Take a risk and stop being afraid or making excuses, traveling is not about being just a tourist but instead is about experiencing true risk and adventure to eradicate the fears of your life. School and Travel Abroad Programs If you are currently a young adult attending a university you still have a great control over your environment, so you must do what really interests you. Life will not always be about you, take advantage of this time of which you have complete freedom and independence. Volunteering Travel awakens our sense of compassion, during our youth there comes a time when the decisions we make will define and shape our characters as a person.
The habits you develop in those early years will stay with you for the rest of your life. Traveling will generate changes in you that very few activities can achieve in such a short time, it will transport you to places and put you in extreme situations where you will question your ideas and believes, those in which you may have always lived by. Traveling will awaken your interests, sensitize you with others and with bigger problems than those you deal with every day, and eventually you will begin to understand that the world is enormous and small at the same time, you will respect pain and suffering, you will connect with people and situations that at some point were unknown to you.
Joining a volunteer program is not the same as being a good intended tourist or a cool traveler. The first thing you need to understand is the differences between volunteering and any other trip. The comfort of a hotel room, an all-inclusive buffet or evenings during the holidays are not part of a volunteer adventure. Being part of a volunteering program requires your willingness to understand and abide by the rules of that new culture and the goals of the organization you are supporting.
You must be open to learning, to help and be supportive in every activity in which you participate. It is not a job, you are not employed, you will not receive monetary compensation for your service. Volunteering internationally is the ideal way to travel at low cost and, at the same time, to collaborate in cultural activities, caring for the environment, helping communities in need, among others. How to get it?
Work for Stay Working in exchange for accommodation and even food is an option that more travelers are adopting in order to make longer trips on a budget, either in Europe, Asia, Australia or any other part of the world. This is a way to travel with very little money or no money at all for months, meeting people, learning about new cultures and discovering countries that typically would have a higher cost for a traditional tourist, countries like Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland or Japan. Traveling while working for accommodations is one of the most efficient ways to take a leap year and travel the world, even if you wish to take a break for a couple of months on your summer vacation, without breaking the bank.
Don’t be afraid and for any minute believe that you will get overworked, you must keep in mind that by not signing a contract you are free to leave at the time, especially if you ever feel your host is not complying with what was agreed. If you have a European passport, you are less likely to have visa problems in any of the European Union countries, if this is not your case and you own an American passport you are perfectly fine, there are plenty of countries where Americans do not require a visa, and some that will entitle to a visa between 30 and 90 days for a small fee, depending on the country.
You must always inform yourself about visa requirements and specifics before embarking your adventure. Another important aspect to consider before undertaking this kind of travel is purchasing a good medical insurance, a simple mosquito bite or an operation of appendicitis could leave you in debt for thousands of euros. After you have chosen the country of your desired destination, it is important to keep in mind that if you do not have a work visa and you need to work legally, you should never say that you are going to do this type of exchange. For immigration purposes, it can be misinterpreted as a full-time job and you can be deported and send you back to your country.
There are many websites on the internet where you can find this type of exchanges, below I have listed two of the most famous and effective programs out there: One of the most successful traveling work platforms is Worldpackers. Worldpackers has a lot of offers available, but better yet hosts can also find you by filtering for skills and their specific needs, therefore it is highly recommended to completely fill your profile and be as detailed as possible. The annual price for this membership is $49.
Another great website where you can find all kinds of jobs around the world, in exchange for accommodation and food on some occasions is Workaway. One of the most popular jobs by travelers are found in hostels, either as a receptionist, cleaning or entertainment staff, organizing events for their guests. There are also people who offer their house in exchange for help with small projects or volunteers, in this case, you will not receive any kind of monetary payment.
The price for maintaining an active profile is €32 per yearly subscription. In conclusion, the world is a fabulous place, full of incredibly amazing places that inspire moments of awe. Travel while you can still enjoy it in all its splendor, if not today you may not have the chance to do it again. There is a quote by Saint Augustine that goes “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page”