Volunteer Abroad For Free
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- Embrace the opportunity of making your volunteering dreams come true even if (apparently) you cannot fund them
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- Join one of the most affordable programs starting at $140 and trusted by thousands of volunteers since 1998
One of the major expenses volunteers have to consider when taking part in a volunteer abroad program is flights. You will find that volunteering abroad with flights including is very difficult.
However, there are some special programs such as high school summer programs which do include airfare. Government based programs with organizations such as Peace Corps and VSO, amongst others allow you to volunteer abroad for free with flights included. There are also some relatively cheap volunteer abroad opportunities with flights included.
Here are few FAQs on flights which will help you to understand the issue of flights and volunteer abroad
Is there any volunteer abroad program where flights included?
Except high school group programs and some special volunteer group programs, very few volunteer abroad programs include airfare. Those that do include airfare are likely to have very high fees as the cost of your flights will be factored into that cost. A brief inte3rnet search will show you that for a typical high school program with flights included, fees can exceed $4000.
When compared to a typical fee of around $1000, depending on where you are travelling from, you are likely to find it much cheaper to find and book your own flights.
The volunteer experience was very eye-opening and I felt very much needed at the site. I would greatly recommend it.
The strong ties we built and the rewarding experiences that we made here were really very priceless.
A lifetime experience, which has opened my eyes to so much, and impassioned me to pursue future volunteer trips.
Overall a great experience! I can't think of any reason why I shouldn't recommend the program to others!
Do I have to book ticket by myself?
A volunteer organization is only likely to book your flight if the cost is included in the fee. If this is the case it is often the case that they will book the cheapest available flights. This may mean not travelling from your first choice of airport and trips with many stopovers.
Most volunteer organizations give you a time by which you need to arrive and allow you to book your own flights. Most organizations will then ask for the details of your arrival if they are arranging pick up from the airport or accommodation for you.
Does volunteer organization help to find cheaper airfare?
Volunteer organizations are unlikely to be able to offer you any special deals on airfares. We recommend that you carry out some research online using flight comparison apps and websites. (see below for a list).
You will find the best deals if you are flexible with your dates.
How much does it cost for international flight?
The cost of international flights will vary according to season, destination, carrier and even the time of day you book the flights.
As a general rule, Christmas and summer are more expensive times to fly. You are also likely to find that flights are noticeably more expensive during school vacations so changing your travel date by just a day or two can make a huge difference.
Also bear in mind that high season in your destination may be different to summertime where you live. For example, countries in the tropics experience are rainy/hurricane/monsoon season from May to October so travel during these times may actually be cheaper than expected.
Where can I get cheap airfare?
You are likely to find the best deals online, although if you do have a local travel agent it might be worth going in to talk to them as they can give you a general idea of prices and may be able to offer you a discount.
Even if you plan on booking with a travel agent, it is worth looking online using flight comparison websites so you have a general idea of prices. Here are a few flight caparison websites to get you started:
- Skyscanner – Offers the option to look at flight prices over a month so great for those with flexible travel dates.
- Kayak – Allows users to filter search results which saves time going through unhelpful results
- STA Travel – specifically caters to students and young people. They also have a number of branches around the world where you can get further discounts/personalised assistance.
Here are a few tips for using flight comparison websites:
- Use at least 2 different flight comparison websites as different websites have access to different carriers.
- Search using Incognito Mode or similar. Travel websites collect cookies when you search for flights which can push the prices up the more you search. In incognito mode/private browsing, cookies are not stored which means you are likely to get the cheapest results possible
- Remember that the price shown on the comparison website is probably no the exact price so click through to make sure.
- Use the results and see if it's cheaper to book directly with the airline.
Are there any airlines that offer discount tickets for volunteers?
There are a number of websites which claim to offer discounted airfare for volunteers:
However, we have found in our own research that flight comparison websites tend to yield better deals than these websites do so by all means check them out but only in conjunction with other flight comparison websites to find the best deal for you.
How can I lower my airfare cost?
With careful planning and advance booking you can lower your airfare cost.
Here are few tips
- Book in advance- Begin your flight research as soon as you have been confirmed on a volunteer abroad program and book your flight as soon as you can. Many people make the mistake of hanging around waiting for flights to come down in price only to find the opposite happens. Last minute deals are usually only on short-haul/charter flights.
- Shop around online – Check above for a list of flight comparison websites where you can compare prices of flights. Be sure to check a few different websites before actually booking as prices can vary greatly.
- Avoid travelling in high season – Christmas, Easter and summer are generally the busiest times of year to travel. Sometimes changing your flight dates by just a couple of dates can create huge changes in prices.
- Create google alert for last minute deals – Google allows users to create an alert which notifies you of changes in the price of your flights
- Subscribe to updates from comparison sites – You will find that most flight comparison flights offer the option to receive alerts whenever there is a significant change in price for your search<
- Be open to budget options – Check out budget airlines such as spirit and also be open to taking somewhat awkward routes.
- Be flexible – Search for a variety of travel dates and even airports if you live in an area with a number of airports.
Is there any volunteer abroad program with free flights and accommodation
Unfortunately, volunteer abroad programs do not receive funding which allow them to run programs completely for free and therefore they are unable to offer free flights and accommodation.
However, there are a select few programs which are able to offer volunteers free placement with flights and accommodation. These programs are usually government supported and require long commitments.
Here are some of the volunteer programs and organizations that offer free accommodation and flights:
- Marshall Islands – World Teach – an 11 month commitment which requires a $2000 deposit which will be refunded at the end of the placement.
- Chile – The Chilean government is currently funding volunteers in schools which covers in-country travel (related to your placement), accommodation and food and also a small bursary. Flights are not included
- Peace Corps – Peace Corps offers volunteer placements for US citizens with a number of benefits including flights, accommodation and an allowance. Commitment is usually 2 years.
- VSO – VSO offers free volunteer placements including international travel to UK citizens. Volunteers are asked to fund-raise for the charity/project. Fund raising targets vary according to location but is usually at least £985 ($1372).
Cheap volunteering abroad including flights
There are a selection of free and cheap volunteer abroad opportunities including flights available for those willing to commit to longer-term placements. These kinds of programs are often also looking for volunteers with specific skills. For example, People and Places Volunteer organization has a project based around a nursery school in the Gambia which specifically requires volunteers with experience in early childhood education. Their program costs approximately $2500 dollars which is not much more expensive than other volunteer abroad programs where flights are not included and the organization is consistently rated one of the best to volunteer for. Youth Challenge International has also offered flight bursaries for placements in Ghana and Tanzania although no placements are currently listed on their website.
Volunteer abroad for free including free flights
Currently the two organizations which offer free volunteer placements with flights included are Peace Corps and VSO which are aimed at citizens of the United States and United Kingdom respectively. Peace Corps placements are completely free for US citizens and include your flights and all main living expenses during your placement. Volunteers are however required to pay a $2000 deposit which will be refunded after the placement (usually two years) has been completed. VSO placements do not require a deposit but they do ask for a fund-raising goal to be reached. VSO offers full support to volunteers with their fund-raising endeavours and proceeds go directly into the charity to enable them to continue their work.