Why Filipinos Make the Best Travel Buddies

How To Find Volunteer Opportunities Around The World

BZFLAG Medina Africa, Australia & Oceania, Caribbean, Central America, Inspiration and Love Stories, South America & Antarctica, Travel Blog, Travel Guides 28 Comments

Before finding a volunteering gig, you have to be clear why you want to volunteer – whether it’s because you want to change the world, you want to learn new skills or you want to save money. One thing is for sure – The experience will change you! This article aims to help you find the places to volunteer.

First things first: determine your why. Before looking for places to volunteer to, you first have to ask yourself why you want to volunteer.

Is it for a cause that you advocate for?

Do you want to acquire new skills?

Is it for mere experience?

Do you want to immerse in different cultures?

Your why’s will be your guide in searching for volunteer opportunities.

Jon and I have volunteered for different causes in different places: we’ve taught kids in Cambodia; we’ve worked in a hostel in exchange for accommodations in Peru; we’ve worked with disabled kids, and horses for a day in Arequipa; I’ve volunteered in a sustainable Eco-farm in Laos. All of these are experiences that stayed with me and helped me gain a wider perspective on things that I used to not know much about.

For an advocacy

Volunteering for an advocacy means giving your time or expertise for a cause. These kinds of volunteer work give you a better understanding of a certain advocacy and enable you to make a difference the best way you can.

There are a lot of ways to volunteer for an advocacy, but you first have to decide which cause is closest to your heart. This sense of purpose will drive you to make a change, and in the end, satisfy you.

You can volunteer for an advocacy online by providing free services to non-profit organizations that cater to your advocacy (e.g. environment, animal rights, human rights, etc). You can also volunteer locally or abroad.

There are a lot of non-profit organizations who works towards an advocacy. Most of these organizations are powered and ran by volunteers as well.

For the culture

These are volunteer works that are usually under fellowship programs. While you can immerse in a country’s culture and learn about their history by just visiting the country, volunteering through fellowships, sometimes internships, allows you to stay longer in a place may it be local or abroad. And that’s the key to immersion: time.

Immersing yourself in a different culture allows you to understand the people more, and gives you a different perspective or way of looking at things.

There are a lot of non-government organizations and international organizations that offer this kind of volunteer work.

For free amenities

Travel accommodations can be expensive, but we figured out a way around that. Did you know that you can actually volunteer in exchange for amenities like free accommodations and food?

It’s true! We did it, and here’s how you can do it, too.

Monkey DividersHow to find places to volunteer?

There are different ways but we will only list down what we know and most of what we experienced.

Please note that we’re not a fan of giving any amount of money or a “donation” to volunteer. We will pay the membership fee of some websites but you won’t see us paying (a lot of money) to donate our time and effort. If you choose to donate out of choice at the end, that’s different. You might also want to know about Sustainable Travel Lifestyle which we actually prefer than volunteering esp when you decide to Travel Long term.

We made a Top 5 tips of what we know based on experience in finding your perfect volunteer or work abroad opportunity.

Join HelpX.net

We found our Hostel volunteering gig in Ollantaytambo, Peru through this website. We stayed in Ollantaytambo for 5 weeks. HelpX has a fee of $25 for a two-year premium membership that grants access to potential places for volunteering. Most of the hosts listed on the site require volunteers to commit 4 hours a day of working in exchange for accommodations like bed and food.

HelpX has an international market—we even found gigs in India and UK!—but there are different websites that are popular in specific places. An example is Woofing.com, which is known in Australia and New Zealand.

P.S. If you don’t want to join yet, message us on where you want to go and we can try to help you to look for some places if there’s an awesome one which will worth it for you to sign up!

This is as simple as the name of the site itself—you look after someone else’s house! TrustedHousesitters has an established network. No one would just trust a stranger to look after their personal home, but with established network, both the owner and housesitter are carefully reviewed and selected. The owners and housesitters are carefully selected and reviewed to ensure everyone’s peace of mind. TrustedHousesitters gives you freedom to choose! You can live near the beach, or the countryside—it’s completely up to you! Jon and I are planning to use this site when we live in Europe at some point.

