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Volunteering vs. Touristing - What do you think?

Travel Forums General Talk Volunteering vs. Touristing - What do you think?

1. Posted by megtravels (Budding Member 23 posts) 3y

I was just curious as to how many people volunteer while they travel and/or get into how the culture works instead of just being a tourist and seeing the sights. Do you want to get to know the people that live in the countries that you visit, or just see the sights, take some pictures, and then leave? If you get to know the culture and people, how do you personally do this? What are the pros and cons of volunteering vs. touristing? I know what my views on all this are, but was just wondering what other people thought.
All the best, Meg

2. Posted by Tracy2011 (Budding Member 71 posts) 3y

I like doing a bit of both. I spent a few weeks travelling around Costa Rica this summer and a couple of weeks volunteering there on a house building project. Staying in a homestay with a local family (who spoke barely any English!) was a really great experience culturally and was a really interesting contrast to staying in hostels/backpacking. So glad I did both, if i'd spent the whole time volunteering I would have seen only a small part of the country and not had some of the great experiences I had during the rest of the trip!

Next year i'm planning to teach in Laos before travelling around Oz :)

3. Posted by Marta_Marq (Budding Member 29 posts) 3y

I think I agree with Tracy. It is perfect if you can mix a bit of both, then you will enjoy your time travelling by yourself but you will also have the chance to contact with other cultures in a deeper way.

Btw Tracy...How can someone apply to teach in Laos? I'd love to do that! The programs I found were only for american citizens.

4. Posted by rachard15 (Inactive 5 posts) 3y

If the "holidays" usually lasted several months, in particular place or country, then it right. However, I am usually go on holiday to get away from it all and relax and do as little as possible. This is why lazing on a sunny beach is so popular.

[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]

5. Posted by Tracy2011 (Budding Member 71 posts) 3y

Quoting Marta_Marq

I think I agree with Tracy. It is perfect if you can mix a bit of both, then you will enjoy your time travelling by yourself but you will also have the chance to contact with other cultures in a deeper way.

Btw Tracy...How can someone apply to teach in Laos? I'd love to do that! The programs I found were only for american citizens.

I'm volunteering with a company called GVI, teaching English to young buddhist monks in Luang Prabang. Never done any teaching before but I can't wait! Check it out!

6. Posted by lusoterra (Budding Member 4 posts) 3y

I enjoying contributing to the place I visit not only as a tourist but also, somehow leave my footprint! by contributing to society in a meaningful way such as by dedicating my time to a local cause that will add value to humanity... call me an eternal optimistic.

7. Posted by Whitakerjo (First Time Poster 1 posts) 3y

Volunteering may help you to get a better feel for what it is actually like to live in the area.

(and the pride of helping someone out isn't too bad either...)

8. Posted by joffre (Respected Member 157 posts) 3y

I'm totally cynical about volunteering these days. You only need to look at the brochures for the programs on offer, they are now glossier than those for regular travel. You may sign up with the best of intention in helping people overseas through these programs, but I suspect that the people you are really helping aren't those you set out to help in the first place...