A holiday with the purpose of working, or making a difference to the lives of those who are less fortunate can be a worthwhile and altruistic project to under-take. The practise doesn’t need to just be restricted to human causes. It can also relate to wildlife or the environment. These types of breaks are perfect cross-generational holidays, ideal for anyone, whether traveling alone, as a couple or family.
There are many different options for anyone wanting to work abroad as part of a holiday, and there are also a great deal of varied and interesting destinations you can travel to.
In recent years, the top 3 places to take such a holiday were India and The Philippines, with Thailand in third place. India is third among the world's countries in terms of the highest number of endangered mammal species and top 10 in terms of the highest number of endangered plant species, making it a popular destination for conservation volunteering, which is one of the most popular types of volunteering programs abroad. Thailand is also noted for its strong opportunities in terms of conservation Volunteer holidays. As a whole, the country also ranks amongst the top 10 in the world in terms of having the highest number of mammal species which are endangered. The country also has a rich history of biodiversity, for which assistance to preserve is always needed.
5 variations of a holiday with a difference include
Wildlife Research Expedition Cruises
Expedition experts Hurtigruten offer a unique and thrilling opportunity to experience expedition cruises to Antarctica. Launching another ship into Antarctic waters, with science labs on board and their very own team of in-house scientists, making it a perfect voyage for anyone who wants to learn and participate as they holiday. They will offer practice field experiments and lectures and the chance for everyone on board to follow in the footsteps of other explorers, making it a research holiday you can truly learn from.
The Galapagos Islands are truly an area of outstanding beauty, and offer unique experiences in terms of not only the wildlife you will see, but the landscape too. Charles Darwin found the inspiration for his ground breaking book “The Origin of Species” here and scientists still consider the area to be a truly living laboratory. A wildlife cruise such as this would offer the opportunity to undertake dives with fully qualified guides, as well as exploring the more Western side of the islands, known to be of interest because of their volcanic activity. There is also plenty of scope for research based opportunities here, through places like the Charles Darwin Research Station.
Becoming a sports coach at a local school, teaching children in the inner cities to play football, cricket or tennis is a volunteer break which offers the opportunity to teach groups of between ten and thirty children. This type of break would involve teaching pupils sports skills for around three to five hours every day. Cricket and football are the most popular and in demand sports, children and adults alike will practise these games on any available space they can. Anyone embarking on this type of project would have the support and back up of the local teachers from the schools themselves.
Visiting the Philippines offers the chance to work for a few days as a volunteer farm hand, a break which would enable the holidaymaker to give something back to the local populace, which, for the most part, relies on tourism to thrive. Helping to build walls, to reconstruct buildings, general maintenance and upkeep of farmland and helping with the care of agricultural animals are just some of the tasks that could be undertaken. A portion of your trip money, usually in the region of £50 to £100 will go directly to local communities as a direct donation. In some cases, there may be an expectation that participants will engage in fundraising in their home countries after their holiday is over via online campaigning, though this is not compulsory.
Marine Conservation Projects
Traveling out to Thailand offers the option to work on marine conservation projects. Here, the main opportunity would be to work with helping to preserve the reefs and the waterways. Work can vary and depending on the holidaymaker and their level of expertise exercises could undertake research dives, beach clean ups and also overseeing the care and release of sea mammals that have been looked after and are now ready to be released again.
Social Impact Cruising
Carnival Cruises last year announced the launch of their new brand Fathom – a cruise line which provides “social impact cruises” allowing holidaymakers to take part in a few days of in-country volunteering , forming the largest part of their week long break. At the time of launch, Fathom were predicting that as many as 40% of people embarking on this type of holiday with them would be first time cruisers. The maiden voyage to be made by fathom will be to the Dominican Republic, with future itineraries including Cuba and it is hoped that there will be expansion and more diversity in the regions these cruises will visit. The aim is to make these cruise breaks a perfect solution for people who want to make a difference; and those embarking on them will be afforded the opportunity to work with local foodbanks, animal or wildlife projects and also with other non-profit agencies.
There are many benefits to taking a holiday like this. For the price of a regular holiday there is the opportunity to have the best of both worlds – a holiday and a chance to get away from it all, combined with the chance to meet and work with likeminded people, as well as the local populace. Making a genuine difference to the lives of local communities, or to help preserve the ecology and wildlife of an area can mean that it remains safe for generations to come.
Often after returning home there will be the opportunity to keep in touch and communicate with others who have volunteered, seeing how the hard work put in evolves over time, particularly with ecologically based projects that can be immensely rewarding.
In terms of a break away from every day routine as part of a life changing experience, or for a family who would like to become more involved with helping to conserve the natural world for generations to come, Volunteer holidays are the way forward – holidaying with a conscience.