Top Volunteer Programs For Solo Travelers
A volunteer vacation is the perfect way to see the world if you are traveling alone. As a solo volunteer traveler you’ll get out of your comfort zone, grow as a person, join a group of international volunteers, help a community in-need and spend your free time exploring.
And trust us, while you might set off on your journey alone, you won’t be flying solo for long. You’ll be immersed in a community and join a team of volunteers - keep in mind most of these individual travelers also start their volunteer adventure alone.
We know that setting off alone can be daunting at first but if you play to your own strengths it will be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make, and we’re here to support you every step of the way. So choose a volunteer vacation where you’ll have wrap-around suppport, be part of a vibrant community abroad and work with other like-minded volunteers. As the world’s safest volunteer abroad organization, we’ve made it as easy as possible for you by outlining some of the best volunteer abroad programs and why they’re perfect for solo travelers…
Volunteer Vacations For Singles:
- Volunteer with sea turtles in Bali
- Support NGOs working with refugees in Italy
- Take part in eco volunteering in New Zealand
- Experience cultural immersion in Peru
- Volunteer to protect wild animals in Victoria Falls
- Work as a Special Needs/Childcare volunteer in Vietnam
- Teach English in Cambodia
The Best Solo Vacations In Bali
If you’re in need of a personal journey, with a side of yoga, dreamy landscapes and a health kick then no doubt Bali will be high up on your list. Actually, it’s your Mecca! As an IVHQ volunteer, you can volunteer in Ubud, the cultural and spiritual centre of the island. That is unless you choose to support the sea turtle Conservation project, in which case you’ll have the beach as your backyard and be based on the nearby island of Nusa Penida. If you want to experience an authentic take on Balinese life then you can choose to volunteer in Lovina, a laid-back coastal town in the North of Bali. Regardless of which location you choose, the Bali program is one of IVHQ’s most popular and consistently gets top-notch feedback from volunteers, so you can set off knowing you’ve chosen a proven winner. The unique five day orientation gives you the chance to meet volunteers staying in different accommodation and swap contact details for those soon to be real weekend trips and outings. You’ll also experience Indonesian cooking classes, visit temples, and take a walking tour.
- Accommodation: You’ll stay in a volunteer house with other volunteer travelers. This is great for two reasons. Firstly, you will be able to experience quintessential Balinese village life! Secondly, being accommodated with other volunteers means you’ll be sharing your experience with other kindred spirits from the very start! This makes arranging weekends away easy!
- Travel: With an array of white sand beaches and weekend activities, such as a sunrise climb of Mount Batur or island hopping to Lombok, Bali will keep you busy. You will never be bored… or alone! With 40+ volunteers on the IVHQ Bali Program each month you’ll never be short of friends or epic adventures.
- Bonus: If you are looking for a volunteer vacation outside of Bali, explore our conservation focused volunteer program based out of a eco-minded surf resort on Simeulue Island, a beautiful tropical paradise off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. It’s like something out of a dream - with meaningful eco volunteer work, a focus on sea turtle and marine conservation, free yoga in the evenings, locally sourced produce and world class surf right at your door step.
Best Solo Vacations: Italy
Want to volunteer but also visit Europe? It doesn’t have to be one or the other! The IVHQ Italy program allows volunteers to experience the home of culture, art and divine cuisine, all while being placed on a meaningful project in Naples. For first time travelers and those flying solo it’s a great option as you will find that just like Italian food the people and culture are phenomenal. Also, depending on where you hail from, you’ll find the experience is just a gentle nudge out of your comfort zone, nothing you can’t handle with your friends pizza and gelato by your side! If you are wondering what to do after college, this is the perfect option!
- Accommodation: Volunteers are accommodated in a dormitory style, volunteer apartment in central Naples. This means straight off the bat it’s easy to meet like minded people, so while you may arrive solo you’ll be leaving with envy-worth memories and life-long friends.
- Travel: Traveling around Italy is a breeze! So while you are cementing your friendships you can enjoy weekend escapes to lush destinations like the Almalfi Coast! Dream result.
- Bonus: The office of the local team is also located within the same building as the volunteer accommodation so someone is always close by to offer guidance and support should you need it.
Service Vacations For Adults In New Zealand
Do you speak English? Are you passionate about the environment? Do you love city life? Then choosing New Zealand is a no brainer! It’s super laid-back and the people are friendly (because IVHQ is based in NZ we may be slightly biased, sorry not sorry). IVHQ’s volunteer program in New Zealand is perfect for travelers who want to throw themselves into an adventure and brave the unknown, all while being in an incredibly safe and welcoming country. Volunteers can choose from two meaningful projects - NGO Support and Coast and Waterway Conservation.
- Travel: You will be based in Auckland so there are lots of nearby travel options! You can head North and go diving at the Poor Knights Marine Reserve, or turn the car South and lace up your hiking boots to tackle the Tongariro Crossing. With stunning natural landscapes (have you seen Lord of the Rings), epic beaches and a captivating culture there is always going to be something for you to see and do.
- Accommodation: Volunteers are accommodated in a dormitory style hostel in Britomart, a trendy, centrally-located area of Auckland. The offices of the local team are a 20 minute walk or 10 minute bus ride from the hostel.
- Bonus: Being based in NZ we are a treasure trove for insider information and epic places to visit on your volunteer weekends. So come on, what are you waiting for?
