Traveling is a fun way to know yourself and the world around you. By traveling you experience a lot of things that you might not experience while you’re at home.
When you start having a „normal” life, usually a routine settles in. That’s something natural to happen. It’s nothing to freak out about. This routine settles in and then you might not have the chance to see the world through different points of view. That’s where travelling comes handy.
All my life, up to 22 years old, I knew the same story as most of you probably know: „you need a lot of money to travel”. And that’s true, as long as you don’t know any alternatives.
At 22 I found out about the alternative way of travelling called “work exchange” – you volunteer in exchange for food and accommodation. I decided to embark to this lifestyle for a while and see what I can get from it. And my god, I got and I am still getting a lot of things.
Since then, I found out that there are other ways of travelling.
This is my second article, out of a series, about alternatives to travelling, others than “you need a lot of money to travel”.
Each article will show you various ways of traveling, from the most comfortable to the most extreme ones.
For some of the methods you won’t even need money at all, for others you might need a light budget, but not thousands of euros.
As the first method explained in the first article was the easiest, this one will require a bit more effort and investment from you, but nothing impossible.
In this article I’ll explain and give examples of traveling alternatively, by volunteering.
Here are just a few ways of how you can see the world while helping others in need, in an organized way.
- AIESEC is the biggest international student organization.
I was a member of it for a few years and I can say that it laid a great foundation to my development as an individual. Besides its great programs and trainings that offers to its members and the way it is organized it has a department for volunteering abroad.
Basically they will link you with another organization from your desired destination and help you with all the paperwork and stuff that needed to be done. They’ll help you as a guidance, not actually going instead of you for your visa, dduuhh!
Also you’ll usually get a buddy from the organization(AIESEC) in the country you’re going to and free accommodation. Depending on the volunteering you’ll do you might get one meal provided, and sometimes even all of them.
Volunteering with the help of AIESEC will require some costs on your behalf: a fee to the organization so you’ll get access to their database and your travel expenses.
- Red Cross is the organization with the largest number of members worldwide. If you haven’t heard about Red Cross it’s strange, but here’s their areas of activity: disaster and crisis, development aid, asylum and migration, social Inclusion. You can read more about their activity on their website.
Through Red Cross you can volunteer in various ways from helping out with the delivery of donations and packages to those in need, to educating youngsters about first aid for example.
You can contact your national Red Cross society and ask how you can help or the European/International one.
As you can probably imagine your traveling and food costs should be financially covered by you.
- Doctors without borders is an organization that delivers emergency medical aid to people affected by conflict, epidemics, disasters or exclusion from health care.
For volunteering through this way you have to have medical education of course. By checking their website you can see what’s needed the most and how you can apply.
The costs of traveling, visa, accommodation and food have to be supported by you.
- Unicef works for a world in which every child has a fair chance in life.
In order to find out how and where you can help through Unicef, you have to firstly find the national branch of your country and speak to them.
Personally I don’t know all their programs but I am sure that once you’ll contact them you will get all the information you’ll need.
Due to the fact that I have no knowledge about their programs, I can only assume that you will have to cover your expenses.
- help2kids is young and dynamic Swiss-based non-profit organization operating in Africa. They support children in need, and strive to enable them to pursue a sustainable future. They believe that small actions have big effects.
Their objective is to give some of the most vulnerable children in Tanzania and Malawi access to the basic necessities that all children deserve: education, food, health care, shelter, and a loving family environment so that they can break out of the cycle of poverty and live happy, productive lives. They believe in the power of education and the potential of all children.
On their website you can find all the details about their volunteering programs and how long it will last, what you’ll do, etc.
The costs start from 175$ per week, if you’ll stay 30 or more days in Tanzania, and 140$ per week if you’ll stay 30 or more days in Malawi. If you wnat to stay less, the costs are a bit higher.
The cost includes accommodation in one of their dormitories (4-6 people), most meals, room cleaning, in-country support, administration and security.
The other costs for visa and traveling are not included.
So these are just a few of the ways of traveling in an alternative way, without using so much money and still in a very organized and structured way.
When i say „traveling” i don’t mean „getting wasted on beaches and partying all night”. For me traveling means experiences, knowing a different culture by immersing myself in it and discoverying new people, places, foods and smells.
Some of the methods suggested here require some investment and lots of work, but that’s still more interesting and cheaper than a similar vacation in the same place and for the same ammount of time.
I hope you found this article useful.
If you used any of the methods mentioned in the article let us know how it was. Or if you have any suggestions put them in the comments below!