love festivals but don’t love the price tag that comes with them, then volunteering for New Zealand festivals is for you. Those on a working holiday visa have the amazing opportunity to volunteer at festivals in New Zealand. Be part of New Zealand cultural events, gain skills for life, make new friends, and see incredible performances for free.

HelpX in the Middle Earth at Judith and Martin’s Place
Aurélie and Franck are invited into a home in New Zealand where they clean red wine off a wedding dress and fix a henhouse.

What It’s Like As A Peace Corps Volunteer
All over the world you can find US volunteers with the Peace Corps. Jonny interviews four he found in Kyrgyzstan when he attended the World Nomad Games.

Volunteering in Vietnam: Teaching with Sapa O’Chau
Natasha teaches a basic financial literacy course to young girls from northern Vietnam’s Black Hmong community.

Guatemala: Volunteering in Xecam
Tyrel Nelson and Team Leader Ernie discuss chickens with women from poor Mayan families in Central America.

Volunteer to Help Refugees on the Greek Island of Samos
While on a six week hiking holiday through the Greek islands J. Kathleen Thompson was convinced to do something to help refugees. She volunteered with both Samos Volunteers, a grassroots humanitarian organisation on the island of Samos that have taken on the job of supplying the refugees with basic survival needs, and with Medicins Sans Frontieres.

Our Work Exchange Experience In The UK: Plastering With Clay A Straw-Bale Roundhouse
The UK is the most active region in Europe when it comes to sustainable living, alternative communities, and natural building. Wanting in the future to build their own house with natural materials, Otilia and Davide cross the Channel to join a work exchange and learn some of the skills they will need.

Raleigh International Review: Volunteering Changed My Life
In spite of the most horrific of experiences with Raleigh, TheBrokeBackpacker, Will Hatton encourages people to travel and not to be put off by adversity.

I Did Overseas Volunteering With 80 Fluffy Huskies For 10 Weeks!
Mookychick’s stay at Hetta Huskies was a happy experience with wagging tails and happy barks.

Almost an Organic Farm Fairytale
Eileen tells us how becoming a member of WWOOF means you can access all of the host farm’s profiles and information. You then contact your choice through the website to arrange for a stay. After your stay is confirmed, you just need to get yourself there, and then everything else (food, accommodation) is covered.

Volunteering in India – Free Volunteer Project Reviews
Will Hatton’s frank experience of volunteering in India.

World’s Coolest Internship: Husky Dog Handler
Frankie Thompson gives an insight into life as a Husky Dog Handler.

Experiencing Corsica Like a Local through Help Exchange
Jamille Wallick recommends HelpX for the more money conscious and flexible traveler.

Volunteering in the Dominican Republic
Retirees Patti and Abi say that their time spent volunteering in the Dominican Republic was a truly rewarding experience.

Beyond the Temples of Angkor… Volunteering to Provide Free Education for Poor Children of Cambodia
Lisa Marcantonio tells us about the work of SOID (Supporting Orphans and Indigent People of Cambodia for Development Organisation) a small NGO that provides free education to the poor children of Veal Village, Siem Reap.

Volunteerism – vs – Voluntourism
One Road at a Time asks the question does voluntourism do more harm than good?

Why we do Helpx
Jake and Lisa give five reasons why they love HelpX – not including the nearly $7000 they have saved in Australia by doing it.

“One of God’s Own Prototypes”
Eggbananatravels tell us about their experiences WWOOFing at eccentric “Ted’s” permaculture centre in Thailand.

Here’s Why Everything You Thought You Knew About Volunteering Is Wrong
Steph Dyson gives her honest opinion on volunteering. She believes that when done correctly, it is incredibly positive, fulfilling for all involved, and will make a real difference.

Organize An Underwater Clean-Up: Give Back While You Travel
Adam and Christine’s underwater clean up shows that small actions in conservation have potential for a massive impact.

If You Don’t Build A Nice Place For The Chickens, They Will Leave
More tales from Eggbananatravels as they continue their road trip around the north-western part of Thailand.

Teaching English in Ling Ling, Nepal
Shraddha Gupta describes her time as one of the first English teaching volunteers in Ling Ling, a Nepali village.

Search Job and Volunteer Opportunities For Yoga Teachers & Yogis Across The World
Nikki tells us about the options which are open to you if you gain a yoga teaching qualification.

How to Find Paid Volunteer Projects Abroad
If you are seeking paid volunteer opportunities, Pilar points you in the right direction.

