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How to Travel The World for Free by Volunteering

Travel Team | Jun 9, 2022

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Like travel, volunteerism is one of life’s greatest pleasures. When the two are combined, it can become a life-changing experience for those with adventure and a desire to help in their hearts. Traveling for volunteer work can reap many benefits for the spirit, if you plan it well.

There are many opportunities available for volunteer travel, but not all are created equally. Critics have noted the negative impact that voluntourism can have on communities; however, that criticism is typically leveled at the organizations that curate and promote volunteer travel opportunities and not those who have the best intentions to do good work in underserved communities around the globe.

To ensure your volunteer travel experience is positive for both you and the community, Seven Corners recommends making a few considerations before you embark on your journey.

Can You Volunteer Abroad for Free?

Traveling for free through volunteer work is possible and can be a one-way ticket to just about anywhere abroad. You can join several programs, organizations, or projects that allow you to volunteer abroad for free. To find the right opportunity for you, and to make sure you’re traveling responsibly, you need to do your research.

Young black man researching places to volunteer his time.

How to Travel Through Volunteer Work Responsibly

Do Your Research

In addition to researching locales, there are many questions you should ask before booking a voluntourism trip.  You want to ensure your skills are put to good use and that the organization you are working with is reputable and benefits the community. Some of the most important questions are:

  • What are the economic and cultural issues facing your destination?
  • How have previous charitable efforts affected the area?
  • How does an organization manage the funds they receive?
  • Are you qualified to do the work that is expected of you?

Young woman saving baby kangaroos in australia from a wildfire.

Decide Who You'll Travel and Volunteer With

Whether you’re a planner or prefer someone else to take the lead, there are options for your international service work.

  • Fly solo. It  takes some effort, but by going solo, you can plan a trip based on the locales and philanthropic causes that interest you most and that are tailored to your strengths. You don’t want to get assigned to an agricultural project when your dream is working with children, after all. If budget is a concern, planning your own voluntourism trip can be a cheaper option. It’s also well-suited to longer-term travelers.
  • Let someone else handle the details. Working with a voluntourism company is a more expensive option but might be a better bet for short-term travelers or those without much volunteer travel experience. These companies will handle more of the logistics for you, such as finding a project and arranging housing. Once again, just make sure to research who you’re booking through.
  • Form your own group. Whether you have a group of family and friends who want to experience travel through service together, or if you’re interested in forming your own volunteer travel organization, group travel is an option that may make some more comfortable while being abroad. Voluntourism can lead to intense culture shock — not only are you in another country but you’re also often removed from the main tourist sites — so having more of a support system might appeal to you.

Study The Culture

Understanding the culture of your volunteer travel destination is an extremely important part of your research . Ensuring you are respectful of your new surroundings will make your stay that much more comfortable for yourself and others. After all, traveling for free through volunteer work means you’re temporarily in someone else's home, even if the goal is to make that home a better one.


Get insurance for your travels.

Protect Yourself with Travel Insurance

You want your experience to be a positive one, so making sure you’re covered by travel insurance is one way to maintain peace of mind. Travel insurance may not be required for the country you’re visiting, but it’s highly recommended to ensure safety and financial protection. In addition to individual coverage for trip protection, Seven Corners also offers group travel insurance plans to cover your entire party.

To get a fast, free quote, visit our website. You can also speak with a Seven Corners representative about which coverage you and your traveling companions will need by contacting us at sales@sevencorners.com or 317-575-2652.

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