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How To Volunteer Abroad For Free

How To Volunteer Abroad For Free

They say the best things in life are free (and we agree) and we believe that volunteering abroad is one of the best things you can do in your life (and our volunteers agree).

Volunteering abroad is a rewarding way for socially-conscious travelers to have a meaningful impact within a community abroad, while engaging in a cross-cultural exchange and expanding their skills and horizons. The two-way exchange of volunteering heightens global awareness and understanding, and gives you the opportunity to help build capacity within your host community, while developing your cross-cultural communication skills professional skills. 

Aspiring volunteers researching how to volunteer abroad for free can often be surprised to learn that free volunteer abroad opportunities are difficult to find, as you need to take into account the travel costs and in-country costs associated with coordinating an overseas volunteer trip. The upside is that International Volunteer HQ offers the world's most affordable volunteer programs in over 35 different destinations, and we've identified a number of tried and tested strategies that will allow you to come up with the funds to essentially enable you to volunteer abroad for free.

To get started to volunteer abroad for free, the first step is to find the most affordable volunteer abroad opportunities available to you, and then you can proceed to offset the expenses of your volunteer trip with the free volunteer abroad strategies shared below

How to volunteer abroad for free with IVHQ

How to find the most affordable volunteer abroad programs

The more affordable the volunteer opportunity, the easier it will be to reduce your volunteer travel expenses and get you closer to volunteering abroad for free. Identifying the most affordable volunteer abroad opportunities involves finding a trusted and low cost volunteer organization like International Volunteer HQ to organize your program for you. Volunteering abroad with IVHQ gives you the confidence that you will greeted at the airport when you arrive to your program destination and that you'll have 24/7 in-country support from a local team, while being in the company of like-minded volunteer travelers.

To identify the most affordable volunteer program opportunities available, you will need to consider the program fees and the associated costs for traveling to the program destinations that you are interested in. IVHQ makes is easy to estimate the overall costs for a volunteer trip abroad, as your program fee covers the cost of your airport pick-up, meals, accommodation and 24/7 in-country support. The program fees vary depending on where you choose to volunteer and how long you can volunteer for, and you can easily compare the fees for different destinations and durations here, with program fees start as low as $180 for 1 week.

Keep in mind that the most affordable volunteer opportunities will differ depending on your location and the associated flight costs. For example, the program fees for volunteering in Bali may be less than the program fees for volunteering in Costa Rica, however your flight costs could be significantly more expensive to travel to Costa Rica than to Bali. When looking into the cost of flights, you can use a flights search engine to easily explore the costs for different flight paths.

Ensuring that the volunteer organization offers projects that are aligned with your unique interests and skill sets is critical, and if you need any support in selecting an affordable volunteer opportunity, contact the friendly team at IVHQ to help point you in the right direction. You can explore IVHQ's extensive range of volunteer project opportunities here.

How to volunteer abroad for free tips

How to offset your expenses to enable you to volunteer abroad for free

With the support of our volunteer alumni, we've developed this list of successful strategies to support you in reducing your volunteer travel expenses and essentially enable you to volunteer abroad for free. 

Trade Presents For Donations

If a birthday, anniversary or Christmas is looming and gift-giving is on the agenda, ask your loved ones to substitute your presents for monetary donations that you can use to put towards your upcoming volunteer abroad trip! This is arguably the easiest way to get you on your way to volunteer abroad for free! 

Convert Clothes To Cash

Turning old clothes or unused household items into cash can also get you on your way to volunteer abroad for free! Set a date for a garage sale, host a silent auction, strike up a deal with your friends, run a Facebook auction, list your items on eBay or Craigslist… The options are endless! IVHQ volunteer, Julie Gowan, collected all the clothing items she no longer needed and sold them for $5 a piece to her friends, so they got a real bargain and Julie made hundreds of dollars for items she no longer wanted – win win!

Crowd Fund With Fund & Seek

Together, our IVHQ volunteers have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars via Fund & Seek, allowing them volunteer abroad for free and raise funds to support their volunteer placements! Simply setting up a fundraising page on Fund & Seek and sharing your mission with your friends and family via email, social media or word of mouth, can help reach your fundraising goals!

Fill Your Bank With Empties

Many IVHQ volunteers take advantage of the opportunity to trade in their empties (or others’ empties) for cash! IVHQ volunteer, Kaila Cochrane, made around $800 from collecting empty beer cans and wine bottles! Her advice is to hand out flyers in your local neighborhood and organize a pick-up date. Kaila also recommends picking a date after a holiday weekend when your neighbors will have plenty of empties to spare!

Plan A Profitable Party

If throwing a party and raising money to help you volunteer abroad for free sounds like a sweet combo, you’ve come to the right tip! Whether you’re selling tickets for a dinner party, movie night, dress-up party, or quiz night, you can use the money from the ticket sales to purchase the ingredients/elements for a top night and put the profits towards helping you volunteer abroad for free! IVHQ volunteer, Larissa Rodrigues, hosted an English tea party/dessert night and invited all her friends (and their friends). Larissa baked lots of treats, organised old fashioned games, and asked her guests to contribute $10 towards the night, rather than bringing anything.

For more fundraising tips to help you volunteer abroad for free, visit our Volunteer Fundraising Tips page.

To discover the adventures waiting for you with IVHQ, tune in this video of our volunteers abroad, or check out our awesome range of affordable volunteer abroad programs!

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