12 Reasons Why You Should Definitely Put Off College And Take A Gap Year After High School
Emma Lord would be preaching to the choir here, but over on Bustle she attempts to persuade Americans it’s ok to pause on the road to marriage, kids, six figure salaries and buying a lake house.

WWOOFing Canada – Essential Tips From A Host
Whether you will have a positive WWOOF experience will depend a lot on your background, what kind of life you are used to and your attitude. To have a fun and unforgettable time Yrene Dee believes the main thing is to keep an open mind.

Sustainable Farm Living
Planting and harvesting vegetables, feeding the animals, constructing a cob wall (made of mud and straw), making homemade tagliatelle, building a bonfire, and making tomato preserves are all skills that Fiona learned while working on a sustainable farm in Italy.

15 Best Internships in Europe for 2019
If you are searching for a programme that matches your career goals with the benefits of an internship in Europe thrown in, Go Abroad offers 15 of the best Internships on offer for 2019. They strongly advise that you read reviews, reach out to programme alumni, and really do your research to find the best fit for you.

A Week In The Life Of An Elephant Nature Park Volunteer
Lucy recommends including a volunteering placement in your travels and believes it is one of the best decisions you could possibly make. She describes her time at the Elephant Nature Park, near Chiang Mai, as life changing.

5 Things You Need To Know About Volunteering With Refugees
People watching the news don’t realise they can have a direct impact on refugee lives and make a difference. Lottie provides some information on volunteering in Calais or, if that’s not possible, driving a car load of donations across the Channel and picking up some cheap wine on the way back.

My Experience Volunteering in Philadelphia, USA
In 2011, Pilar, a Mexican expat, volunteered to help renovate a church and community education centre.

How We got to Teach English to Monks in Laos
After sharing a tree house with two French travellers in Huay Xai, on the Thai/Laos border, Magda and Brent are recommended to go check out Monk Chat.

Workaway: My Experience Volunteering in a Hostel in Argentina
Pilar’s Brazilian friend Liliana Germanotta worked as a volunteer in Cordoba. She explains us everything we need to know if we want to volunteer anywhere in the world through the website Workaway.

My Workaway Experience At Shankari’s Retreat In Bali
In her first week in Bali, Bogna suffered food poisoning and a motorbike accident but things perked up when she and her then partner volunteered for the owners of a hotel/resort and a jewellery business.

Making a Difference at Angkor Borei
Volunteering at Angkor Borei was a really meaningful experience for Tim and changed his perspective on life.

Thailand: Saving Dogs from Becoming Dinner
At the Soi Dog Foundation, in Phuket, volunteers help save man’s best friends. Chantal Briere and husband Bob are two volunteers helping to care for Bangkok Bob, Danish, and other dogs rescued from the dog meat trade in Southeast Asia.

Internships Abroad: Unpaid, With a $10,000 Price Tag
The New York Times gives us a clear idea of the money needed to secure an internship but says that many believe that the on-the-job learning and exposure to another culture justify the cost.

Work Trade in Hostels shows how work trade programmes are typically arranged. We learn how successful hostels offer accommodation in exchange for work.

Ethical Animal Sanctuaries in Thailand You Can Feel Good About Visiting
To ensure the most memorable yet ethical trip possible, Kelly Iverson lists sanctuaries that are rescuing, rehabilitating, and in the end, saving animals’ lives.

HelpStay Volunteering Visa Guide to Backpacking in Southeast Asia
South East Asia Backpacker Magazine’s Nikki Scott puts together a guide to getting the correct documentation for volunteering in the region.

How I Discovered the ‘Voluntourism’ Con in Peru
Janice Miller’s article points out the risks of voluntourism and tells us the damage it can do very often outweighs any potential benefits.

My Experiences Volunteering in Kenya for Animals
Lauren highly recommends Animal Experience International, a certified B Corporation that aims to unite volunteers with appropriate animal aid projects all over the world. They work with animal sanctuaries, conservancies, hospitals, and research projects. The volunteer programmes are personally visited and tested by AEI before they are set up for travellers. The volunteer programmes help animals in a hands-on and meaningful way.

Tracc (Tropical Research and Conservation Center)
Sadie’s time with Tracc really opened her eyes to a whole new world and showed her that we can really make a big difference to our planet.

Tasikoki Wildlife Rescue Center
Sadie gives us the lowdown on life as a volunteer in the middle of the jungle in North Sulawesi – animal photos included.

The Day I was Involved in an Elephant Funeral
Sadie shares her experiences in Thailand where her love affair with volunteering began. She strongly recommend The Surin Project to anyone looking to spend time with elephants.

