How Volunteer Vacations Work

Planning a Volunteer Vacation

When most people think of volunteer vacations, they envision going abroad. In order to plan for a volunteer vacation in another country, there are some things you will need to take into consideration. Most importantly, if you don't already own a passport, you need to apply for one now. It can take quite a while to get a passport unless you have an emergency situation that may allow you to obtain one quickly [source: USDS].

In preparation, you'll also need to:

  • Check with your host country to learn about any health requirements you may need, such as vaccinations.
  • Budget for fees that may be required by other countries upon entry. You may have to pay additional fees for cargo you are bringing for your volunteer work.
  • Study the weather and political climate of any country you're visiting, so you are prepared for whatever may happen while you're there.
  • Plan enough vacation time to account for time change adjustments or jetlag.
  • Decide whether you want to plan the trip yourself or go with an established volunteer organization.

Even if you are planning on volunteering locally or in one of the other U.S. states, you still need to plan ahead. You don't want to take a week off thinking you can help out at the local children's museum only to find out it's closed that week for renovation. Call ahead to check with the organization to see when they can use help before you run your chosen dates past your boss. If you're planning to travel, you'll need to research where you will stay, what expenses you might incur and exactly what will be expected of you once you are there.

Now that you've learned about the prep work, read on to learn about volunteer vacationing on the African continent.