Getting an immersive international experience has never been easier, or as economical.
While the debate about “voluntourism” continues, we find that if you donate your professional skills to organizations in need, you can help solve major problems, and learn a lot in the process. So if you are considering traveling and volunteering your skills but are worried about costs, then these 4 resources can help you fund the experience of a lifetime.
1. Get a Grant
Yes, there really are grants that will help you travel the world. The InterExchange Foundation, and its Christianson Grant, is a great example. This grant provides $2,500 – $10,000 to help people fund their independently organized international volunteer experiences. People who use MovingWorlds to find Experteering opportunities can qualify for this grant if they also meet the grant’s requirements. Watch this video from InterExchange to learn more.
UNESCO also has a grant for travel, and this listing site highlights many other travel grant opportunities.
2. Have Your Employer Pay For It
Some companies pay their employees to travel and volunteer, and for good reason. This previous blog post outlines reasons why your boss should give you time off to travel, and pay for it. This article highlights why Corporations are embracing International Skills-Based Volunteering.
In addition to formal volunteering programs, some companies offer sabbaticals. This article rom Meet Plan Go helps explain how you can arrange a sabbatical for yourself.
3. Crowdfund Your Travel
While not very popular, there are some interesting people managing inspiring crowdfunding campaigns. Trevolta is the leading site to crowdfund travels, but FunderHut has many campaigns and a good article about how to Travel the World with Crowdfunding. That said, there are some ethical considerations when asking money for your own travels, which this BBC article does a nice job of outlining.
4. Find a Hosting Organization That Will Cover Your Expenses
At MovingWorlds.org, we source opportunities that provide volunteering professionals a free place to live, and sometimes small stipends. Indeed, there is an important place for skilled volunteers in global development and organizations are willing to help mitigate costs if you bring the right skills to the table at the right time.
So if you are considering traveling an volunteering, don’t be discouraged by the short-term costs. The value of an international experience is immeasurable, and with the resources above, it can be very economical. If you have other tips to fund your international travel, let me know in the comments below, or schedule time with me and let’s talk about it.