How to Decide Where to Go on a Volunteer Vacation

So you wanna go on a volunteer vacation? Awesome.

Now all you have to do is decide where — which is no small task when you’ve got the whole world at your fingertips!

From Africa to Asia to Latin America, opportunities abound to learn about a new culture while giving back. Since we know deciding where to volunteer is tough, here are a few questions you can ask yourself to narrow down your options.

What’s the weather like?

Better weather is a huge reason people go on vacation — so why should it be any different when you go on a volunteer vacation?

A vibrant, sunny destination like the Dominican Republic might be just what you’re after. Or, perhaps you’d prefer a drier, more mountainous climate like that of Peru’s. (Bonus: different climates also provide an opportunity to learn about new types of flora and fauna.)

Though it may seem trivial, don’t underestimate the importance of weather in determining your mood and experience. And don’t forget that the season you’re traveling in plays a big role, too!

[bctt tweet=”These 4 questions will help you decide where to go on a #volunteer vacation: “]

What will I be doing?

What’s your passion? Do you love kids? Animals? History? And what are your skills — do you enjoy working with people, or with your hands?

Take stock of your interests and skills to help you determine what volunteer vacation destination would be best for you.

If you adore wildlife, for example, then our sea turtle conservation trip in Costa Rica would be a great fit. If you want to get your hands dirty, then you’d probably enjoy helping local residents build health clinics from disposable plastic bottles in the Dominican Republic.

Wherever your interests lie, you can find a way to share them with others. And if your dream volunteer vacation doesn’t exist? Create it. The world always needs more people doing things they’re passionate about.

What language do they speak?

Parlez-vous volunteering? Though being familiar with the local language can enrich your volunteering experience, it is only necessary if you’re doing a DIY-volunteer vacation. If you’re traveling with an organization like Discover Corps, our bilingual staff members will be there to guide you through any language barriers.

That being said, a volunteer vacation in Guatemala is the perfect opportunity to practice your Spanish. You’ll have ample chances to interact with locals, leaving with both a sense of accomplishment and deeper understanding of the culture.

What about the culture?

Speaking of culture, what type fascinates you? Is it the smiles, temples, and elephants of Thailand? Or the nomadic lifestyle of the Masaii? Finding a culture that you connect with can make your volunteer vacation a truly life-changing experience.

And keep in mind that authentic culture isn’t always bound to the past. We recently launched our cultural trip to Cuba as part of our constant quest to build international friendship and understanding. We’ve loved seeing the mix of old and new in modern Cuban life, as have our travelers.

Though figuring out where to go on a volunteer vacation can seem like an overwhelming decision, it’s important to remember that you can’t really make a bad choice. Wherever you go, you’ll have an adventure and make the world a better place — and what could be better than that?

[bctt tweet=”No matter where you #volabroad, you’ll have an #adventure AND #giveback:”]

 What other reasons might sway you to choose a particular volunteer destination? Share your suggestions in the comments!

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