Redefining the Shower
Baffled by the young woman travelling alone in her country, Ma Kyu – a lay attendant to the monks at the forest monastery in Myanmar where Kaelyn Lynch would be spending a few days – appointed herself Kaelyn’s caretaker, beginning her duties in the shower.

How to Find a Hostel Job And Travel The World In The Meanwhile
Hostel lover Ewa Gabara funds her travelling life style by working in exchange for free accommodation.

Words Fail Me (or What It’s Like to Live in Bhutan)
Ashley Lenzen tries to express how she feels about living in Bhutan, where she and husband Mike volunteered for 12 months in a school.

Best Friends Animal Society
If you want to visit Piggy Paradise, Dogtown and Bunny House, Utah’s Best Friends Animal Society offers you the opportunity to work in their various rescue centres. Here, Sadie reports on each.

Why I’m Volunteering with Monks in Burma
Emailing across language barriers with a travelling monk isn’t easy but eventually Kaelyn Lynch is invited to live in a monastic school, in a small farming village, to teach English and environmental education classes.

The Great and Not-so-Great of Work Exchanges and Voluntourism
Trent Matthews wakes to bird song and wriggles out of a snug sleeping bag to a view of the Himalayan mountain range. This is life when volunteering and a similar scenario is attainable anywhere in the world but there are some less great moments too.

Volunteering on a Lion Project in Antelope Park in Zimbabwe
Anna chops up cows, walks lions and plays with dry elephant poo.

200 Volunteer Abroad & Study Abroad Scholarships & Grants
Sarah Vandenberg compiles a great list of scholarship and grant opportunities to make your dream of volunteering or studying abroad come true.

Volunteering in a Hostel in Northern Ireland
While she didn’t initially care much for the city, Belfast kind of grew on Els thanks to the owner of Arnies Backpackers.

How to get FREE Bed and Board for a Week in the Polish Mountains
Charlie and Luke talk to Polish business men.

Wild Times with Balu: Volunteering at ‘Inti Wara Yassi’ Wildlife Preserve in Bolivia
It is neither too hot nor too cold for Andrew and the one bear.

How to Work for Free AND Have the Time of Your Life Doing it
A Kiwi volunteers at Englischhausen, an English language immersion village in Germany.

Volunteering at Elephant Nature Park: What’s It Like?
Amanda planned her entire Southeast Asia trip around volunteering at the Elephant Nature Park, a sanctuary for injured and abused elephants in northern Thailand.

Volunteer Life at the Concordia Eco Resort in the Virgin Islands
Jacqueline Boss feeds pasta to sand crabs.

Tigres Jungle Bootcamp
While volunteering in Bolivia with Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi, Chelsea develops a bond with a leopard so strong she thinks about buying land in the country.

Work Exchange Tips: When Work Exchange Goes Wrong
Lash pays her way through Australasia with a succession of work exchanges. Most of them were good, but two not so much.

Communication FTW! A Week of English Volunteering in the Black Forest
A Kiwi saves some money by volunteering at an immersive conversational English language programme in Germany.

Sailing the Panama Canal
Kyle Mateo worked his passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean by taking a volunteer job on the sailboat of an 80 year old Frenchman. Previously he had subsidised his journey from Honduras by scrubbing the hull, sanding and staining wood and being the night watch while his boat sailed to Colon.

Work Exchange New Zealand: 30+ Bonuses I Enjoyed at my South Island HelpX Gigs
Lash spent half of her three months in New Zealand with HelpX hosts. She shares some of the wonderful extra things you might get to see, do, learn, eat and enjoy whenever you join a work exchange assignment.

Volunteer Tourism in Cusco [VIDEO]
Emma Redfoot talks to Lainie and Miro about the effects of volunteer-tourism on both volunteers and the communities being served.

Voluntourism at Orphanages and Why it’s Wrong
Orphanage volunteering sounds like an amazing opportunity to give back to those who need it the most but the road to hell is paved with good intentions, argues Raphael Alexander Zoren.

Volunteering With Turtles In Costa Rica
Chris asks his friend to piece together a guest post between tanning sessions on her experiences working with turtles in Costa Rica.

Volunteering at an Animal Orphanage in Iquitos, Peru: Saving the Red Faced Uakari
Corey Callahan pushes his body on 30km treks through the Amazon to help a fellow primate.

Alli and Brian’s Tioman Time, Part Deux
12 months on Malaysia’s Tioman Island doing sea turtle work and outdoor education..