Solo Travel in Peru
Whether you’re drawn to the capital, Lima, or the historic city of Cusco, volunteering with IVHQ in Peru is the perfect option for solo travelers. The Cusco volunteer program is a happening place! There are always people coming and going, which means it’s great for social butterflies. Through the local team there are lots of opportunities to travel and see the sights! If you are looking for unique volunteer opportunities then this is the program for you - explore the Amazonian jungle as a conservation volunteer or gain an authentic insight into traditional village life in the Andes Mountains on the Andean Immersion project. While our volunteer program in Lima is one of IVHQ’s longest-standing programs and offers volunteers our cheapest program fees and the chance to engage in community-driven projects, including Teaching English, Special Needs Care and Healthcare. So have a peruse of the Peru pages…
- Travel: If you’re wanting to tick Machu Picchu off the Bucket List, both destinations offer easy access to this must-do!
- Bonus: We all know that traveling is the greatest educator but you can also make it count on paper! For those seeking Course Credit, the Spanish Service Learning Course is available to Cusco based volunteers!
Volunteer Opportunities For Singles - Victoria Falls
Solo travel doesn’t mean you have to do away with your passions! IVHQ’s Victoria Falls program is must for the animal lovers out there - the focus is conservation! All the conservation volunteer work is based on a private game reserve in the popular tourist area of Victoria Falls - think Big 5’ animals: lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo. You’ll be working in tandem with members of the game reserve team and anti-poaching unit, completing tasks such as alien vegetation removal, fence patrols, general cleanups, animal tracking and more. Volunteers also supplement their time by working on development projects in the local community that are focused around education, fundraising, nutrition and small-scale vegetable gardening. You’ll have to roll up your sleeves and muck-in but the meaningful outdoor work and tight-knit team of passionate volunteers around you will mean the hours will be some of your best! Feedback shows that 94 per cent of people would recommend the program. We’d say that’s a statistic to travel for!
- Travel: You’ll be able to visit Victoria Falls, go zip lining, bungy jumping, gorge swinging, canoeing - the list goes on. You’re weekends are guaranteed to always be full, with activities galore and plenty of volunteers to enjoy it with.
- Accommodation: Come night time you’ll rest your head in clean and comfortable dormitory-style accommodation! Oh and there will be the opportunity to camp out under the stars in a once in a lifetime experience!
- Bonus: You get to experience a volunteer project set on a private game reserve, so remember to pack binoculars, as the wildlife and scenery is breathtaking!
Explore Vietnam As A Solo Traveler
Ho Chi Minh is always a star performer for feedback from our volunteers in Asia! Vietnam has it all for those who want to travel and make a difference - breathtaking sights, a deep history and purposeful projects. From the moment you set foot in Vietnam’s largest city you will be enthralled. With its ancient pagodas and towering skyscrapers, ramshackle markets and urban malls - Ho Chi Minh is a captivating city of contrasts. This is the ideal destination for solo volunteers looking to join a program with a good mix of work and adventure. You can choose to take part on on a wide range of volunteer abroad projects, including Teaching English, Special Needs/Childcare, Medical and Food Outreach.
- Travel: With Vietnam being a popular travel destination on the Asia backpack route there is a plethora of information to make hitting the road that much easier. Want to know which night train to catch, or the best beach to park up on for the weekend? You will have no problems traveling around Vietnam, and even better yet, you will have even less problem finding someone to join you! From a Mekong Delta boat ride to a weekend at the world renowned beaches of Phu Quoc Island, it’s a country that has a lot to offer volunteers wanting to explore in their free time!
- Accommodation: You’ll be accommodated in a dormitory with fellow volunteers so there are plenty of opportunities to make lasting friendships and find travel buddies.
- Bonus: Your volunteering experience will kick off with a five day orientation. This will equip you with all the basics (customs, rules, safety and expectations) and some fun activities (Vietnamese cooking class, a visit to the War Remnants Museum, Reunification Palace and the famed Cu Chi tunnels).
Volunteer Solo in Cambodia
Cambodia is a perfect option for solo travelers thanks to a combination of reasons. Khmer people are some of the most humble, friendly and sincere the world over. Then there’s the lush rice paddies, kaleidoscope sunsets and authentic experiences. Plus, there’s your awesome fellow volunteers that are there to support one of the five meaningful projects. As an IVHQer in Cambodia, you’ll be working with incredibly friendly locals on projects that are driven by the community, cementing those friendships. So not only will Cambodia become your home-away-from-home, but your fellow volunteers and host-family will quickly become your second family!
- Travel: Cambodia has traveling sorted. There is a never ending list of destinations to be carried off to and it’s easy to make your way around. Plus, once you are in Cambodia you can live on the cheap, meaning you can make your hard earned dollars go further! Your weekends will never be dull, explore the markets, make your way to the beach, or float down the delta.
- Bonus: You’ll be left in awe when you stand in front of Angkor Wat! It’s one of the most important archaeological sites in South-East Asia. For several centuries Angkor Wat was the center of the Khmer kingdom, now it’s on the top of every traveler’s must-see list when they venture to this breathtaking country.
Choosing from IVHQ’s Volunteer vacations for singles also means you won’t find yourself having to pay a single supplement fee, making your travel experience more affordable. If you’re still not sure where to take your solo adventure, take this quiz to be matched with a solo volunteer vacation recommendation. Or read our Solo Traveler’s Guide to Volunteering Abroad for more information.