Would you consider going on a volunteer vacation?
After spending an unpaid week in Costa Rica building a school, a friend of mine can’t wait to do something similar next year. And he’s not alone.
Volunteer vacations are becoming increasingly popular with those who’d like to do a bit more than sit on the beach for a few days but don’t have the time to join the Peace Corps.
In exchange for your work and dedication to their project and cause, sponsors like Global Volunteers will take you on an unbelievable journey – at a fairly reasonable cost.
In fact, it seems that just about every travel organization — from tour companies to luxury resorts — has a volunteer component, although prices rise proportionately.
Like to get connected with something that seems a bit less commercial? A good place to start would be FlyforGood, which offers an online trip finder that connects volunteers with nonprofits vetted by Charity Navigator, a watchdog association.
If a Canadian flavour is important to you, try Global Citizens for Change, a CIDA-supported organization.
The Travel for Good program offered by Travelocity also lists several affordable options including the American Hiking Society, which runs weeklong trail maintenance trips for just $275.
Or here's a list from Pam Grout's book The 100 Best Volunteer Vacations to Enrich Your Life.
Have you travelled elsewhere to help others and see another part of the world? Were costs in line with expectations? Would you do it again?
By Gordon Powers, MSN Money
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