Life on Lanta
The clock is ticking on Koh Lanta’s chill factor and affordability, say Melissa and Craig, but by helping out at a little happy hippy guesthouse they managed to secure both.

How to Cruise the Panama Canal for Free
Panamanian law dictates that every boat, no matter how small, must have four line handlers when it makes a crossing of the Panama Canal, says Stephen Knight. Since professional line handlers can cost up to US$100 per transit, many captains are prepared to give fellow travellers a free passage in exchange for working aboard.

After the Storm: Volunteering in the Philippines
Amy and Andrew already had flight tickets booked to the Philippines before Typhoon Yolanda wreaked its havoc, so instead of visiting as tourists they decided to volunteer with All Hands, an American non profit organisation that helps victims of natural disasters around the world.

Travel Forever With Volunteer / Work Exchange Gigs
Trisha Velarmino answers questions about volunteering her way around Latin America. At the time she had volunteered in Colombia, Ecuador and Brazil as a hostel receptionist; and as a bartender in Peru and Bolivia, staying a month in each job.

Volunteering in Vietnam: Teaching with Sapa O’Chau
Natasha teaches a basic financial literacy course to young girls from the local Black Hmong community in the hills of northern Vietnam.

The A to Z of Career Break Planning, Part 1: A to H
Julie Sykes shares some tips and advice on how to make your career break planning meet your aims, budget and expectations.

The A to Z of Career Break Planning, Part 2: I to Q
Julie Sykes’ second instalment of career break advice.

How can I GET on the Peace Boat?
Chance Alberg, an EPIK teacher in South Korea, answers readers’ questions on applying to volunteer on Peace Boat, a Japan based international NGO that carries out its main activities through a chartered passenger ship travelling the world on peace voyages.

6 Lies You Tell Yourself When You’re Volunteering Off the Grid
Vanessa Van Doren compares the reality of volunteering with her preconceived ideas.

Dive Into The Blue World Of Whales And Dolphins. Volunteer In Ischia
Since 2009 Angie Raab has been a regular crew member on the Jean Gab, a 1930s cutter navigating the Italian Island of Ischia.

Volunteer Trips for Families
Ann is still learning about volunteering with her family but she shares some of the resources she has found online here.

Live Abroad for Free, With a Little Elbow Grease
Mashable helps get the word out on Workaway, speaking to founder David Milward and also getting the point of view of a hostel in Cape Town that uses the service to recruit volunteers.

7 Questions to Ask Before Signing Up to Volunteer
When organising your volunteer programme it’s important to get answers to these seven questions to ensure the programme you are signing up to is right for you, says Natasha.

Volunteering In Bolivia: Back To Bartending
Finding herself unable to function without volunteering Trisha Velarmino gets behind a La Paz bar.

The Price Paid to Volunteer….Time and ££
Nicola Lazenby details her expenses volunteering at sporting events, including at the 2012 London Olympics and 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Day to Day at the Safari Park
Tom feeds baby lions and cleans up monkey poo. Just an average day when volunteering at a safari park in Thailand.

Volunteering in Ecuador: Recap
Pola Henderson, Greenheart Travel’s Volunteer Abroad Correspondent in Ecuador, looks back on her time volunteering in an indigenous settlement near Quito.

How to Volunteer Abroad Ethically (and Avoid Scams)
Pippa Biddle discusses two volunteer trips she took in high school, and how at best, her efforts made no impact on the host communities in the Dominican Republic and Tanzania.

Volunteering in a Boutique Hotel in Andalusia, Spain
Els volunteers abroad for the first time, helping out in a hotel run by a British couple.

Volunteer Envy
A Peace Corps volunteer balances the ‘fluffy experiences’ with cute kids with the realities of trying to make a real difference in Africa.

Life as a Volunteer in Peru
A sneak peek into Eartha’s life teaching English to kids and adults in Huaycan.

Dear Nora: How to Get a Job (or a Free Ride) Working on Boats
Ricky asks Nora Dunn: “I’ve heard about travellers working and volunteering on boats around the world. How do I get those gigs, and what can I expect?”

Saving the World! My Experience Volunteering in China
Despite moving to China Chris still has to put up with an office full of Queenslanders, one of whom sets him on an adventure to the Liquor Sea.

Volunteer Trips: Is Your Family Ready?
The New York Times explores family volunteering.

My Volunteer Work Exchange Experience at a Hostel in Malaysia
Amélie works for her accommodation for three months in Malacca after being poached by the owner of a guesthouse she had stayed in previously.

