If you are thinking of doing something different on your next holiday and you fancy getting stuck into helping others by doing a bit of conservation work with elephants in Sri Lanka, helping out at a school in Belize or at an orphanage in India, then give yourself a pat on the back for the good initiative. However, finding volunteering jobs may not seem as straightforward as it should be. As you start searching for volunteer placements you must be very careful with volunteering organisations and charities, which charge volunteers ourageous amounts.
Most will entice you with their pretty pictures of past volunteers having the time of their lives in all sorts of fun and exotic places, and although these types of organisations tend to be very professional, the privilege for having them take care of the trip comes at a cost with several zeros on the end. Some organisations ask for anything around £3000. An enormous and unnecessary amount to spend on a holiday or sabbatical/gap year.
Unless you feel that you really need the local support once at your chosen destination, you can pretty much pack your bags, head off and - well just turn up and ask if any help is needed in exchange of a bed and food. Schools, orphanages, residential homes and animal sanctuaries are always in need of an extra pair of hands. If you are more of the type of person to plan everything but you want to venture out of your comfort zone, then pre-arrange the trip via telephone or email - just find the websites of a few places you would be interested in working with and contact them.
Although just turning up somewhere and offering your help is the most adventurous option, the downside is that it might not be the best in terms of facilities available for families with young children and there is no back-up when it comes to safety.Rainbow meetings Join a cult