A New Type of Trip: Service Travel

Have you been itching to get out and experience something new on your travels? One of the most fulfilling ways to explore the world is to give back to the communities you travel to! It may seem daunting to put together a plan for service travel when there are so many different things to consider so we’ve put together some helpful information to get you started.

Why Service Travel?

For both the young and young at heart, service travel and volunteerism provide an amazing opportunity for seeing the world with new eyes. Many individuals over 50 sometimes feel that volunteer agencies are only searching for younger people to join on their volunteer missions. Nothing could be further from the truth! You’ll find that most organizations thrive off of the expertise older adults can provide. This, combined with the opportunity to fully immerse yourself into a new culture through giving back, makes service travel a rewarding experience in this next chapter of your life.

What Should I Consider Before My Trip?
Beyond the obvious considerations of where you’d like to travel and for how long, keep in mind that a volunteer trip is not like an ordinary vacation. Instead of resting and relaxing, you’ll be giving back to the world. Be very thoughtful about any physical limitations that you may have that could impact your travel. You will also want to be sure you have all proper immunizations, acquire travel insurance, pay any necessary registration fees, and, in some instances, pass a criminal background check.

What Type of Trip is Right for Me?
Think about your strengths to help guide your decisions! There are plenty of opportunities that don’t require much physical activity. Not all service trips revolve around building community structures or creating advanced water delivery systems. Consider instead a service mission focused on teaching English in Africa or providing childcare in South America. In most occasions, volunteers wear many hats on their “volunTOURs” so you will likely still have a chance to explore new and unique things.

Begin with GivingWay
If you are excited by the prospect of volunteering but you aren’t sure where to begin, an excellent resource to start with is GivingWay. GivingWay works to connect service travel seekers with local nonprofits to provide the largest impact in their communities. On their site, you can easily sort by the type of service you are looking to take part in as well as by country you would like to travel to. If you’re looking to begin volunteering but aren’t sure where you want to travel yet, they also provide online volunteering opportunities to get you started on your path to doing good.

Have you taken a service trip? If so, we’d love to hear all about it.

More Stories