Category: Volunteer Abroad

9 Budget Travel Tips for Volunteering Abroad

Have plans to head abroad as a volunteer, yet not exactly sure how the cards will play out? Sounds right. The seed has most likely been planted and the idea is starting to really blossom. Well, you need to figure out how to fund your next greatest adventure now! But how do you do it? What does that actually mean? Well, let us tell you.

person wearing volunteer t-shirt

Having an arsenal of budget travel tips will save you money while volunteering abroad!

Budget traveling is often synonymous with cheap traveling, but it doesn’t have to be. And if so, there’s nothing inherently wrong with cheap travel anyway. Let’s call it the subtle art of combining decent living with economy while out and about in the world, working within whatever means you have.

Whether your budget is five grand or five hundo, having a budget can help you get arranged, giving yourself some structure, while providing a bit of visibility for your future (travel) plans. Keeping in mind a few helpful low budget travel tips will surely help you keep to your shoestring travel budget while maximizing your experience. Win, win, right? Cha-ching!

Is budget traveling as a volunteer even possible?

Cheap travel is rather easy to come by. Cheap travel tips are easy to come by too. There are pages upon pages. While helpful, they aren’t always the most relevant to you. Budget traveling as a volunteer abroad looks similar to budget traveling on holiday — but now you should take into account what you desire from your volunteer abroad experience and what you need.

Other factors like where you want to go, when, and how much time you can afford to volunteer are important as well. To volunteer abroad on a budget, you should be on the look-out for budget-friendly programs that are within your means.

This is normally the staple in your volunteer abroad diet. But that’s just the beginning. Check out some of these other budget travel tips to help you plan for your adventures volunteering abroad!

9 cheap travel tips for volunteering abroad

person serving street food

Looking for low budget travel tips? Hit the streets for some of the cheapest (and yummiest) cuisine in your destination.

1. Choose an affordable destination

No two destinations are equal. Consider starting your budget traveling with a budget-friendly destination. Think about those big-ticket items like your flights, program fees, and accommodation expenses. A flight to Europe may be less expensive, though the cost of living and program fees are often much less in Southeast Asia, for example. Shop around. Extending your stay a few days or weeks might actually help keep costs down.

2. Shop around for programs

One of the most important budget travel tips to remember is to shop around for programs. There are so many options. Browse programs to see what’s on the market before deciding where you’re off to. This will help you get the most bang for your buck. See what different programs offer; some program fees might include airport transfers or a homestay situation (which often include meals). Finding your perfect match might take a few swipes to the right.

3. Create a FundMyTravel campaign

Developing a FundMyTravel personalized fundraiser to help defer your expenses is another cheap travel tip. Asking for financial support from those around you (both near and far) could help you realize your dreams of a volunteer trip abroad. FindMyTravel is super simple. Create your account, develop your cause, and publish it on social media. It will help to have a budget in mind, so make sure to do some research into your ideal experience before launching your campaign.

4. Share your living expenses

Consider or make it a priority to live with others. Whether that be a local, a homestay, or with fellow volunteers, sharing your accommodation is a top-notch way to enhance your experience abroad. It can be an enriching cultural experience while living a touch smarter. Sharing your accommodation can lead to great things, like impromptu dinners and new friendships. It might even divide your living expenses in half. Just sayin’.

5. Book roundtrip airfare

As much as you want to just see what happens and go where the wind might blow you, booking roundtrip airfare is often cheaper than buying one-way tickets. This isn’t a secret — check out any low budget travel tip list. Be sure to scour a handful of search engines, remember to delete your cookies from time-to-time, and consider +/-3 days when choosing the date of your flights. Also try different airports. Sometimes it’s cheaper to fly into one city and take the train to your final destination, if that’s an option. Have a look to see what your options are.

6. Use a budget

This may seem rather redundant, but oh-so important. Devise a budget! Create a budget for the trip as a whole, but also a weekly or daily budget to stick to. Keeping within your means while abroad is also important. Give yourself an allowance and make an effort to follow it. Budget traveling tips will always recommend creating and following a budget. It’s always a great idea, but trying to volunteer in Paris on a budget might not be. See for yourself!

7. Pack lighter

Always. And for many reasons. Your flights may only include a carry-on, for example. Take less rather than paying hefty luggage fees at the crowded check-in desk. It would be nice to have some extra space in the event that you would like to bring something special home, too. Packing light will allow you to travel lighter. Any time not spent in front of an empty luggage carrousel is time exploring your new destination.

8. Eat like a local

Yes, please! In some destinations this could mean eating-in, while in others it is eating-out. Eating local is surely a flavorful way to rub elbows with culture. It’s as if the meal is the tip of a cultural iceberg you can’t even fathom. Furthermore, being aware of what the locals do can help you eat, and spend, like one too. It might also mean packing your lunch. You can brown-bag it to your placement for a few weeks — it will be alright.

9. Get accustomed to public transit

Whether it’s your feet, a bike, or something communal like the bus, taking public transit is one of the cheapest ways to move about. It’s also another stellar way to rub elbows with the local culture. Whether you find yourself on a pedal rickshaw in Southeast Asia, a jeepney honking its way through one of the Filipino islands, or buses in South America, you’re sure to have an interesting experience taking public transit abroad. This can also help you save wads of cash in the meantime!

