Your questions

Question

I'm interested in doing volunteer work overseas. I've been researching and found "I-to-I travel" and "intrepid travel volunteer" trips. Both of these seem expensive, especially for trips in countries like Thailand or India, where the living costs are quite low. Are there other companies or organisations that offer cheaper, short-term volunteering placements?

- S. Chapman, Melbourne

Answer

I agree these trips can seem expensive, especially in countries with a low cost of living. The reason for this is that while they are volunteer-oriented trips, they are still guided tours and you're paying for someone else to do all the planning on your behalf.

Many of these "voluntourism" trips include a fair amount of guided travel in addition to the time spent volunteering. And many companies do operate their volunteer trips at cost.

I have checked the prices of several volunteer travel companies and they vary little you're typically looking at $2000-plus for a four-week trip (not including flights).

An alternative is thinking about what you really want to do and trying to line up some volunteer work yourself.

Many overseas projects have a website with an email address, so you can contact them and offer your time.

Another option would be to take up a charity challenge (see inspiredadventures.com.au or rawchallenges.com), where you fundraise the cost of your trip along with a contribution to a charity.

- Jane E. Fraser

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