Traveling abroad isn’t cheap, right? It could be cheaper than you think. With the right know-how, you can easily travel and volunteer abroad on the cheap, while also doing something meaningful. As the world’s most trusted and affordable volunteer travel organization, International Volunteer HQ offers cheap volunteer abroad programs to allow you to experience just that. These programs are not just easy on your wallet, they’re value for money. They’re as rewarding, meaningful and fun as any other IVHQ program. Affordable program fees cover your accommodation, some (if not all) meals, airport pick-up on arrival, program orientation and 24/7 on-demand support while you’re away.
A registration fee of $299 applies to each program and covers all aspects of your pre-departure support. This support is comprehensive and fully prepares you for your upcoming volunteer adventure. Not only do we connect you with meaningful, community-run volunteer projects, but provide you with a step-by-step checklist to help you get everything in order in a timely fashion before you go. You can also choose to upgrade your registration for additional flexibility - this is helpful if you think you may need to make changes to your program or travel dates in the future.
IVHQ has eight volunteer programs that cost less than USD$250 for one week. Note these are just the fees for one week, and volunteers wanting to do longer will find costs increase differently - the cheapest one week program may not be the cheapest four week program, and so on.
These programs are all over the world and include a range of volunteer projects such as Teaching, Childcare, Medical, Sports Education, Animal Care, Construction and much, much more! Keep reading to find out more about them and how to keep costs down while you’re there.
$250 for one week
Like many IVHQ program destinations in Africa, South Africa is a fairly affordable place for travelers to explore. IVHQ’s South Africa program is based in Muizenberg, around 30-40 minutes from central Cape Town on South Africa’s west coast. Cape Town is well known for the iconic Table Mountain, which offers stunning views across the city and ocean. It’s also free to climb and makes for a fun day trip.
Like any coastal location, the beach is an easy option for those wanting to spend time relaxing, swimming or surfing. The city also offers plenty to do and a safari is always a popular outing. Volunteers generally budget around $50 a week spending money in South Africa.
IVHQ’s South Africa program has five meaningful projects in Childcare, Teaching, Computer Training, Sport Development and Surf Outreach.
For all future volunteers, I want you to know how incredible this experience is. You will walk into this adventure with many expectations and feelings. You will leave having exceeded those expectations and feelings in ways you can not even imagine. Enjoy every single minute of every single day you get to explore and experience a new place and the people you will meet. You will have the time of your life. Katelyn McLaughlin, IVHQ volunteer in South Africa
$250 for one week
For money-conscious travelers, India can be an incredibly cheap country to explore. Food is available at dirt cheap prices, and it doesn’t skimp on flavor either. India will put you out of your comfort zone, but it’s also a destination where you can have a great time just wandering the streets and checking out the markets without spending a lot of money. Further afield there are cheap tours and mountain treks on offer, and the Taj Mahal is a must-see for all visitors to India.
For those wanting a complete experience of everything that India has to offer, consider a one week program orientation, which is a comprehensive introduction to local culture and cuisine, and includes visits to the Taj Mahal, a Bollywood film and extra sightseeing. Volunteers generally budget around $30 a week spending money in India.
IVHQ’s India - Delhi program has four meaningful projects in Childcare, Health, Slum Teaching and Teaching English.
IVHQ was an incredible experience, meeting and spending time with people from all over the world is definitely what made my trip so great. There is something about the people who volunteer here - everyone is so easy going and easy to get along with. The people I spent my time with definitely made my trip much better! My favorite moments would be spending time with the kids - they made me appreciate what I have at home a lot more, by seeing how they are happy with so little. You will experience a huge culture shock, but you will survive. Patrick Dachille, IVHQ volunteer in India - Delhi
$250 for one week
Many popular activities in Nepal are outdoors or in the mountains, and as a result it can be a very cheap place for adventure travelers. Having said that, Nepal has introduced fees on a few things that weren’t there in the past - things like entrance fees, national park fees and permits. These won’t bust your budget on their own but they are costs that you may not be expecting. At the same time, food, water and other essentials are cheap enough that volunteers in Nepal generally budget around $20 a week in spending money.
IVHQ’s Nepal program has nine meaningful project options in NGO Support, Sustainable Agriculture, Medical Elective, Childcare, Women’s Education, Teaching English, Special Needs Care and Construction and Renovation. Projects are available in a locations around Nepal in Kathmandu, Chitwan, Chitlang and Pokhara.
This was an absolutely fantastic experience! The people you meet and the experiences you receive from helping the people in need will be unforgettable. Don’t think twice - get involved now! Callie Michaud, IVHQ volunteer in Nepal
$245 for one week
Now we’re getting really affordable! Top-rated volunteer programs at less than $250 a week can be really hard to find, and IVHQ has five of them - starting in Morocco.
As mentioned previously, Africa is a relatively cheap destination for volunteer travelers. The basics like food, water and accommodation are really affordable, and are covered by your Program Fee when you volunteer with IVHQ.
Morocco has plenty of awesome free activities on offer as well. Each city medina offers a chance to walk in the shoes of the locals, roaming markets and sampling local food. The trekking in Morocco is excellent, particularly in the Atlas Mountains, and the beaches are popular among surfers and those just wanting a day off.
One of the great things about being a volunteer in Morocco is the cultural insight you get through being accommodated in homestays with local families. You’ll get a real experience into life in Morocco, eat local food and take part in cultural practices. Volunteers in Nepal generally budget around $40 a week in spending money.