Budget traveling as a volunteer abroad is possible!

woman crossing bridge in madagascar

We hope that backpack is full of budget traveling tips.

Of course budget traveling while volunteering is possible. There’s always a solution, right? Budget traveling isn’t a matter of giving things up — it’s about being more mindful of your expenses and saving where you can so you don’t have to make such drastic sacrifices.

Just make more informed decisions and plan ahead a bit. That’s something you can start doing now! Imagine saving yourself $5 a day for the next two weeks. That adds up real quick. And if you have a few months before leaving, it’s even more. Get ahead of the game and start saving now.

Consider taking public transit now to save on gas at home, and start looking for the right program. Speaking of the right program, have a look at some of these cheap volunteer abroad destinations to help you get started. While you’re thinking of it, create your FundMyTravel campaign STAT and start rallying up your family and friends — y’all are in this together!

With some of these budget traveling tips in your back pocket, you’ll be ready in no time.

Sign Up and Create a Campaign For Your Meaningful Volunteer Experience

9 Cheap Volunteer Abroad Programs for College Students (+ How to Pay for It)

Here’s some great advice for the budding wanderluster: See the world while still in college, volunteer abroad, and do it on the cheap! Affordable volunteer abroad programs are plentiful—so you can do good things, keep your expenses low, and explore new places all at the same time. In fact, cheap volunteer abroad programs for college students are available in any field, and on every inhabited continent. You just need to know where to look!

Hand on a colorful world map

Where in the world will YOU end up for cheap volunteer abroad programs?

And really, why wouldn’t you pursue a cheap volunteer abroad program? The experience of helping others while seeing new parts of the world is really its own reward, but we also know that inexpensive (or even free volunteer abroad programs) can bring big value to your personal and professional development portfolios—and that can mean money in the bank later on! With so many options for volunteer abroad programs, how should you choose? Well, we’ve got nine of the best programs for college students (including information about how to pay for it!) right here!

9 affordable volunteer abroad programs

1. Construction Project in Zambia

If you want to work with a hands-on project, this is the program for you! While it’s one of the most affordable volunteer abroad programs out there, what’s even better is the opportunity to build homes for homeless families in the village of Mwandi. Some construction experience would be a plus, but it’s not required for participation. If you like to become part of the community, this is also a great option as volunteers are encouraged to participate in village life. Even better, the total cost is roughly $100 per week.

Biker riding down a road in Zambia

Cheap volunteer abroad programs for college students will land you in some of the most beautiful places on Earth.

2. Iceland Trail Team Volunteers

We know that inexpensive is key, but what about free volunteer abroad programs? In this program, you can join the Icelandic Forest Service and help them manage the network of hiking trails that cross the wilderness. Full disclosure—this volunteer opportunity is only for the physically fit; but if you’re an adventurous, athletic volunteer with a passion for the outdoors, what could be better than spending six weeks (or more!) among waterfalls, valleys, and mountains? Best of all, there are no actual expenses for this program. That’s right—the costs are $0!

3. Best Volunteer Projects in Bolivia

Let’s say you’re looking for a free volunteer abroad program, but you’re searching for options beyond hiking the wilderness.  Well, why not head to Bolivia? Participation in this program allows you to pursue opportunities like teaching children to read, or working to conserve wildlife and care for exotic animals. And if geography is your thing, you won’t find a place more diverse! From tropical rainforests to the tropical savannas, and from the Andes mountains to the salt lakes, volunteering abroad in Bolivia has something for everyone. And yes, the cost to you is $0.

4. Skilled Volunteering with Moving Worlds

If you’re someone who prefers a customized approach, be sure to check out this stand-out among volunteer programs abroad. Cheap and flexible? You bet! Skilled volunteering means matching you with experiences that best correspond with your interests and skills. For a college student, this is perfect, because you can find a volunteer program that will connect your talents, interests, and course of study with an opportunity to do good things! As far as where you can go with this program, there are over 40 options from Argentina to Zimbabwe—for $80 per week!

Waterfall in Argentina

Price per week: $80. These views: Priceless.

5. Giving Way

This program keeps the costs low by connecting you directly with the non-profit you’d serve. When you’re exploring cheap volunteer abroad programs, you’ll notice that each program has something unique to offer. With this opportunity, that unique element is keeping the costs super low, and making sure the fees you do pay go directly to the community organization you would serve. This doubles the impact of your experience, and keeps the weekly cost at roughly $70.

6. Connecting Worlds in Argentina

If you’re looking for a six-month (or more) commitment for a cheap volunteer abroad program in South America, this could be the perfect program for you. With opportunities to serve in fields ranging from education to health care, there are all kinds of opportunities for a college student looking to enrich your experience. Another perk of this program is that all volunteers get an included homestay, which offers an even more immersive experience for those wanting to engage in the community. And you get all that for only $140 per week.

