Article by Robin Van Auken on Volunteer Forever

If last year’s snapshots of your trip to the beach look a lot like the ones from the year before, and the year before that, it might be time for a fun change. Vacations are supposed to be a wonderful change of pace, especially when you’re with family and friends, but when you’ve been there and done that, it might be time for something new.

It’s time for something challenging, something exhilarating, something unforgettable. Welcome to the “experience economy,” a concept that finds people – from a vacationing family of five, to empty nesters spending time abroad, to solo travelers on a quest for enlightenment – interested in experiences that are amazing and meaningful.

Spending your money on an experience is not a fuzzy idea. It’s as genuine as any product you buy. The question is: how do you define the value of that experience?

Imagine the memories you’ll make when you embark on a journey to India, volunteering on a teaching project that supports street kids, or empowering women to build small businesses to support their families. On weekends you’ll visit the Taj Mahal, wander the local street market, or chill with a Bollywood movie in a local theater.

Take amazing photos during your walking tour of Transylvania, deep in the heart of Eastern Europe. Here, you can help with a special-needs care project, or you can teach English in the morning. Spend your afternoons exploring cobblestone villages and medieval castles, or hiking ancient forests.

Organizations like International Volunteer HQ have vacation itineraries that can place you, or your family, on a project of a lifetime. You’ll expand your global awareness and develop an appreciation for different cultures when you’re volunteering together. Not only that, you’ll learn valuable life skills, such as how to work as a team and travel responsibly.

Love Volunteers is another great organization that connects fearless travelers with rewarding projects, leaving plenty of time for sightseeing. Consider a trip to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, where you can choose to work on a customized volunteering activity that also includes cultural workshops. Excursions include visiting the Mekong Delta, home to Khmer pagodas, floating markets, and small villages.

Volunteering Solutions embraces family volunteering, and has exciting opportunities in India, Nepal, Peru, and Costa Rica. This organization recommends families traveling together consider working on a child care project where they can teach English and help improve the quality of life for street children. In return, your own children, if you’re traveling as a family, learn the value of little things in life, and you’ll share an unbreakable bond.

Maximo Nivel offers tons of volunteering adventures for travelers from all backgrounds, ages, and skill levels – and whether you’re traveling solo, with your family, or with a group, you’re bound to find a meaningful opportunity with this organization. A few highlights include a family mini-adventure through Costa Rica, Guatemala, or Peru, a Spanish camp for teens, and even cultural immersion in the Andes of South America.

So, if you’re traveling with kids, seeking a thoughtful retirement opportunity, or simply want a week or two abroad to volunteer in a clinic, on a construction site, in a school, or a soup kitchen, you’re in the right place. Take a look at these outstanding volunteer travel opportunities and start planning your trip today!


Volunteer Forever  is a comprehensive online resource that helps volunteers find and fund their volunteer opportunities. It advocates empowerment through information and resources.  With Volunteer Forever, you can quickly create a profile and start fundraising right away. Volunteering abroad can be expensive, but it’s also a noble endeavor that your friends, loved ones, and communities will be happy to support. Learn more about Volunteer Forever here.