Are You Too Old For a Volunteer Vacation?

It’s true. Americans are traveling more than ever — and the U.S. Travel Association reveals some interesting facts on who exactly is traveling the most.

“Mature travelers comprise 36 percent of leisure travel volume (18% are 65+, 18% are 55-64). Nearly two in ten (19%) are 45-55, 17% are 35-44, 20% are 25-34 and 8% are 18-24 years old,” cites the Domestic Travel Report — a study funded by the association.

This may seem surprising, but to us, it isn’t. In fact, the average age of Discover Corps travelers is 50, with 69% of our travelers over the age of 40. That’s because mature travelers often long for the type of meaningful and culture-filled travel we offer.

If you are a baby boomer who’s been considering this type of travel, you might have one big question: Am I too old for a volunteer vacation? 

Our answer: a resounding NO. So far, our oldest traveler was 81 years old — and we can’t wait for someone to beat that record. Below, we’ll review some of the common misconceptions you may have about volunteer vacations (and why you shouldn’t believe them!).

You’re not too old to go on a volunteer vacation; in fact, we think you’re the perfect age.

4 Myths Keeping You From the Adventure of a Lifetime

1.  I can’t keep up

To this, we say: nonsense! Volunteer vacations aren’t about breaking fitness records; they’re about making connections with people and places. You might go on hikes or take part in physical projects — but you’ll always have ample time to slow down and absorb what’s around you.

As long as you’re in reasonably good physical shape, you’ll be fine on a volunteer vacation. Here at Discover Corps, we believe in slow and immersive travel, which means we’re all about staying in one place and soaking in everything it has to offer. Try doing that on a frenetic group tour to Europe!

2. I’m an old dog; I can’t learn new tricks!

Again, nonsense: boomers are some of the most curious travelers we have. You’re eager to learn, and eager to help. You’re not afraid to ask questions, and you have enough life experience and knowledge to ask smart ones.

Even more importantly, as a mature traveler, you have a multitude of skills and insights you can share — from your patience to your stories to your knowledge of obscure Russian sculptors. Whatever it is, you have a wealth of things to serve you on a volunteer vacation.

3. It’s too much work

The logistics of planning a volunteer vacation can be intimidating to any traveler — no matter their age.

For one, it can be overwhelming to plan flights, lodging, food, and activities. Then, in terms of volunteer projects, there are plenty of issues that need attention — how on earth are you supposed to determine which one is right for you?

Honestly, it can be a lot of work. Which is why we recommend you travel with a reputable company that specializes in volunteer vacations. (We might know of a good one…) A volunteer vacation company will take care of all the details for you — and will also help you determine which project is the best fit for your skills and interests.

4. It’s dangerous

We know that traveling to a developing country can seem scary. Most unknown things are. Research, planning, and common sense are your best weapons against sticky travel situations.

This is another place where a reputable and organized travel company will be your ally. We, for example, hire local staff who know the language, customs, and geography. They’re there to make sure your time abroad is safe and enjoyable.

The bottom line: Volunteering is a rewarding and unforgettable experience. Don’t let your age hold you back from the adventure of a lifetime. It is, after all, just a number!

 What other hesitations do you have about going on a volunteer vacation? 

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