Daily Responsibilities and Activities at the Surin Project
Mindy picks up elephant poo and does the chicken dance.

Helping on a Campsite in Rural Portugal
In a secluded corner of Portugal Els cleans showers and toilets in the morning and helps with dinner preparations and the dishes later on.

Actually Making a Difference: Avoiding Voluntourism Traps
Stephanie Lai provides advice to prevent us becoming that person on Facebook making the peace sign amid a crowd of brown orphans.

WWOOF France: How Americans Can Live in France
New Yorker Lauren Krzyzostaniak discovers working on organic farms is an alternative to teaching as a way to live abroad.

I Volunteered At An Orphanage, And Now I Campaign Against It
Despite no knowledge of Kenya, any of the languages spoken there, and no understanding of the culture, Anna McKeon felt she had the skills to be a Co-Director of an orphanage. Very quickly she came to realise how bad an idea it really was.

Working in a School in Ethiopia: An Interview with Hannah Dillon
Hannah Dillon swapped teaching six year olds in North London for training teachers in Ethiopia in 2014 and hasn’t looked back since. After a year volunteering for an education charity, she is now heading up a free school for orphans and vulnerable children in Gondar, northern Ethiopia.

How to Volunteer at a National Park (And Live For Free!)
Veronica and David appreciate how lucky they are to be able to explore the great American outdoors for free through the National Parks Service.

Working With the Wichi People in Salta
After visiting an exhibition of photos by Wichi children, Victoria and Steve went to Salta to meet the couple that provided the cameras and visit the garden building project funded by sales of the photographs.

Volunteering at Quellomayo
Lucy Graham dropped in on an Anglo-Peruvian family living near Machu Picchu to help on their farm.

Relax or Volunteer at a Hostel in the Sky
Volunteer and live for Free in Nicaragua.

Our time at Elephant Nature Park
Giselle and Cody help to care for a new born baby elephant and for over 2000 dogs rescued from the illegal dog meat trade.

Gap Year Students Are More Likely To Smoke Weed, Study Reveals
Bad gap year students, bad!

Volunteering! Putting the Santa in Santiago
The Flying Gypset volunteered over Christmas at a home for the homeless.

When Travelling, Be Very Careful Where You Volunteer
Andrea and John warn that sometimes volunteering in a poor country can do more harm than good.

Volunteering Jobs with Rescue Dogs in Thailand
Turner Barr exploits cute doggies for his video.

An Interview with Diana from Save Elephant Foundation
Shannon O’Donnell interviews Diana Edelman about her work in northern Thailand.

WOOFING in Greece – Pros & Cons
Gary explores what’s good and what’s bad about volunteering on a Greek organic farm.

Wwoofing in Olmué, Chile
Rosie and Jon spent two weeks volunteering on a small farm in the mountain village outside of Santiago.

Volunteering With WWOOF
A WWOOFers’ impression of her volunteering experience on the Three-Generation Farm in Mae Rim, Thailand.

10 Years Ago Today – Cambodia
Tash reflects back to her time in Cambodia as a volunteer for Youth Ambassadors for Development.

Why Pay to Volunteer
Daniel Quilter argues the case for paying to volunteer.

Voluntourism: Sometimes it Works – Part II
The second part of Bert Archer’s investigation into the complicated world of voluntourism.

Volunteering in Thailand: Our 2nd Volunteering Experience
A volunteer helps a retired teacher who had set up a classroom in his house to help local children develop their English.

Filling in the Gap
Despite being obsessed with travel, Stephen Ferdinando uses his gap year to worm his way into the media.

A Week-In-The-Life of Tony: WWOOFing on A Tuscan Farm
Tony’s decision to quit his job in finance and travel the world with his wife, Meg, led them to a Tuscan Farm.

Phangan Animal Care (PAC)
Ross Fairgrieve shoots a video for a charity dedicated to caring for the stray animals of Koh PhaNgan.

Volunteer Accommodation – What to Expect
Neil, who has volunteered on sports projects in Sri Lanka, India and South Africa, provides an insight into where volunteers rest their heads after a hard day’s work.

Travel Like a Local – Work Away!
Some more information on the work exchange network.

Volunteering in Colombia: Can You Make a Difference in Two Weeks?
Karen asks the question when she and her husband went on a volunteer vacation.

Short-Term Volunteering in Cambodia: Some Questions
With so many places in Cambodia offering the orphanage volunteer work experience to travellers, Travelfish suggests that despite the best intentions your contribution might not benefit everyone.

