Volunteering - Best Tours & Trips 2019
Classic Tour Groups are between 25-60 people, typically ~30-40. Usually there will be many opportunities to split off and enjoy meals and excursions in smaller groups. This is the most economical way to travel, saving up to 40% versus booking the same itinerary yourself.
Small Group Guided Experiences Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
River Cruise These vessels are smaller than most ocean cruisers, limiting which amenties are available. Passenger counts can vary. One of the biggest advantages of a river cruise is the ability to dock at smaller ports and local villages.
Small Ocean Cruise Small ship cruises usually have a max passenger count of 500. The primary purpose of these trips is to spend time off the vessel in local ports (e.g. Mediterranean) or experiencing nature (e.g Galapagos or Antarctica). Cabins can vary from budget to luxury.
Private Tour Private tours give you the undivided attention of a guide, and often involve special access to sites and unique experiences not available to larger groups. This is a great option for families, couples, and small friend groups. Expect to pay a bit more for the extra service.
Independent Package A travel company plans your itinerary and arranges all the logistics including lodging, local activities, and transportantion. You have the flexibility of a solo trip while still getting the convience and time savings of expert planning. Get 90% of the benefits of a tour, without a guide.
Vacation / Holiday Package Similar to a self guided tour, this usually involves a home base, such as a hotel or resort, with packaged activities and day tours as a part of the stay.
Large Ocean Cruise This is the "floating city" experience, with multiple ways to enjoy your vacation aboard the ship as much as on land. Ships are multiple floors, provide several activities, culinary, and shopping options. They often make fewer stops and have less time available for shore excursions.
Camping Typically involves most nights sleeping in tents (sometimes permanent tented sites) or in rustic cabins and lodges.
Basic - 2 star You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping.
Value - 3 star Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Premium - 4 star 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Luxury - 5 star The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays.
Price Per Day
Very Easy Minimal walking - motor vehicles available for all major parts of trip.
Easy Normal generally flat walking in urban or suburban environments.
Moderate Walking or physical activity half to most of day - no carrying equipment.
Strenuous All or most of day hiking or biking, hills included.
Extreme Very challenging all day hiking and backpacking carrying significant equipment.
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Rivers & Seas
Cities & Attractions
Good for Singles Trips that specifically cater to travelers looking to meet other singles.
No Single Supplement Trips where single supplement is usually not required for solo travelers.
Flights & Transport
Continents & Regions
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Top Volunteering Experiences
Working alongside locals to help protect endangered sea turtles
Watching animals being cared for before their release back to their natural habitat
Experiencing life in a Buddhist monastery in Northern India, teaching novice monks in a temple school
Learning Lao’s culture, history, food, religion and language
Assisting children with physical and mental disabilities
Giving a presentation about autism in Mongolia, via videos, pictures, and a translator
Teaching the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears through song, in an underprivileged area of Buenos Aires
Volunteering Trip Reviews
15 Volunteering Tour Reviews - Summary 93% Recommend
Volunteering Tours and Travel Guide
Volunteering Attractions & Landmarks Guide
For those interested in going beyond simple responsible tourism, volunteering is an excellent avenue. Many guided tour companies incorporate this directly into their mission statement and focus on volunteering as a part of their tours. You might help build a home, volunteer at a local school, or help out at an elephant sanctuary. Do good and travel!
When choosing a volunteer placement, take into account what you are interested in, where you'd like to go, and how long you can volunteer for. Here are just some of the options for volunteering abroad.
Teaching can be an incredibly rewarding experience, as not only is it a lot of fun, but you get to see the results of your effort day by day. Teaching English is a common choice for native English speakers who want to volunteer abroad, as English teaching placements are available in just about every country.
However, don't assume that just because you speak English means you can teach it. Being a good teacher requires creativity, knowledge of teaching methods, enthusiasm, and a lot of patience. Consider doing a TEFL course before your placement, and research fun and effective lessons plans. Be sure to set long and short term goals, and put effort into planning your lessons.
Remember, English is just one of many things you can teach abroad. Consider what you're interested in- maybe you could lead an after school art club, or coach a soccer team. It doesn't have to be in an English speaking country, as many schools abroad welcome lessons that are taught through English.
Working for the conservation of forests in Myanmar, islands in the Seychelles, or beaches in Costa Rica, can be a rewarding way to spend your volunteering placement. Not only will you be helping to conserve an ecosystem, it's also a great way to immerse yourself in a new environment. This work is particularly suited to those who love the outdoors and physical activity. Be sure to choose a placement that is suited to your health and fitness levels.
From observing elephant behavior in Thailand, to researching wildlife in South Africa, to rehabilitating animals in Peru, volunteering with animals can be an incredible experience.
Before booking a placement, make sure the organization promotes sustainability and ethical treatment of animals. Also, have realistic expectations about what work you'll be doing. Your placement may involve less cuddling pandas, and more shoveling manure.
By volunteering with building projects, from houses to schools to wells, you help provide much needed resources to an area. The work can be physically demanding, but can also be rewarding, as you can see a project through from start to finish and also see how much it benefits the community.
Be wary of volunteering following a natural disaster. You may go with the best of intentions, but do your research thoroughly to see if you actually can contribute. Unless you are specially trained in disaster relief or construction, you may end up using up valuable resources, while not being of much help.
Volunteering with children doesn't have to mean teaching. Placements can involve working with children in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, or helping at an orphanage in Nepal, or taking care of children in Fiji. Working with children requires patience and enthusiasm, and can be a fun learning experience for both the children and for you.
Volunteering in Your Field
While some people may want to use their volunteering opportunity as a chance to try a different job, it's worth considering using your skill set when volunteering. For example, if you are a qualified engineer, your engineering skills will likely be far more useful than your English teaching skills. While it may seem on the surface that you are doing the same job as back home, bringing your skills abroad opens up doors for exciting new experiences and the chance to make a real difference. Or, you could look into training people abroad to do the work you do back home, especially if you work in a field that is newly emerging in another country. For example, an occupational therapist can provide useful training and advice in a country where this therapy is not yet commonplace.
When choosing a volunteer placement, there really is no limit to where you can go and what you can do. So browse through Stride's list of volunteering trips and find the one that's perfect for you!
All Volunteering tours, river cruises, expedition cruises, and adventure trips. Find the best guided trips and expert planned vacation and holiday packages. Average rating of 4.5 for all Volunteering trips.