Places to Volunteer: Jon's Parents' Cottage in Gloucertershire

Jon’s Parents’ Cottage in Gloucertershire

Walk-in

Don’t hesitate to ask! We found this bar and restaurant volunteering gig in Duck’n’Chill Restaurant in Agonda Beach, Goa just by walking into their place. We had dinner there and when we discovered that the food was awesome so we asked the Manager if we can work and help them for a week in exchange for yummy food! He agreed and voila, we enjoyed the best Indian food we’ve ever had!

duck n chill india - walk in volunteering

In different party cities in South East Asia, you can easily find volunteering gigs like working in a hostel, bartending, giving away fliers etc – just approach the staff and ask them if they need help from a backpacker. During the full moon party season in Koh Pah Nga, Thailand, all guesthouses are extremely busy and expensive, lucky we found this gig which gave us free bed and food in exchange for working few hours at night working in the bar and cleaning the hostel.

Monkey Dividers

Finding different volunteer opportunities

You don’t need rocket science to find volunteer opportunities. If you are still having problems how to find them, start with your circle of friends. Most of the time, your friends are just waiting for you to just reach out to them.

Check on Facebook

This is pretty obvious. Most organizations have Facebook pages, and most of their announcement and activities are posted online.Yes, you can easily message a company or establishment directly on Facebook.  So if you decide to go to Sri Lanka then look for a place and them directly on Facebook. We’ve done this a lot of times before going to a place and we get a lot more responses. You can follow organizations that cater to volunteers, or join .

Related Article: Looking for an affordable accommodation? Check out our Ultimate List of Best Hostels around the World.

Ask your Friends (Word of Mouth)

Of course, you have Facebook friends and you’ve seen them staying and volunteering in some place, so for sure they have details or the organizations or backpacking hostel. Just ask them! Ask your friends, especially the ones who travel a lot!

Also, if you’ve been following different bloggers, ask them too! Follow bloggers who travel places and do volunteer work! Most of the awesome bloggers that we know do reply to their readers and they’re definitely willing to share their experiences with you.

Message us here or on , we may give you s teaching in Siem Reap, Cambodia; bar and restaurant work in Agonda Beach, Goa, India or even volunteering gigs here in Peru.

Check Websites for Places to Volunteer

There are lots of sites that offer volunteering opportunities. Just use Google search operators and you can spot random volunteering opportunities. Examples of such are the use of “intitle” and “inurl” search operators.

Screen Shot Searching for Places to Volunteer

By using search operator like the image above, you can find opportunities designed for the youth who are looking for scholarships and fellowships around the world. We know you’re looking for volunteer opportunities, and you can find lots of that, too! You can also find non-profit organizations that aim to bring good people and good causes together.

A lot of websites boast databases of volunteer opportunities online. You just need to find them. Some are for those who want to contribute and make a difference without having to be on-site. You can also discover worldwide volunteerism projects where you can team up with the organization to address issues and challenges on sustainable development.

Using our tips above, you can easily search for opportunities and find projects in different parts of the world.

Monkey Dividers

Quick reminders on Volunteering

You’ve identified your why. You’ve found your place—what’s next?

We’ve gathered a quick few reminders before you commit to that trip!

Make sure you know what you can give

Volunteering isn’t exactly all fun. It requires work, and before you commit, you have to ensure that you will deliver. A lot of organizations are powered by volunteers. This means that when you volunteer for an organization, they expect you to carry out your role. If you feel like going out of the country for volunteer work is too much of a stretch for you, try volunteering locally first.

Do not over-commit your time. Know what you can and are willing to give. This will make it easier for you and everyone else involved.

Research the culture

This is very important, especially if you’re going abroad. The last thing you want to do is offend a person or an organization. Research about the culture of the organization, if you’re volunteering for one, or the province where you’re going.

You are expected to at least know how to act around the locals, and to be aware of simple etiquettes. Never go to a place without researching about its culture first.

Learn the language

If you’re going to a country with a different language, it’s ideal that you learn their medium. But if you’re short on time, you can try to learn the basic, conversational language. English may be the universal language, but not everyone can speak it, so you better be ready.

Some organizations provide free training for this in their orientations—don’t miss it!

Pack light and comfy

It’s a volunteer work, not a luxury staycation. Make sure to bring clothes that are comfortable and amenable to weather changes. Some volunteer works require you to travel every now and then, so keep your bags handy and your clothes comfy.

Bring an open mind

You’ll be meeting a lot of new people, and going to a lot of new places. To fully understand people and their situation, you have to approach them with your judgment and preconceptions suspended.

Listen and learn from the people you’ll meet. It can be life-changing.

So there you have it. No more excuses. GO VOLUNTEERING!

Monkey Dividers

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Comments 28

  1. Such a amazing post, volunteering is best way to convert your skills and help others… thanks for sharing this lovely post.

