Weird and Wonderful ways to volunteer abroad: Making your trip positive

Volunteering is increasing in popularity amongst travellers, looking to avoid aimless trips and involve themselves in more engaging holiday options. Rather than just laying on a beach, they want to become part of a community and help others.

Volunteering abroad isn’t limited to just teaching English and building schools in Africa, here are some weird and wonderful alternative ways to volunteer abroad:

Archaeology at Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is the most visited tourist attraction in Peru, it comes as no surprise this wonder of the world suffers from tourist damage. Rather than joining the millions of visitors each year trekking, why not help preserve the ancient trails instead? Without any experience volunteers are invited to help repair the Incan trails and ruins.

The Conservation Volunteers International Programme allows volunteers to work within the Sacred City. Jobs vary depending on the current needs of the site. Volunteers help in many different ways, planting native trees in areas prone to slides, collecting seeds for replantation and repairing the trails. Tours begin at £2,379 for 10 days, accommodation and food included.

Mix with Celebrities at Cannes Film Festival

Cannes is famous for hosting one of the most prestigious and elegant film festivals in the world. Over 200,000 fans, famous actors, directors and producers from all over meet to celebrate the art of film at this glamourous 12-day long festival.

A selected number of volunteering spaces are available, applications are made in November and successful volunteers are contacted from December. Both long stay (between February and May) and short stay options are available. All volunteers are expected to source their own accommodation independently.

Reading Shakespeare to Horses

Volunteers helping with horses can often expect to ride and tame them along with work in the stables. They don’t often expect to be reading to them. Many wild animals are not used to human voices, it is an alien sound and can be very scary. Getting spooked by humans can be fatal to wild animals, it makes veterinary visits challenging and treatment impossible. Volunteers can help horses get used to the human voice, by sitting at the side of enclosures and reading out loud to them.

The organisation Original Volunteers recruits helping hands for a horse sanctuary in Florida. where wild mustangs are homed and given space to run free. They hope to raise funds to purchase enough land for the horses to live wildly without the need of human contact. Typical length stays of 2-4 weeks at £465 per week. Project fees include accommodation, all meals, support and airport pick up from Orlando airport.

Volunteering in Countries Which Don’t Exist

Volunteering can be arranged practically anywhere globally. It is slightly more difficult to arrange volunteering in countries which don’t exist. Not places like Narnia or Oz with magical wizards, but countries which are not universally recognised due to conflict, natural disaster or political differences.

Young Pioneer Tours offer trips to unrecognised countries across Europe and Africa. Their experienced guides help travellers gain access to countries without infrastructure for tourists, to lend a helping hand. Tours begin at £595 excluding flights.

Harvest Honey in Hawaii

Honey bees are unfortunately becoming more and more endangered. Sanctuaries have been set up to educate the public whilst protecting and helping repopulate the beehive. Volunteers are welcome to help harvest honey and selling it in gift shops on site along with caring for the honeybees.

Maui Honey Bee Sanctuary accepts volunteers to come and help save this endangered species for a very rustic style of volunteering. Tents are provided, bring a sleeping matt, sleeping bag and pillow. Enjoy life on the farm cooking in the outdoor kitchen and getting back to basics. Minimum stay is 3 weeks. Basic staple foods are provided, such as oats, rice and pasta, but volunteers are expected to provide and prepare most food for themselves.

Have you volunteered abroad? What are your best tips or stories?

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Written in partnership with Original Volunteers

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