A Typical Work Day
Tammy and Chris chart their day working for a NGO in Cambodia.

Gap Year Case Studies: Website Development in Australia
The Telegraph speaks to gap year participants whose work experience abroad has helped them on their chosen career path.

Volunteering Abroad: My Story About Volunteering At Angel House in Seoul
English teacher Caroline Hosey joins a co-worker volunteering at a community home for people with disabilities.

Singing Aloud and Volunteering in Baños, Ecuador
Though technically not volunteers, Melissa Ruttanai and her husband Neil were invited to join travellers and expats from around the world in helping Ecuadorian children learn English.

Volunteering in Mexico: A Day With the Women of Teotitlan
Katie Boyer visits women’s groups near Oaxaca.

Volunteering On A Vineyard in the Spanish Pyrenees
Emma Higgins finds she now knows far more Spanish words for construction tools than the average visitor to Spain.

A Breakfast Made For WWOOFing – Foodgasmic Tales From The Road
Exhausting manual labour helps Tony Rulli to conjure a little piece of food porn.

Travel and Discover Rural Reality with WWOOF
WWOOFing from the perspective of a host farmer.

Voluntourism: Sometimes it Works – Part II
Toronto Standard reporter Bert Archer continues his investigation into the voluntourism business.

The Reasons I Advocate Volunteer Work Exchanges
Kurt shares his personal experiences with volunteer work exchanges in Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia and Belgium.

How to Travel for Free: The Workaway Program
Adrian Phillips suggests Workaway is a better way to remain abroad than selling an organ or smuggling drugs.

Memoirs of a Grizzled Expat 8: The Dilemma of Helping Vulnerable Street Kids
Andy Ahmed finds that other expats, irresponsible parents and the possibility of accusations of being a paedophile make it difficult trying to help street children in Cambodia.

Get Your Boots Dirty: Volunteer Overseas
Josh Martin skipped the safari and resorts to volunteer for two months in Ghana.

Helping Local Volunteers Help Haiti
Kirsty Henderson reports on a locally developed project in Haiti that helps other members of their community.

Volunteer in Bolivia at a Children’s Center (Interview Part I)
The founder of a children’s centre in Bolivia answers questions about her project.

Why You Shouldn’t Participate in Voluntourism
Richard Stupart runs through some of the arguments against voluntourism.

Live Chat: Everything You Want To Ask About Taking A Career Break With Expert Sherry Ott
Anil Polat and readers of Foxnomad fire questions at Meet Plan Go’s Sherry Ott.

A Week-In-The-Life of Dorothy: Volunteering in the Cook Islands
Octogenarian traveller Dorothy Conlon describes her first seven days volunteer teaching on a Pacific island.

The Selfishness of Teens: Volunteering in Salta
After volunteering with Cloudhead Art in Salta, Victoria and Steve feel teenagers unfairly get a bad press.

The Zombie Chase – Part 2
Amy and Andrew rampage around London after brains.

When Travelling, Be Very Careful Where You Volunteer
A cautionary note for those looking to do good.

Read This Before You Voluntour – Part I
Bert Archer, a travel writer for the Toronto Standard, finds out more about the voluntourism business.

Persuasive Reasons to Volunteer Abroad
Some reasons to volunteer.

What it is Like to Volunteer on Skomer
Sandra Young reflects on her weeks’ volunteering with birdlife on Skomer Island, off the coast of Wales.

Volunteering at SAELAO in Nathong, Laos
Where the hell is Rory? I don’t know but early in 2012 he was volunteering on a project just outside Vang Vieng.

What’s Wrong With Volunteer Travel?: Daniela Papi at TEDxOxbridge
A Youtube video that dwells on the negative aspects of voluntourism.

A Day in the Life: Peace Corps Volunteer
Caroline Eubanks interviews Melanie Chamberlain on her experience in Senegal.

How To Prepare To Volunteer Abroad
Jessica Festa’s tips include connecting with past volunteers and learning the culture of the country you will be volunteering in.

Farm Life in Northern California
With an interest in one day living sustainably on her own farm, Kirsty Henderson learnt about growing food and farm life in Boonville, Mendocino County.

How to Travel and Work Around the World with WWOOF
Sophie McGovern tells Nomadic Matt Kepnes about her experiences including making goat’s cheese in Tuscany and volunteering in the Ecuadorian Cloud Forest.

They gave me a machete: a true story of corn-cutting
Diana hacks away at a field of corn.