  2. This sounds interesting. I want to try volunteering someday. I dont have a license to teach, but I can do housekeeping and dishwashing chores😊.please help me find a volunteer work here in Southeast Asia…even if its only for a week.

  3. I like to volunteer, but if my point in going to a place is to travel, then I think volunteering will not be enjoyable for me. Although for those looking for free accommodation for their travel funds this post is an awesome idea 🙂

  4. I have voluntereed before here in the Ph but not as much anymore. To volunteer I think the sole purpose is to help secondary is to experience new things or places. It should be an after thought. It is great though that there are lot of ways now to look for possible places to volunteer. 🙂 Fb is a good resource for eveything nowadays

  5. This post is good timing because I’ve been thinking about volunteering abroad for quite some time now. Thanks for the tips.

  6. Excellent tips , super ! I like the idea of youngsters volunteering and you are providing a decent info on sources on how to get started and where to find offers. A very helpful post to encourage and help others . Every time I enter your site I am giggling about your blogname 🙂 Very remarkable !!

  7. Great post and ideas. I can see my youngest daughter wanting to do something like this, but she is only 16, a little young yet. Kaz x

  8. This is great to know about. The only volunteering abroad I have done is in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. There were a lot of organizations with good information but I wanted to use one I could trust, so I used both Episcopal Charities and Habitat for Humanity. It was a wonderful experience!

  9. I wanted to do this when I finished university so I could fulfil my love of travelling as well but sadly other events intervened.

  10. Volunteering is one of the many passions my husband and I love to do. We believe we can help change the world For the better with the little contribution we give. Time is the most precious of all resources and sharing it to those in need is truly satisfying. Thanks for the lead.

  11. It’s a nice-to-know read… I have done some volunteering based on news I’ve got from Facebook. But I was never aware of any websites. Thank you for sharing the knowledge!

  12. This is really helpful! Friends have been asking me where and how to find volunteer opportunities abroad! I will share with them this link! It’s also super helpful for us as well. We would love to check out some volunteer opportunities on our next long trip!

  13. There are some great tips here, it would be wonderful to be able to travel and help people by donating some time too. Thank you for pulling this list together it’s so useful. x

  14. Another useful blog post. I’ve done volunteer work in New Zealand and Tonga and it was a great experience.

  15. What a brilliant blog post idea. This is nothing I’ve ever thought about before but can imagine that it would be something difficult to know where to begin with, without a post like this.

  16. I can’t imagine anywhere in this country that would allow you to work for board and lodgings, that’s just wonderful. Thank you for writing this article I.m pinning it for future reference,

  17. i have no problem with the concept of basically working for food (I’d call it that rather than volunteering) or house sitting. But volunteering itself should really come from a different mindset than finding yourself free accommodation. And if you do have the idea that you want to do good you really need to ask the right questions before going to volunteer. It shouldn’t be about you, it should be about the people you are helping. So check if you are not in fact taking a local person’s job away (considering that many volunteers are unskilled labour in the fields they are working), if when working with children and animals it is done in a sustainable way (children bond quickly and are often left broken hearted when volunteers leave, working with wild animals shouldn’t include cuddling sessions with them, etc).

  18. You have just shifted my perspective entirely, you walked into a restaurant in Goa and asked if you could work for food? That is just awesome.

    I’ve been looking at volunteer opportunities for a while now, thanks for all the great tips here 🙂

    Derek

  19. Hello kach! Thanks for the tips on what to do in order to travel. Its very informative. Makes me more motivated to look for ways to go on trips to see the world. Are there more places you can suggest that is also worth it to sign up?

  20. Some excellent tips here! Wish I’d known some of these before I signed up for the first time as a volunteer…thanks for sharing!

  21. I have this dream of doing travel, backpacker way and I came across your blog! This article really gives me ideas on how can i start my plans. Hopefully I could be like you guys! More travels to come and stay safe 🙂

  22. Hello BZFLAG! Thanks for all your articles, I’ve been reading it since yesterday. You two brown and white monkeys are very inspiring cant wait for more articles to read. Since last year I’ve been planning to be a backpacker but there’s always fears where to start but this is it my spirit has been lifted! This is my dream life travel and volunteer. Wanderlust! Have a wonderful adventure Monkeys. xo 😉

    1. Azia!! Thank you for this comment!! Sweet of you!! Let me know if you have any topics that you want me to write about!!

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