Why Should You Book A Spot For Volunteering Abroad In Advance?
Ever wondered why there is a system for booking things in advance? That’s because everyone looks to get hold of the best that is at offer; volunteering abroad is one such activity.
Over the years, the trend has shown that a maximum number of people take up volunteering abroad during their gap year or summer vacations. Today, even the backpackers and those looking for budget traveling, also opt for volunteer trips abroad.
Volunteering Solutions, which has placed more than 12000 volunteers in last 10 years of their international operations, has always advised its volunteers to apply for their choice of program as soon as possible, as the benefits of advance booking a volunteer program are plenty.
Below are few of the benefits that a volunteer can enjoy after booking a spot in advance:
Volunteer travel is the kind of expedition where one needs to be mentally as well as physically fit and flexible. Booking a volunteer program in advance gives you the time to prepare yourself physically for the hard work that will be required out of you at the project site, and mentally to handle the pressure.
2. Draw the perfect itinerary
It is a definite fact that you would not want to be one of the lost ones when at the program destination. It is always good to know about the places to explore, things to do and what to eat while in a particular country. Booking your spot in advance means you have finalized your destination and, you can now plan out a perfect itinerary and places to visit once you reach your destination. It’ll save a lot of time and effort (mentally)!
3. Get all the necessary documents ready
For a few volunteering destinations, like Nepal, Tanzania, Thailand, etc., one does not need to apply for a Visa in advance and can avail the same on arriving at the destination. However, for most of the other destinations, it is required by a volunteer to get a valid visa before arriving. Similarly, there are a lot of other necessary documents a volunteer needs to prepare before he/she travels.
VolSol, too, asks for few necessary documents, which are mandatory for a volunteer before getting registered for a program. For example, volunteers opting for Medical and Healthcare Programs need to provide proof of their educational background, and those getting into any program that involves children will have to provide certification for a clear criminal background.
4. Ensure a slot at your desired destination
In a report published by Forrester Research in 2007 entitled “Go Away and Do Good: Voluntourism the Noble Niche”, Henry Harteveldt (Travel Analyst) found that approximately 3.5 million Americans participated in Voluntourism. As per the NBCNews.com, this number seems to have tripled in 2014. A clear inference can be drawn from this data:
- Voluntourism is on the rise
- A lot of people are combining their travel experience with meaningful social contribution
Thus, booking in advance for a volunteer program will ensure that you get to visit the destination of your choice and not to settle for your second or third preferred location.
5. Get the necessary vaccinations done
A lot of countries have made it mandatory for volunteer travelers (or any other tourist for that matter) to get some specific vaccinations before entering into their borders. African countries, for example, require all inbound travelers to take vaccinations for yellow fever mandatorily. Volunteering Solutions guides all its volunteers about what kinds of vaccinations are required for a specific destination.
6. Go easy on your pocket; save money
This is one of the most common and known benefits of booking in advance. Once you have decided on your destination of interest and got yourself registered for a particular program, you know the dates of your travel. Accordingly, you can book your flight tickets for the round trip, which will cost you way less than what it might have cost you, had you booked it at the very last moment!
7. Get in touch with your fellow volunteers
Many volunteer travelers like to travel alone. Getting in touch with any of the fellow volunteer travelers, who have registered for the same program at the same destination that you have applied for, gives you the opportunity to find a companion and make plans together in advance. May be this is why they say, “Friends made during a travel expedition are friends forever”.
Connect with other volunteers on our Facebook Group.
8. Get in touch with alumni
Getting in touch with the volunteers from the previous batches, who worked on the same project at the same destination you are about to go to, is always a good practice. You can always get some great advice about what to do, where to eat, how to handle situations and various other useful tips.