Are you ready to embark on an extraordinary adventure as a first-time traveler? No matter your age or life stage, International Volunteer HQ provides the safest and most empowering way to explore the world as a first-time traveler. You’ll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in a new culture, connect with like-minded travelers, and make an impact where it matters. And most importantly, you’ll be supported every step of the way.
Our superior support services take the anxiety and stress out of coordinating your first trip abroad. As soon as you apply, you’ll be connected with a dedicated IVHQ Program Manager to guide you through your preparations. Once you arrive to your destination, you’ll be picked up from the airport, taken to your accommodation and be fully supported throughout your volunteer program. Plus you’ll make friends with plenty of other first-time travelers just like you! These are just some of the reasons why volunteering abroad with IVHQ is one of the easiest ways and most trusted ways to travel overseas for the first time.
NicoleMedical program in Guatemala
“This was my first solo trip abroad, and I was very nervous. I had a lot of questions - Who would I meet? Would I have anyone to help me navigate through this whole process? What should I expect? When I arrived, I realized I had nothing to worry about. It’s amazing to have met people that share the same interests and viewpoints on life.”Read about Nicole's experience
“I had no troubles traveling and volunteering solo, the IVHQ team were really helpful. The website has all the steps that you need to complete before you start to prepare you for your trip. Also, the online training was really helpful and all the information that I needed to know about Bali was in the guidebook. Whenever I had a question or concern, the team were easy to communicate with and they made everything easy. Having that extra level of support puts your mind at ease when you set off and lets you travel with confidence.”Read about Noor's experience
How to volunteer abroad with IVHQ
Whether you’re looking to test the waters by traveling close to home, or want to venture as far off the beaten tourist track as you can get, IVHQ has volunteer programs in 40+ countries to suit all travel types.
Having the adventure of a lifetime can be done in 5 easy steps:
- Apply for your chosen destination and project
- Confirm your place by paying the Registration Fee
- Prepare for your trip with the guidance of your IVHQ Program Manager
- Depart for your destination
- Our local team will collect you from the airport and support you every step of the way!
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Best volunteer abroad programs for first-time travelers
Explore the most popular volunteer abroad programs for first-time travelers.
If you’re wondering where to start when you’re traveling for the first time, here are some simple steps to follow:
- Define your travel goals
- Research and choose a destination
- Determine the duration of your trip
- Plan your budget and save accordingly
- Obtain necessary travel documents, such as a passport and visa (if required for the country you’re traveling to)
- Book transportation and accommodation
- Pack wisely for the trip
- Prepare for the unexpected with travel insurance
- Embrace the adventure and stay open-minded
To take the anxiety and stress out of preparing to travel abroad for the first-time, organizations like International Volunteer HQ offer step-by-step support services to cater to the unique needs of first-time international travelers. When you travel abroad with IVHQ, you will be fully supported and guided through every stage of the process. The team at IVHQ have more than 16 years of experience in ensuring international travelers are confident and well prepared for traveling abroad for the first time. This support includes both extensive pre-departure guidance and 24/7 in-country support.
Yes, traveling has the potential to change your life by broadening your global perspective, fostering personal growth and development, enhancing empathy and cross-cultural communication, creating memorable experiences and connections, inspiring creativity, and deepening appreciation for home.
Curious about how volunteering abroad will change your life? You can learn about how volunteering with IVHQ has changed the lives of thousands of international travelers.
Before traveling abroad for the first time, remember to:
- Research your destination’s culture and laws
- Check visa and passport requirements
- Get travel insurance and know your coverage
- Check health and vaccination recommendations by a travel doctor
- Inform your bank and credit card company that you will be traveling abroad
- Research local transportation options
- Stay updated on travel advisories
- Make copies of important documents
- Learn basic local phrases of the local language
- Stay connected and research communication options (ie. cost of roaming internationally vs. purchasing a local SIM card)
- Pack wisely and travel light
- Respect local customs and etiquette
- Stay vigilant and practice safety precautions
Following these tips will help you have a more prepared and enjoyable trip abroad. To enhance your preparations as a first-time traveler, IVHQ provides you with a customized travel guide that is specific to the country you are visiting, in addition to a comprehensive online training course. These resources are specifically tailored to international volunteers and are incredibly helpful resources for first-time international travelers.
Choosing the best country for first-time travel depends on your personal interests, budget, and comfort level. However, there are a few destinations that are often recommended for first-time travelers due to their welcoming atmosphere, ease of travel, and diverse experiences. Here are some popular options:
Thailand: Known for its friendly locals, vibrant culture, stunning beaches, and delicious cuisine, Thailand offers a mix of bustling cities like Bangkok, popular islands like Phuket and Koh Samui, cultural gems like Chiang Mai, or natural wonders like Chiang Rai.
Portugal: With its rich history, beautiful golden beaches, vibrant city life, and renowned cuisine, Portugal is a fantastic choice for first-time travelers.
Australia: If you’re seeking the perfect combination of adventure, natural wonders and awesome cityscapes, Australia has it all. From the iconic Sydney Opera House to the Great Barrier Reef, stunning landscapes like the Outback and the beaches of the Gold Coast, Australia offers a diverse range of experiences for every traveler.
Costa Rica: For nature lovers and adventure seekers, Costa Rica is a first-time traveler’s paradise. This Central American gem offers lush rainforests, stunning beaches, wildlife encounters, and epic adventure sports like zip-lining and hiking through volcanoes.
When flying internationally for the first time, you can expect standard procedures such as:
- Check-in and Security: Arrive at the airport early to allow time for check-in and security procedures. Present your passport and travel documents, check your luggage, and go through security screening. Follow the instructions given by airport staff.
- Immigration and Customs: Upon arrival at your destination country, you’ll go through immigration. Present your passport, visa (if required), and any necessary arrival forms. Customs officials may inspect your luggage or ask questions about the items you are bringing into the country.
- In-Flight Experience: International flights are usually longer than domestic flights, so prepare for a lengthier journey. Expect in-flight meals and entertainment options, such as movies, TV shows, and music. Stay comfortable by wearing loose-fitting clothing and bringing essentials like a neck pillow, earplugs, and eye mask.
- Transportation and Accommodation: Plan your transportation from the airport to your accommodation in advance. Research transportation options like taxis, public transportation, or pre-arranged transfers. Ensure you have the necessary information and directions to reach your destination safely.
- Immigration and Departure: When leaving your destination country, you’ll go through immigration and security once again. Allow sufficient time to clear these procedures and make it to your departure gate. Be prepared for potential language barriers, time-zone changes and cultural differences. Keep travel documents secure, exchange currency if needed, plan transportation, and respect cultural differences. Embrace the adventure and enjoy the experience!
To overcome travel anxiety or nervousness:
- Plan and prepare in advance
- Start with shorter trips or closer destinations
- Practice deep breathing and relaxation techniques
- Stay positive and challenge negative thoughts
- Seek support from friends, family, or travel communities
- Pack comforting items from home
- Prioritize self-care during your trip
- Stay informed about your destination
- Take breaks and rest when needed
- Embrace flexibility and unexpected experiences
- Practice mindfulness and stay present
- Seek professional help if necessary
By following these tips, you can manage travel anxiety and have a more enjoyable travel experience.