Volunteering overseas often conjures up images of traipsing through jungles to remote island villages and hammering tooth and nail to help build schools. While those are both definitely options on a volunteering holiday, you may not have realised you could also teach disadvantaged kids how to surf or hand-rear baby lion cubs in South Africa or help out with panda conservation in China. Voluntourism projects range from building developments for disadvantaged communities, working with children and animals and so much more.

Volunteering overseas can involve a wide range of work; you could find yourself helping to support the health of communities in Peru to working on conservation projects in Costa Rica and joining community projects in India, South Africa or Ecuador. What it’s really about is doing a little good in the world – ultimately though, you’ll get just as much back as you give, if not more, in the grand scheme of things.

Whether you want to work with kids, animals or help with building and conservation, there’s a variety of options all over the globe from helping with kids in Thailand and Vietnam to feeding elephants breakfast in Sri Lanka, looking after game animals in Kenya and Namibia or getting involved in sporting activities with disadvantaged kids in Malawi. There's also orangutan conservation in Malaysia or helping with whale shark conservation in Mozambique. Whatever your calling, we can help sort out packages, visas, travel, insurance and accommodation details so you can start making a difference, sooner.

You can volunteer from two weeks to a month or more, and there's no age limit on giving back. What’s different about travelling as volunteer as opposed to a regular tourist is you get to know the local people and you get an insider view. It’s a big deal you’ve come out of our way and are giving your time, and your gesture won’t go unnoticed. In most cases, when volunteering overseas, your meals and accommodation will be sorted and any additional expenses will be left up to you, so it’s a good idea to have some extra savings for further travel after your volunteering endeavours come to an end.

A beluga whale.

30 wildlife experiences to have before you're 30

21st July 2016

Sir David Attenborough reckons there are some four million different kinds of animals and plants in the world and, given he’s probably seen at least half of them (plus he is SIR David Attenborough), we think it’s as good as number as any to highlight the sheer diversity, volume and abundantly spectacular amount of life we’re lucky to share our planet with. From animals facing extinction to...Continue reading →

Top 3 tips for volunteering overseas

  1. Look after yourself: Take malaria medication if it’s advised for the region you’re travelling to, and get all of the relevant vaccinations. Drink bottled water, carry antibacterial hand gel and wash your hands. Illness is usually prevented by taking a little extra care in terms of hygiene. 

  2. Learn some local language: A few words in the local lingo will get you a long way!

  3. Keep your eyes and mind open: Consider the impact of the photos that you take and the messages you put across.

A beluga whale.

30 wildlife experiences to have before you're 30

21st July 2016

Sir David Attenborough reckons there are some four million different kinds of animals and plants in the world and, given he’s probably seen at least half of them (plus he is SIR David Attenborough), we think it’s as good as number as any to highlight the sheer diversity, volume and abundantly spectacular amount of life we’re lucky to share our planet with. From animals facing extinction to...Continue reading →

A snow monkey in a hot spring in Japan.

7 Reasons We Heart Japan

21st July 2016

Manga, Godzilla, emojis and Harajuku – there are so many reasons we heart Japan. Here are 7… 1. Sushi + sake Japanese food’s intricate creation, fresh ingredients and combination of flavours is enough to lure you here (maybe not the whale sashimi or cat cafes – where you get to cuddle a cat while you have a snack- IMHO). Think fresh sushi at food stalls by Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market (or...Continue reading →

Girl with suitcase standing on a road.

7 common travel screw-ups to avoid

20th July 2016

Now you can't say we didn’t tell you! Sometimes it’s the most obvious things you’re first to forget. And sometimes you’re just too damn busy being excited to care. But before you leave the country – rookie traveller or not – be all over these pointers like a rash so you don’t commit some of the most common doozies on the road.Mad-dashing it to the airportLove the adrenalin rush of a mad dash? Or...Continue reading →

Girl taking instagram photo on her phone while travelling.

Ways to make money while travelling

18th July 2016

You don’t need to become a travelling sales rep or transport unidentified items on your person across borders (please don’t do this) to make money while travelling. Here are a few of the many ways to make some cash while travelling… Join expat life Get a working visa and earn money doing whatever you’re good including popular options like working at ski lodges in Canada, being a camp counselor in...Continue reading →

Before you go - checklist:

The travel stuff

  • You'll need a visa appropriate for volunteering and travelling in your chosen destination;
  • Make sure your passport has at least six months' validity;
  • Travel insurance.

Personal admin

  • Let AEC (Australian Electoral Commission) know you’re leaving the country so you don’t get wacked with fines for not voting if there’s a local or national election on the horizon;
  • Make sure your drivers licence is valid for a while or apply for an international drivers licence;
  • Make copies of your documentation (i.e., passport, visas, birth certificate, etc.);
  • Photocopy all documents including insurance particulars, record the numbers of your credit cards, passport, and airline tickets and give to a responsible family member or friend at home;
  • Bring additional passport photos to ease the process of replacing a lost or stolen passport, or if other official documents are required once you are in your destination country.

Medical

  • Medical – do you have you have all the drug prescriptions you need, including your glasses/contact lens prescription (if you wear them)?
  • Pack a spare pair of glasses and contact lenses (if you wear them);
  • Have you had all the relevant shots/immunisations for the region you’re travelling to? And pack a list of the vaccinations you’ve had, just in case;
  • Visit your dentist to have a clean and checkup before you jet.

