Thursday, 24 November 2011 11:44 AM
A few months travelling may be something you've always wanted to do, but you might have felt restricted due to a lack of funds. However, going on voluntary holidays needn't break the bank. Here are some tips on how to have the trip of a lifetime on a budget.
Doing volunteer work abroad will give you the opportunity to learn more about another culture and become involved in a community, as well as enable you to help other people who are less fortunate than you are.
Therefore, you shouldn't let worries about money hold you back from doing something so important – and embarking on a volunteer trip could be one of the most rewarding holidays you ever take.
You will find there are a number of ways you can limit your costs when planning a voluntary project abroad. The first thing to consider is where in the world you would like to help.
If you are happy to offer your services anywhere, you could find that some locations are likely to be more cost-effective than others. For instance, if you stay in Thailand or Cambodia for a while you will find that your living expenses remain low during your stay, enabling you to spend a longer period of time abroad.
Alternatively, you might like the idea of working for some of your trip in order to raise funds. In this case, you might consider heading to Australia. Here, you'll be able to get involved in a voluntary project – such as reforestation initiatives – before or after you get yourself a paid job.
You may, of course, have always wanted to take part in a specific initiative, such as helping panda conservation in China. Therefore, you will have a definite location in mind. In order to lower costs so that you can afford your ultimate travelling experience, you may wish to think about getting involved in a shorter scheme and only doing summer voluntary work, for example.
Voluntary projects typically last between two weeks to three months, so if your budget is tight, you can simply join a programme for 14 days. This will enable you to get a taste of what it is like to live abroad, as well as help those who need it most.
However, if you think you'll really enjoy the initiatives, you might want to try hard to increase your budget as it will be more cost-effective to do one voluntary programme for a longer period of time, rather than two or more shorter ones.
In order to make sure you get value for money on your trip away, pick a project that will enable you to gain some experience. If you are considering working in education in the future, for instance, you might find it particularly useful to help children learn English in Nepal.
Or, those considering a career in animal care might, on the other hand, be interested in conservation projects that see them work closely with orphaned creatures, such as caring for lion cubs in Africa or protecting nesting turtles in Costa Rica.
Being able to come back with either a new skill or some experience in a particular field is sure to make your trip worth every penny.