Voluntourism is a recent phenomenon in the tourism industry that entails a person volunteering their services to a tour company for a chance to accompany the tourists to their destinations. It is most commonly practiced by the cruising companies which benefit from cheap labor, and in return, allows the volunteers to visit all the destinations that the cruise ship will dock.
Among the most famous voluntourism gigs include; tour guide, translators, aid workers, chauffer, life guard, chef, porter and many more. The people who volunteer their services would otherwise not affordable the destinations that the tour companies take their clients. Below are the top 5 great voluntourism destinations.
1. Antarctica and Arctic Cruises
How many people do you know that can afford to travel to these far off lands on a fully fitted cruise ship? None? A few retirees maybe? Well, this is exactly the reason why younger, adventure hungry people love volunteering their services for a chance to visit these destinations.
2. Virgin Islands
When most of the US is under snow, the Virgin Islands will be warm. What wouldn't you give to have a chance to surf in the warm Caribbean waters while your friends back home are wearing 3 woolen jackets?
Most people volunteer to visit Africa to enjoy the tropical weather and jungle safaris that are offered by their respective agencies, but also to go and help make the continent a better place to live. Medical practitioners, aid workers, activists and engineers will volunteer their services to agencies such as UNCHR, FAO, San Frontier Medicines etc. For the chance to travel in Africa, they will put in the hours and help out wherever necessary.
India is home to a large number of Street Kids & Tribal Communities. They live in less than humane conditions and thus it is a popular voluntourism destination among the aid workers.
For a chance to become an Elephant Whisperer, I would also volunteer my services to a UN agency or a travel company. Voluntourism is a cost effective way to travel the world, see what there is to see and make new friends. Thailand is one of the most tourist friendly countries in Asia. It is therefore a very popular destination.
Whether you are volunteering your services for fun or for a cause, voluntourism is a great way to travel in both the beaten and unbeaten path around the world.