Volunteering – Is it Worth the Money?
Volunteering your time and effort can be expensive. Neil gives his perspective from volunteering in India, Sri Lanka and South Africa.

Volunteering Isn’t Just Teaching English
Sherry Ott has volunteered in Jordan and Lebanon. Here she suggests alternatives ways to impart your skills beyond just talking.

Volunteering in Banos – 30 Kids and 100 Soda bottles
Jack and Jill use empty plastic bottles and the power of imagination to keep a horde of children quiet in Ecuador.

Volunteer in Iceland, Travel for Free
Wade Shepard received free food and accommodation in exchange for carving steps into the side of Eldborg volcano.

5 Tips for Volunteering Abroad
JoAnna Haugen’s advice includes research and cultural sensitiveness.

Why I Recommend a Gap Year Over Uni
Chris weighs up the options, quickly says screw Uni and opts for a year out.

Yes, I am in Albania
Peace Corps volunteer, Meredith, spent a year in Albania.

Day 31-43 Tanop Community Education Centre
The Baigrie family describe the facilities and duties for volunteers at this Cambodian school.

Singing Aloud and Volunteering in Banos, Ecuador
Melissa Ruttanai describes the activities of the Biblioteca Interactiva de Baños.

Volunteering at Mr T’s Organic Farm in Vang Vieng, Laos
Not far from the alcohol buckets and tubing of Vang Vieng is the organic farm of a Laotian biologist where Penny Atkinson spent some time teaching English, milking goats and building a mud house.

Voluntourism: How to ensure you really are doing some good
Katy Stewart answers questions put by Iain Mallory. A big part of the interview is taken up with Katy’s views on voluntourism including commercialisation and giving special thought to working with children.

How to overcome home sickness while volunteering abroad
Zablon regularly writes for the Travel Dudes about volunteering abroad. This time he suggests some remedies for missing home.

So, You’re Going to Save the World?
Laura ensures sarcasm when she decides she wants to volunteer.

A Tale of Three Schools
Alexia Nestora presents a tale of good intentions gone wrong.

Volunteer Chronicles: Settling In
Sherry Ott’s initial experiences and impressions volunteering in Jordan with the Conservation Corps.

Volunteering in Svay Rieng
This is what Dave Dean of What’s Dave Doing did last year in Cambodia.

A Day in the Life of an Equestrian Intern in Costa Rica
Erin and Simon helped out with horses at an equestrian centre in a rural part of Costa Rica.

A Week-in-the-Life of Jeannie: Nomadic Chick
Jeannie Mark describes one of the twelve weeks she spent as a volunteer in a small village in India.

The Opportunities of Travel: ‘Volunteering’ in Taiwan
Johnny Ward is staying at an English school in Taiwan for Thai TV.

Volunteering in Kuala Lumpur
Victoria Brewood compiles a list of five Malaysian NGOs in the habit of welcoming volunteer workers.

How Volunteering Can Lead to Extraordinary Travel Experiences
Mark Wiens recounts some of his own volunteer experiences and passes on some advice how others can do the same.

5 Cheap Ways to Volunteer in Peru
And, while we’re on the subject, here’s one from me on Cheapoair’s blog.

Lies, Lies, Lies (or Volunteering in Nepal)
Connie Hum gets the shitty end of the stick when she ends up with a lying, thieving family masquerading as a volunteer organisation.

Volunteer Abroad for Free
Zablon Mukuba gives some advice via TravelDudes.

Seeing a Different Side of South Africa
Rebecca volunteered at a small primary school in KwaZulu Natal.

Solo Travel Options: WWOOFing in Japan
Sean volunteered on an organic farm in the coastal village of Uchinoura, on the south island of Kyushu.

Volunteering Gone Waaayyy Wrong and 10 Tips to Avoid a Bad Volunteer Experience
Lash has a bad WWOOF experience in Florida.

Organic El Salvador
Mike and Ashley Lenzen hooked up with an El Salvadorean-American couple who established their organic farm four years ago to help local kids.

WWOOFing in New Zealand
Rebecca Morley recounts her experiences on three farms in New Zealand.

Volunteering for a slice of Turkish life
An Irish Times piece about WWOOFing in Turkey.

Cool People Met While WWOOFing: Lee the Dish Fairy
Celeste reminisces about a Korean friend she knew in New Zealand.

WWOOFing in Italy
Working on an organic vineyard in Tuscany.

A Different Breed of Nomad
Tiffany and Greg interview Robyn who worked on an organic farm in Rarotonga.

