1. Travel

A Directory of Volunteer Vacations and Projects

Thousands of Volunteer Vacations Where You Can Make A Difference

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Working with sea turtles on a volunteer vacation

Working with sea turtles on a volunteer vacation

SEE Turtles and RED Sustainable Travel
GoVoluntouring is an easy-to-use directory of volunteer projects and vacations offered by small non-profits to large organizations. The site acts as a matchmaker between travelers and volunteer opportunities around the world.

If you're looking for an adventurous experience, check out the projects that range from helping to care for elephants in Thailand to hands-on green sea turtle research with local conservationists. Just as exciting, but less active, is the chance to participate in Art Restoration Workshops, with 'hands on' experience in the process of conservation and restoration of frescoes, canvas, wood, stone and decorative paintings and plaster in the rich cultural setting of Italy's Puglia region.

How to Find a Volunteer Trip That Appeals to You

Using the directory just takes a number of clicks to filter the choices down to the type of trip or project that most appeals to you. At the top of the home page, there are places where you can choose from several options: travel destination, program type, program duration, cost, ideal age, fitness level and religious affiliation.

For example, I clicked on "less than one week" and didn't specify a country. Several results showed up stretching from counting grey whales off the coast of California to working with children in an orphanage in Chile. I put "Ecuador" in the destination box and conservation projects in the Amazon region and on the Galapagos Islands popped up.

Who Runs GoVoluntouring.com?

The site was launched in the fall of 2011 by Aaron Smith of East Vancouver in Canada. Smith looked at the way people travel, and then asked, "What is the purpose of recreational travel, is it truly fulfilling, and what will be its legacy?" A longtime, experienced volunteer traveler, Smith decided to create a one-stop shop to benefit both travelers seeking to volunteer, and the non-profits and other organizations who want to get the word out that they need volunteers. GoVoluntouring's mandate: to empower those who need it the most.

Top Searched Projects on GoVoluntouring.com

  • Baja Expeditions offers travelers a chance to join a unique whale watching and turtle research excursion to Magdalena Bay. A Baja Turtle Research & Whale Watching trip in Mexico includes hands-on green sea turtle research with local conservationists.
  • Join the Sea Turtle Conservation Project in Costa Rica and work with these marine turtles whose numbers have declined dramatically in recent decades. It's a chance to visit warm beaches, practice Spanish and learn more about the region's culture. At night, you will patrol the beaches looking for these slow-moving creatures.
  • No prerequisites are required to join in the Art Restoration workshops in Puglia, Italy. You'll get 'hands on' experience in the process of conservation and restoration of frescoes, canvas, wood, stone and decorative paintings and plaster in the rich cultural setting of Puglia region. As you work, you'll learn about the conservation of the art and the historical heritage of the region.

    Participants will also create their own frescoes employing traditional techniques and materials- from making the plaster,'sinopia' underdrawings, and painting with natural pigments.

  • Caring for elephants in Thailand can be wrapped into a trip to explore this exotic country. In Thailand, the wild elephant population is decreasing due to habitat loss and poaching, and domestic elephants traditionally used in the logging industry, are also in danger.

    Today, many elephants have ended up on the streets of big cities where they are forced to work as begging tools and tourist attractions or else they roam. The mission of this elephant rescue centre is to stop the suffering of these elephants by allowing these large animals to roam safely on a large plot of land donated to the centre.

  • Join the Lion Rehabilitation project in Zambia. This is a 'hands on' project in the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, where you'll actually work with some of the lions. Volunteers can walk alongside as the young cubs learn to stalk their prey. This is one of the world's leading programm for the release of lions back into the wild.

How Volunteer Projects are Chosen for the Web site

GoVoluntouring has a vetting process for projects listed on the site. The site indicates: "We want to see your track record. We want to speak to people that know you from the inside and out. We need to do some homework on you. It's important to our goals, and it's important to our users.

"Our partners must offer programming that, through the life cycle and network of impacts, adds cultural, social and environmental benefits through their footprint. "

There is no cost for non-profits. For-profit groups approved may test-drive the site for a specific amount of time.

Visit GoVoluntouring.com

Visit GoVoluntouring.com to learn more about this directory, which acts as a matchmaker between travelers and volunteer projects.

Where to Find More Volunteer Vacations

Trips and experiences are as close as building homes in fire- and flood-devastated states herein the U.S. or a far away as helping in orphanages in Romania or elephant camps in Africa and Thailand. To see a list of organizations that offer volunteer travel trips and vacations click on Top Sources for Volunteer Vacations. For more information about volunteer travel visit Taking a Volunteer Vacation. You can find quick, short volunteer opportunities on Earth Day and National Parks day. Returning travelers say volunteer travel is a life-changing experience. If you are wondering if Voluntourism is right for you, here are suggestions for the route to helping you decide. Click on How to Decide if Voluntourism is for You.

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