Finances

  • Tax – let the ATO know you’re leaving the country;
  • Apply for any credit and debit cards for travel;
  • Notify your bank and close any accounts that might charge you fees while you’re away;
  • Money – take approximately $AU200 with you as universal currency;
  • Pay off any debts you have with friends, family or financial intuitions;
  • Cancel any automatic withdrawals you have from your bank account.

Practical

  • Pack you camera, batteries and chargers;
  • Pack an extra memory card for your camera;
  • Buy an international power adaptor suitable for use in the region you are travelling to;
  • Invest in a good backpack;
  • Don't forget all your electronic chargers;
  • Note all your insurance and emergency numbers in a safe place;
  • Know the address of the closest Australian embassy in your destination, just in case.

The not-so obvious

  • Pack foam earplugs (to block out noisy travel buddies or offer to others if you’re the noisy one!);
  • Bring a good book or a novel based somewhere where you are headed - it adds an interesting perspective when you explore these destinations;
  • If you have more than one credit card, separate them. Perhaps store one in your wallet and the other in your luggage. That way if you lose one or the other you’ll still have access to cash;
  • Collect Australian souvenirs (those little clip-on koalas go down a treat) to give out to your students or kids you meet while volunteering;
  • Purchase a few educational games or children’s word association games;
  • Collect glossy catalogues and magazines with lots of pictures; these are hard to find in most developing countries and students love them!
  • Find out what is considered to be proper attire in your classroom or volunteering location, including shoes, as well as weather-appropriate clothing for your destination.

Cambodia Teach English to Buddhist Monks, 14 Nights

14 nights twin-share accommodation in a guesthouse. Orientation on arrival. Tuktuk transfer to and from the project dail more..

$975*from

Cambodia Grad Trip (Volunteering), 16 Days

Return economy airfare from Brisbane or Sydney to Siem Reap (other departure cities available on request). 15 nights ac more..

$3,199*from

Cape Town Township Kinder Kids, 15 Days

14 nights accommodation in a Multi share dorm room. Arrival orientation briefing. Pre-departure helpdesk, local in-count more..

$975*from

African Wildlife Rehab, South Africa, 15 Days

14 nights accommodation in a Multi share room. All meals daily. Arrival orientation briefing. Pre-departure helpdesk, lo more..

$1,695*from

South Africa Monkey Sanctuary, 22 Days

21 nights accommodation in a Cabin in a Twin share room. All meals with breakfast and lunch only on Saturday and Sunday. more..

$1,995*from

South Africa Wild Lion Research, 15 Days

14 nights accommodation in a Project House in a Quad share bunkroom. All meals. Arrival orientation briefing. Pre-depart more..

$1,995*from

South Africa Cheetah Conservation, 16 Days

15 nights accommodation in a Volunteer House in a Quad share. All meals daily. Arrival orientation briefing. Pre-departu more..

$2,195*from

Teach English in Ubud, 13 Nights

13 nights bunk-room accommodation in a shared house. All meals. Arrival orientation briefing. Social and cultural activi more..

$995*from

Teach English in France, 29 Days

28 nights accommodation with a Host Family in a Private room. Most meals including breakfast and dinner Monday - Friday more..

$1,145*from

Giant Panda Care in China, 6 Nights

2 nights dorm-share and 4 nights twin-share accommodation All meals. Arrival orientation briefing. Pre-departure helpdes more..

$1,195*from

China Paid TESOL Placement, 6 Months

5 and a half months twin-share accommodation. All meals (Monday - Friday only). Arrival orientation briefings. 1 month T more..

$5,299*from

Tanzania Help Kids, 15 Days

14 nights accommodation in a Multi share room. Breakfast and dinner daily. Arrival orientation briefing. Pre-departure h more..

$1,249*from

Teach English to Buddhist Monks in Nepal, 14 Nights

14 nights of twin-share accommodation in a family homestay and/or monastery. All meals. Pre-departure helpdesk, local in more..

$1,389*from

Build for Communities, 14 Nights

14 nights multi-share accommodation. Bangkok city tour. Arrival orientation briefing. Pre-departure helpdesk, local in-c more..

$1,499*from

Thailand Elephant Village Experience, 14 Nights

14 nights multi-share accommodation. All meals whilst at the village. Bangkok city tour. Arrival orientation briefing. P more..

$1,689*from

Totally Thailand, 28 Nights

28 nights of multi-share accommodation. Meals at elephant village. Pre-departure helpdesk, local in-country team and 24h more..

$1,995*from

African Wildlife Sanctuary, 15 Days

14 nights accommodation in Twin share room. All meals. Arrival orientation briefing. Pre-departure helpdesk, local in-co more..

$1,595*from

Sri Lanka Elephant Conservation, 14 Nights

14 nights multi-share accommodation. All meals. Arrival orientation briefing. Pre-departure helpdesk, local in-country t more..

$1,895*from

Java Orangutan and Community Education, 7 Nights

7 nights twin-share accommodation. All meals. Arrival orientation briefing. Pre-departure helpdesk, local in-country tea more..

$1,895*from

Fijian Youth Development Grad Trip (Volunteering), 9 Days

Return Economy Airfare from Brisbane or Sydney to Fiji (other departure cities available on request). 8 nights accommod more..

$2,199*from

Borneo Orangutan Sanctuary, 14 Nights

14 nights shared accomm. Self-catered meals, food ingredients all provided. Project donation. Arrival orientation briefi more..

$3,495*from

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