Volunteering your time is so important and a great way to experience travel. As much as I love the fancy hotels, volunteering offers different kinds of hidden gems. Here are my top three recommended volunteer programs.
IVHQ - International Volunteer HQ
IVHQ is one of the most affordable, and versatile volunteer options. They have over 40 destinations to choose from as well as numerous volunteer options within the country of choice. You can offer your skills with child care, animal conservation, food outreach, teaching, medical care, and so many others. I worked in Xi’an China with special needs kids through this fantastic program.
Island Trails Network (ITN)
ITN is an organization dedicated to maintaining the trails and beaches in Kodiak, Alaska. I volunteered with this organization in 2011 and it was an amazing and challenging experience. It’s very gritty and meant for volunteers who aren’t afraid of getting down and dirty (literally). A lot of the conservation work is cleaning up debris that washes up on the beaches from Japan. I even found a message in a bottle! Challenge yourself and experience the wilderness of Alaska!
Volunteering Solutions (VolSol)
Volunteering Solutions offers over 20 countries to work from, many of which are located in Asia and Africa. If you are thinking about taking a gap year of some kind, this is a fantastic volunteer opportunity. They also have internship opportunities for students in the journalism, pre-med, dental, and medical fields. I haven’t had the opportunity to work with this organization yet, but it’s very high on my bucket list!