Surprises are cool when we’re talking surprise parties, but no one likes surprise costs, especially when you’re on a tight budget.
At IVHQ, we’re committed to providing affordable and transparent volunteer fees and this is a key factor that sets us apart from other volunteer travel providers.
While our volunteers know we’re the most affordable and trusted provider, they want to know what additional costs they need to budget for when volunteering abroad.
The truth is that these additional costs are no different from other costs you’ll encounter when traveling overseas (with the exception of the cost of obtaining a criminal background check, which is a requirement when participating on any IVHQ program).
Let’s lay out the costs for you, so you know what to budget for when volunteering abroad - no surprises.
Registration Fee & Program Fee
The affordability of our volunteer fees leaves many thinking IVHQ’s fees are too good to be true. The truth is that IVHQ was founded on a model of affordability and transparency so our volunteers know where their fees are going. IVHQers pay two fees to volunteer abroad with us - a Registration Fee and a Program Fee. The Registration Fee of US$299 is paid to IVHQ to cover all the pre-departure support services that IVHQ provides, including ongoing support from your IVHQ Program Manager, comprehensive information booklets and access on our online volunteer training. The total of your Program Fee is dependant on the duration and destination of your chosen program (see our affordable volunteer program fees for a break-down) and 100% of this fee is paid to our partner organization to cover your airport pick-up, orientation, meals, accommodation and 24/7 in-country support from the local team.
While you’ve already found the world’s largest range of affordable volunteer programs, finding the best flight deals can require a little further research. The good news is that while flights tend to represent the biggest cost for international volunteers, they also present the biggest opportunity to cut costs if you play your cards right. See our How To Volunteer Abroad On The Cheap article for some handy tips on how to score the best flight deals. To estimate how much it will cost you to fly to one of IVHQ’s 40+ program destinations, simply request a quote here as soon as you’ve registered with IVHQ or input your dates and travel path into a flights search engine, like this one .
Any traveler who has experienced flight delays, lost luggage or a pricey trip to the doctor while overseas will understand why travel insurance is a must. It’s a requirement for all volunteers to purchase comprehensive travel insurance in order to participate on an IVHQ volunteer program too. You’re welcome to research an suitable provider, or take advantage of the affordable travel insurance packages customized for volunteer travelers from World Nomads.
The cost of vaccinations is something all travelers may need to budget for, whether you’re a volunteer, leisure or business traveler. The only vaccination required by law is Yellow Fever for those traveling through infected areas, however travel medicine professionals suggest that you shouldn’t leave without Hepatitis A and B and an updated Typhoid immunization. As soon as you register on an IVHQ program, your Program Manager will provide you with a list of recommended vaccinations, which is customized depending on the location you are traveling to, and it’s up to you to visit your travel doctor to discuss which vaccinations you should get. The immunization and medication recommendations provided by your travel doctor will depend on a number of variables, including length of stay, time of year (rainy vs. dry season, altitude vs. sea level, prior immunization history, medical history, rural vs. urban, any current outbreaks reported, etc). The costs differ between the type of vaccination and the clinic providing the service, so when calling your local clinic, you will need to enquire about the cost of booking an appointment with the travel doctor, as well as the cost of the vaccinations that have been recommended to you (keeping in mind that some may require boosters).
Before considering travel visas, make sure your passport has at least 6 months validity beyond the date you plan to depart from your destination. This will avoid any surprise costs involved with last minute passport orders (or getting turned away at the airport because your passport is out of date). You can then check the visa requirements of the country you are planning to travel to, and the associated cost for entry (if any). Keep in mind that the visa requirements will depend on your nationality and if you need any assistance in researching visa costs before applying to volunteer with IVHQ, simply send an email to our friendly team.
It’s mandatory for all IVHQ volunteers to present a criminal background check to our local team before beginning an IVHQ volunteer program. The cost of obtaining a background check can vary depending on your country of origin and most volunteers pay between $20 and $80 for a check.
IVHQ provides weekly budget recommendations for you to consider on top of your Program Fee - the costs you should be budgeting for vary depending on your chosen program and can include transport, drinking water and snacks/additional meals. The important thing to remember is that every IVHQ program is unique and while you won’t need to budget for some costs in one country, you may need to factor these costs in for another. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions around budgeting for your program, as we’ll be more than happy to help! It’s equally important to keep some budget set aside for your weekend travel opportunities. While we recommend waiting until you arrive at your destination to make weekend travel arrangements (as this allows you to plan with other IVHQers and take recommendations from our local team), knowing the costs of the items pending on your Bucket List is key to avoid surprise costs in country.
To see where in the world you can volunteer abroad affordably with IVHQ, see our range of volunteer programs.