IVHQ’s Morocco program offers six meaningful project options, including Childcare, Teaching English or French, Women’s Education, Sports Development and, during May and June, a unique Ramadan project.
Don’t think twice, just go for it, it’s enriching and meaningful! I enjoyed my short experience in Morocco and can’t wait to join again but for a longer time. I liked everything from accommodation, host family, food, volunteering activities and non-volunteering activities! I was traveling as a solo female and felt so safe everywhere. Reward yourself and have such a wonderful experience! Sharifa Sharida, IVHQ volunteer in Morocco
$245 for one week
If you ever needed an excuse to go to Vietnam, this is it! Vietnam is another very cheap place to travel, especially in Ho Chi Minh City, where the IVHQ volunteer program is based.
One of the highlights of traveling in Vietnam is the food. Vietnamese food is highly thought of around the world, and you’ll be forgiven for spending your time counting down to your next meal. Not only do restaurants boast flavorsome, authentic local food, but street food outlets can do it just as well for a fraction of the price. The Vietnamese take on a sandwich, Bánh mì, is a perfect lunch and can cost you less than $1! The reason food is so cheap is because everything in Vietnam is cheap! Transport, shopping and tourist attractions are all very affordable - volunteers generally find $30 a week is sufficient spending money.
IVHQ’s Vietnam - Ho Chi Minh program offers five meaningful project options including Teaching English, Kindergarten, Medical, Special Needs Care and Food Outreach.
Don’t be afraid of being out of you comfort zone. Try volunteering. It’s one of the best ways to better know yourself and discover the world, you would never think exists. And if you choose Vietnam, be prepared for everything. I loved the country and people there. It was one of my best volunteering times ever. Monika Bebnowska, IVHQ volunteer in Vietnam
$230 for one week
Just over the border from Vietnam, Laos is an even cheaper place to volunteer for one week. Like the rest of South-East Asia, Laos is a very cheap place to get around and enjoy yourself. Street food is again a cheap way to eat tasty food - don’t be afraid to haggle over the price too, especially if you’re getting a few things.
Expect an entry fee at the popular temples and waterfalls, but they are reasonable. Alternatively, check out any number of other lesser-known free ones that can be just as spectacular. Volunteers in Laos generally find $30 is enough to cover weekly spending money.
IVHQ’s Laos program is based in Honkau village, just outside the capital of Vientiane, and offers three meaningful project options in Construction and Renovation, Teaching English and Childcare.
I enjoyed going out exploring the city during weekends as there are many tuk-tuks providing cheap fare to the city. The best part will always be the teaching experience at morning and afternoon schools and also at the adult learning centre. I’m planning to volunteer again and will not hesitate to choose another IVHQ program! Lim Yuin Khong, IVHQ volunteer in Laos
$230 for one week
For an island volunteer opportunity with a difference, you can’t beat the Philippines. This program is based on the island of Palawan, west of the main islands, and home to some of the most stunning, undiscovered beaches you’ll find. Twice rated the best island in the world by influential magazine Travel + Leisure, Palawan is home to warm, clear water, white sand and rugged, green mountains. You’ll never look at a day on the beach the same way after doing it here! It’s also home to a unique underground river, which you can take a canoe tour through. Volunteers in the Philippines generally budget around $30 a week in spending money.
IVHQ’s Philippines program offers four meaningful project options including Kindergarten, Construction and Renovation, Teaching and Environmental.
Volunteering with IVHQ in the Philippines was truly a life changing experience. You are exposed to the culture in the most authentic way and are given the opportunity to meet so many amazing and like-minded people. I would recommend the programs to people of all ages! Jamie Taylor, IVHQ volunteer in Philippines
$180 for one week
Yes, you read that right! This is one of IVHQ’s longest-running programs and by far the cheapest volunteer abroad program for one week trips. Because you’re based in the city, everything you need is on your doorstep. The city is a hive of activity with local markets and culture for days.
One trick for saving money on food is to avoid the touristy eateries, opt for the road less traveled and eat at the authentic neighborhood restaurants. Just walk a couple of blocks from the central streets - the food is just as nice and much cheaper! There’s some great, free museums to check out and the clifftop ocean views from Miraflores are iconic. Volunteers in Lima generally budget around $50 a week for spending money.
IVHQ’s Peru - Lima program offers six meaningful project options, including Childcare, Medical, Animal Care, Construction and Renovation, Community Support and Teaching English.
I thoroughly enjoyed my experience with IVHQ. I’m not someone who travels often, so IVHQ meet that desire and it’s low risk. You don’t feel the dangers and anxiety of traveling “alone”, because you’re never really alone. There’s an amazing team that is there ready to support you and like minded volunteers waiting to meet you and lend a helping hand. You’ll make a lasting impact and the experience will have a lasting impact on you. I’m so glad I made the decision to do this. Darien Willis, IVHQ volunteer in Peru - Lima
So there it is - eight of the cheapest and best value for money volunteer programs you’ll find. If you’re not sure if any of these are for you, IVHQ has plenty more affordable, high quality programs that only just miss out on this list.
But there’s still more!
Saving money doesn’t stop when you get the cheapest volunteer programs. Actually, that’s just the start. There are loads of savings you can make by being smart about how you travel. IVHQ has you covered there too - check out these specialist tips for volunteering on a budget.
For more information on what your IVHQ fees cover, and to compare prices across our range of over 50+ programs worldwide, browse our cheap volunteer program fees.