7. Kalamos and Kastos Sustainable Development Program

Typically, if you’re looking for cheap volunteer abroad programs for college students, opportunities in Greece are among the most beautiful—but also the most expensive. The low cost of this program makes it one of the most desirable and affordable volunteer abroad programs you can find! You get to work on sustainable conservation and spend your free time exploring the stone-house coast with like-minded people for only $158 per week. Fantastikós!

A bench on a beach in Greece

Grecian beaches are legendary. Cheap volunteer abroad programs will show you the way there!

8. Sustainable Bolivia Opportunities with Niños con Valor

If you enjoy working with children, this is one of the most interesting, cheap volunteer abroad programs out there. The focus is on providing critical support to victims of various kinds of trauma; if you’re in a counseling or therapeutic field, this could be a perfect fit, but no previous experience is required. There are three primary projects, ranging from HIV/AIDS related healthcare to mental health. Do good for those in need for only $68 per week.

9. Volunteer World Best Volunteer Programs Worldwide

So if you’re looking for affordable volunteer abroad programs and don’t have a preference on where to go or what to do so long as it’s a positive experience, check out Volunteer World! With over 80 countries to choose from, and an incredible range of options for activities, locations, and program length, this is the perfect program for those who want a big menu of options. From working with animals to engaging in sports, at only $162 per week, you could do more than one!

Quick tips for covering your volunteer abroad costs

So now that you have the inside scoop on cheap volunteer abroad programs for college students (or even free volunteer abroad programs!), wouldn’t it be great if you could reduce those costs even more? Well, you can! Check out this short list (of many!) ideas to help you make your volunteer abroad dreams a reality:

  • Have a good old-fashioned bake sale
  • Sell your unwanted fashions online
  • Wash some cars, trucks, or motorcycles
  • Run some errands or mow some lawns
  • Consider babysitting or elder care
  • Walk some dogs (or cats!)
  • Do some ride-sharing or pedi-cabbing
  • Work short term as a bicycle messenger
  • And (most importantly) check out the resources on FundMyTravel.com!

You can afford to volunteer abroad!

Man standing on a mountain top with a backpack

Cheap volunteer abroad programs for college students are calling. Ready to answer?

As you can see, there are all kinds of options for cheap volunteer abroad programs out there, and even more ways for you to raise money to cover the costs you do have! A volunteer experience can be life-changing for the volunteer and for the people they serve, so don’t let something like financial costs get in the way of living your dreams, seeing the world, and helping others. Get your research done, get creative, and you’ll be packing your bags in no time.

And, with FundMyTravel.com, there are more options than ever to raise money to cover the costs of volunteer programs abroad, cheap or otherwise. Whether you want to feed the world, build homes, teach children, map the wilderness, conserve the coastline, or do any other super cool things with your talents and time, you can find something that suits you—so get started today!

[Sign up for a FundMyTravel account now!]

andi sciaccaThis article was written by Andi Sciacca. Andi is based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she lives with her husband and their four-legged family. She works with inspired professionals who are expert practitioners, experienced educators, and well-known contributors to their field. Andi helps them take ideas and put them into practice. When not working or writing, she loves to experience music, see the world, and learn new things. Andi’s favorite places to travel include anywhere she can eat good food—and swim.

Why You Should Fundraise for Your Volunteering Abroad Experience

Raise funds to Volunteer Abroad

“Volunteers don’t necessarily have the time; they have the heart”.  

After a lot of research, you have decided you want to volunteer abroad. You’ve picked a location and a program – now all you have to do is get there. While your first option to fund your trip might not necessarily be fundraising, you should definitely consider it! A great way to fundraise for your volunteer abroad experience is to start a campaign on FundMyTravel. FundMyTravel is an easy platform for you to use and  place for donors to contribute financially to support your trip.

Fundraising is an important part of your volunteer journey – here are three reasons why you should do it!

1. Donate Money to Your Volunteer Project

One reason you should raise money for your meaningful travel experience is to help your project onsite! Whether you are volunteering at an orphanage in Ghana, teaching English in China, or becoming a nursing volunteer in Guatemala, by raising money for your project you will be able to contribute more than just your time. On FundMyTravel, multiple campaigners have asked people to donate money so the volunteer can help their program in one way or another. For example, Ailish McGovern raised money for her trip personally but asked people to donate money so she could buy more resources for the care center. Fundraising is a great way to help your program, before you even get there!

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Old Question, New Answers “Why Volunteer Abroad?”

Definitely one of the most over-used titles on any volunteer abroad blog is ‘Why Volunteer Abroad?’. Despite its simplicity, this mere three word query is something that we as volunteer abroad bloggers just can’t leave well alone.

In most cases, articles are very similar: the author will note down very valid points about how volunteering abroad will introduce you to a new culture, help you contribute to the economy, enhance your education and offer you the opportunity to contribute your time and skills to noble and worthwhile projects. For the most part, all of these reasons are truly valid, but of course you already knew that, right? After all you’re thinking of volunteering in Guatemala for 4 weeks, you’ve already pretty much worked out that you’re going to be experiencing a new culture, spending money, donating time and hopefully learning a thing or two a long the way.

After working hands on with volunteers for a number of years, I’d like to offer a new perspective to this age old question. So without further-a-do, I give you a few reasons why you should volunteer abroad.

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