3 Things I Learned from WWOOFing in Serbia
Beth and Randy enjoy the regional cuisine, culture, customs and homemade wine that are among the benefits of volunteering on an organic farm.

Portraits of WWOOFers in Tuscany, Italy. Part 1
The first in a three part series of photographs of WWOOF volunteers.

What the Heck Am I Doing With My Life?
Adam Pervez is a serial volunteer and, among many other things, has cleaned dog cages at an abandoned dog shelter, done menial tasks at a nursing home, helped publicise an organisation that turns used bikes into human-powered machines, and built a website for an indigenous Mayan co-op.

Voluntourism: Helping or Hurting?
A Canadian TV show discusses the topic.

Volunteer Travel in Indonesia
Heather Boylan used her experience to train teachers in South Sulawesi.

The Kids of Ngong Hills, Kenya
Despite finding that volunteering abroad wasn’t as easy as she thought, Angie Orth finally had the opportunity when she visited Kenya.

Beacon: Blists Hill Victorian Town
James Carpenter dresses up as a Victorian for the day.

A Week-In-The-Life of Inge: Volunteering in Costa Rica
Inge sheds some insight into seven days of her life as a volunteer at a Zoo.

Wildlife Volunteering at the Safari Park Open Zoo in Kanchanaburi, Thailand
Jennifer volunteered to improve the lives of animals living in the Safari Park Open Zoo in Kanchanaburi.

The Reality of Tiger Temple: My Final Thoughts on my Volunteering Experiment
Mixed emotions push Turner Barr to move on from volunteering at the often controversial Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi.

Day 2 in China
Shachaamah Brown volunteers with pandas.

Does ‘Voluntourism’ do More Harm Than Good?
Orphan huggers create a market for orphans and well builders take work from locals, argues Richard Stupart.

Monk Chats in Chiang Mai
Travellers can help young Monks get better at speaking English.

The Pros and Cons of Work Exchanges
Is participating in work exchanges a viable way of travelling cheaply? Jess, Wanderlust’s Blogger of the Week, shares her experiences.

Volunteering with Animals Abroad – Our Week at the Dog Rescue Project in Thailand
Amy and Andrew find the perfect volunteering opportunity during their trip to the Elephant Nature Park where they help out with their Dog Rescue Project.

Free Accommodation at Hostels: An Interview With a Die-Hard Hostel Fan
Eric Reed answers questions on working for his bed and food in the UK, Cambodia, Greece and Turkey.

The Ups and Downs of Work Field Trips to Rural Cambodia
Tammy goes on a field trip to interview and take photos of some of the beneficiaries of the NGO she volunteered for.

Volunteering At An English School In Yangshuo
Vicky and Dave converse with English students in a Chinese school. In return, the school allows them to live free of charge in the student dormitories.

A Volunteering Honeymoon
Joshua and Sutay Berman get married and volunteer in India for the New York based American Jewish World Service.

8 Ways to Avoid Being a Poser of a Voluntourist
How to find a genuine low cost volunteering abroad programme and avoid falling into the category of ‘poser do-gooder.’

Spotlight on BAWA, Volunteering in Bali
Michael Huxley advocates working for the Bali Animal Welfare Society.

My New Adventure
Rachel starts a Christian gap year course called Soul Edge in Saskatchewan, Canada, that will involves three months of leadership training and two months of mission outreach to the First Nations people living in Pelican Narrows.

IamA a 19 y/o Guy Who Took a Gap Year and WWOOFed, Helpxed, and Couchsurfed Around Europe for 6 Months (on the Cheap!)
Questions answered on Reddit.

Volunteer in Koh Lanta Thailand – A Disaster!
Yara Coelho puts up with a poor Workaway host.

The Joys of Free Volunteering in Thailand: Tiger Piss, Fur Balls and Excrement
One of a series of posts by Turner Barr on his time working at the Tiger Temple.

The Problem With Little White Girls (and Boys): Why I Stopped Being a Voluntourist
White people aren’t told that the colour of their skin is a problem very often, says Pippa Biddle, but in most of the developing world it can be a hindrance.

Family Volunteering Holidays
From helping to build a school in Kenya to beach cleaning in Wales to working with mahouts and their elephants in Thailand, Gretta Schifano lists some of the best options for families.

Volunteer Holidays: How to Find an Ethical Project
There are hundreds of ‘voluntourism’ projects available, but a new report claims few of them are doing as much good as they claim. So how do you find an experience that genuinely makes a difference? Two experts in responsible tourism give their tips.

Image courtesy Project Trust




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