The Sunday New York Times Travel section had a good article on volunteer vacations, which is when you put in time for a good cause while on vacation. A major upside is reduced cost. Here’s my take on the story, with specific cheap volunteer vacations listed below.
Cost reduced by as much as 50%!
Unusual activities and trips built into your vacation.
Burn extra calories on the trip, making up for indulgent eating and drinking.
You can feel good about visiting third world countries, or wherever your trip takes you.
Some of the trips require 6 hours of work a day.
Not all the work is light labor. You’re going to break a sweat!
Specific trips (prices do not include airfare)
Appalachian Mountain Club
Help clean up trails from New Hampshire to St. John for about $220 a week
. The price includes meals and lodging, but don’t expect luxury. You’ll be sleeping in tents or cabins. The workload is 4-6 hours daily. You’ll be ready for an afternoon mai tai.
A one-week trip to Brazil, Costa Rica, or Ghana will run you about $1,990 through the Insight Abroad program. Work includes painting, planting gardens, and working at day care centers. Major bonus is 100% of the cost is tax deductible! Accommodations are “modest” and you only have “some afternoons, most evenings, and every weekend free.”
Marco Island Marriot Resort, Golf Club & Spa
In exchangeg for helping out at the local YMCA in this South Florida town, you’ll get 15% off room rates through Sept. 30. The article was unclear if you have to help out two hours per day or per trip. This trip sounded the most luxurious of all five mentioned in the article, but the discount was also one of the smallest.
Trips range from $325 to $1,975 for a week or longer, though 70% of Sierra Club trips cost $700 or less. By working to restore/maintain state and federal land, you’ll get access to areas of parks that are not usually open to the public. Expect cabin or tent lodging (i.e. rustic).
Vail Resorts Give and Getaway
Get 20% off 13 different resorts from Aspen, CO. to St. Lucia in the Caribbean when you help local farmers, plant trees, and clear trails.
Would you consider going on a volunteer vacation?