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Top 5 Trending Travel Destinations For 2016

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With over 30 destinations to choose from, the struggle is real when it comes to deciding on a country to volunteer in with IVHQ! We have taken varying aspects into consideration (including where's the most Insta-grammable) to come up with the Top 5 on-point travel destinations for 2016. 

Brazil

With the 2016 Summer Olympics kicking off in Rio on the 5th August, Brazil is the place to be. Rio is known for its vibrant culture, stunning vistas and of course, Christ the Redeemer, standing tall atop the Corcovado Mountain. Tick off two things on your Bucket List by combining a trip to Brazil with a volunteer project. With plenty to choose from, you will never be stuck for choice - Teaching English, Childcare, Sports Development, Community Development, or the Carnaval project (available from October 3rd). Give back to the community during the weekdays and then on the weekends and during downtime, you can relax on the beach or absorb the Wonders. Secret Squirrel travel tip: for travelers heading to Brazil for the Olympics, the usual visa requirements have been waived for American tourists, saving an epic USD$160!!

"Words cannot even begin to describe my experience, one thing I can say is that it is life changing. You come back a different person not just because of the children but the world that you emerged in. I did not think it was possible to love someone or something so much until I arrived in Brazil and it was love at first sight with the culture, the people, the food and most of all the children." - Kayla-Lynn St-Coeur (IVHQer in Brazil)

 

A photo posted by @barbicserich on

 

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is an up-and-coming destination for travelers looking for an affordable tropical island experience. A country full of heritage, thrills and scenic beauty, Sri Lanka has something for everyone. Volunteering in Sri Lanka with IVHQ, you have the opportunity to participate in an exceptional selection of projects, such as Teaching, Medical, Elderly Care, Childcare, Rural Community Development, Temple Renovation and Wild Elephant Conservation. You will never be short of activities on the weekends and in your downtime, chill out on one of the many luxurious golden beaches, or maybe give surfing a go! Take in some culture by visiting the Temple of the Tooth, a Buddhist Temple in Kandy, or if you have a bit more time, you can take a short flight to South India to take in the sites of Tiruchirapalli.

"I have currently completed 6 weeks volunteering in Sri Lanka and my experience was way beyond my expectations. Not only is Sri Lanka even more beautiful in reality; the experience I had there with the local team just made everything that even more beautiful. For anyone who is unsure about volunteering - I genuinely couldn't recommend the Sri Lanka team any more if I tried. I honestly don't think my experience would be half of what it was without them. Truly amazing." - Katie Hutchinson (IVHQer in Sri Lanka)

 

A photo posted by Sophie (@sophiedorion) on

 

Ecuador

With a shiny new Metro System in the works, Quito, Ecuador is most definitely a trending destination on the rise! Full of history, culture and beautiful outlooks, Ecuador has something for everyone. Combine the opportunity to appreciate Quito with an opportunity to volunteer with IVHQ, offering Kindergarten, School Support, NGO Support, Street Children Work, Teaching English and a Summer Project - there truly is something to suit all travelers. On the weekends you can visit the Equator at La Mitad del Mundo (The Middle of the World City) and tick off standing in both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere from your bucket list. Head further afield to explore some of the amazing National Parks or Galapagos Islands.

"I feel that getting involved with volunteering and living with the family gives you a more profound insight into the culture and way of life. This gave me time to really adapt and experience life there in a more unique way to a regular tourist. It gives you a sense of purpose and routine. I also met some truly wonderful people. It has inspired me to take part in projects like this on my next adventure! The accommodation felt safe, comfortable and homely. The family always made me feel safe as well as the location and the size. I couldn't complain! Hot water and great food too. My favourite part of volunteering abroad in Ecuador was meeting great people, volunteers and staff, playing with the kids and practising Spanish!" - Kristina Downie (IVHQer in Ecuador)

 

A photo posted by @katiehine on

 

China

Full of history, culture and amazing food, Xian, China is the place to be in 2016. Awesome for a traveler on a budget, there is a heap to see, do, and eat without breaking the bank. Integrate your Chinese cultural experience with a volunteer project, with 1-week programs starting at as little as USD$280! Choose between Teaching English or Special Needs Care and make an impact on the community while enjoying the tourist activities. Xi'an is one of four Great Ancient Capital Cities, so it's fair to say that there is plenty of history for you to take in, such as the Terracotta Warriors, discovered in 1974 with over 7,500 warriors stand guard over the First Emperor of China. Get active and take the 8.5 mile bike ride over the Xi'an City Wall, you will be impressed by the view of the city and the surrounding areas.

"Being in Xi'an for Spring festival was definitely a highlight. We got to see the city get all excited and dressed up for new years festivities which was great. Then being there for new years meant seeing the fireworks. crackers, eating dumplings and learning about the culture of it all. Watching kids understand and get excited about the things you were teaching them was so great. Seeing how far they had progressed at the end of my time there was really exciting. I don't think China is always on the top of people's lists to travel/ volunteer, but there is so much that people can contribute to the communities of China, especially through these programs in Xi'an. China is a really fun and interesting place to travel to." - Samantha Robb (IVHQer in China)

 

A photo posted by @aliciacross on

 

New Zealand

Not only is New Zealand the home to IVHQ, it is also thrill-seeking adventure hub and chock-a-block full of amazing environments. You will be spoilt for choices of activities, take the short ferry from Auckland to Waiheke Island where you can hire bikes to explore the island and wineries. Head north to Cape Reinga, the northern-most point of the North Island, where the iconic lighthouse stands. Lord of the Rings fan? Head to Matamata and take a tour of Hobbiton! And don't miss a trip down to Queenstown in the South Island - be prepared for the views to blow your mind. The possibilities are endless in New Zealand and IVHQ might just have a Kiwi program announcement coming up in the not so distant future! Keep an eye on our social media for upcoming shout-outs.

 

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