Some people want to use their vacation and travel time to wind down and relax. Others want to see as many sights as possible. A third choice that’s available combines vacation and volunteering. It’s called voluntourism.
What Is Voluntourism?
Voluntourism is the concept of using vacation time to volunteer in various ways. Some options may be teaching English classes, building wells, building schools, hospitals, etc. It all depends on the individual’s skillset.
Individuals do often have time for tourist activities and leisure, but the main goal should be and most often is the volunteer work they have decided to undertake on this trip.
Benefits Of Voluntourism
This option gives numerous benefits to those who choose it. Some reasons people try voluntourism include:
- Making an impact on the world
- Learning and teaching at the same time
- Seeing places they might not otherwise
- Making connections with people from different cultures
- Challenging themselves to do things they didn’t know they could
While some people would see working on vacation time as a “waste”, it seems to be exceedingly rare that people who choose this option feel that way. It’s often said that it’s a rewarding experience and even changes them as an individual.
Voluntourism vs. Arranged Volunteering
Arranged volunteering and voluntourism are similar and sometimes hard to differentiate but they do have some distinct differences. Some features of arranged volunteering include:
- Can be longer-term
- Is arranged via special organizations called NGOs
- Can often be at least partially deducted on taxes
- The organization offers training, whether it be technical, linguistic, or otherwise
- Individuals live as the local population lives, creating an extremely immersive experience
Whether an individual chooses to participate in a less-structured voluntourism option that gives a bit more leeway and leisure time or a structured arranged volunteering option, they’ll benefit.
Helping people and the planet we share is rewarding on deep levels. Leaving a positive legacy behind, and knowing the world has been improved because of your labors is worth the hard work and effort. Voluntourism is a trend that can do immense good.