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The 100 Best Volunteer Vacations to Enrich Your Life
(National Geographic)
ISBN 978-1426204593 1426204590
Canada: 978-1426205293 1426205295

Pam Grout helps readers find volunteer work overseas, in places like Senegal and Zambia. She also describes family volunteer vacations and local volunteer opportunities in the USA and Canada.

Types of volunteer holidays include marine research, humanitarian aid, archaeology, agricultural and farm work, animal preservation, child welfare, community development, geology, historic preservation and restoration, public health and teaching.

Two examples of voluntourism? Setting up a bush clinic for Wodaabe and Tuareg nomads in Ethiopia, Niger and Mali and building lifesaving lorena stoves in San Pedro de Casta, Peru.

Learning about local cultures

Pam Grout recommends that volunteers give up the notion that they can save the world. If volunteer workers listen, they will obtain insights into the culture, beliefs and dreams of those they are trying to help.

Inspirational and informative, the 287-page guidebook offers readers opportunities to learn and experience, while making meaningful contributions.

Overseas volunteer work

The 100 Best Volunteer Vacations to Enrich Your Life describes each volunteer holiday in two or three pages, with contact information for the organizer of the project. For example, volunteers can help excavate a Roman fort, harbor and village at the Ecomuseum de Cap de Cavalleria in Menorca, Spain.

The chapter describes the work (e.g., an underwater field school to explore submerged Roman ruins near Sanitja, Menorca), with costs and accommodations (in a dorm in Ciutadella, Menorca, with meals).

Sidebars provide information about volunteer destinations. One sidebar describes un crotin de chevre goat cheese, which is sold in St.-Martin-de-Crau, Provence, France, where volunteer work camps help restore historic and cultural sites.

Marine research

Informative sidebars provide travel trivia, background facts and useful information for people doing volunteer work. For example, one sidebar provides loggerhead turtle statistics for the Caretta Research Project at the Wasaw National Wildlife Reserve in Georgia, USA.

(An estimated 14,000 female loggerhead turtles nest in the southeastern US each year, but only one in 1,000 hatchlings survives to adulthood. Loggerhead turtles migrate more than 8,000 miles to the Azores, journeying for five to ten years. Loggerheads grow from two inches, as hatchlings, to three feet and 350 pounds, as adults, and live for 50 to 75 years.)

World's largest restaurant

The chapter on assisting Iraqi refugees in Damascus, Syria, has a sidebar describing the largest restaurant in the world in a Damascus suburb. Bawabet Dimashq (which means Damascus Gate, in Arabic) seats 6,014 people and employs 1,800 staff, including more than 500 chefs. Besides serving Syrian food, the Damascus restaurant offers Indian, Chinese, Iranian, Middle Eastern and Gulf-Arab food.

In Vietnam, Buffalo Tours offers volunteer opportunities to help children learn to read and write at the Quang Trung School. The children have disabilities and birth defects from Agent Orange, which contaminates water, fish and soil near storage depots left behind after the war. Overseas volunteers can also work in orphanages and help build homes for families with disabled children.

Wildlife conservation projects

The patients at the animal hospital on the Greek island of Aegina include storks, pelicans, blind cormorants and baby foxes. Volunteers, willing to stay for a minimum seven days, can help protect indigenous wildlife of Greece with cleaning, feeding and rehabilitation programs.

Volunteers can assist with Elghana healthcare and community projects in orphanages, schools and disabled centers, coordinated from Kumasi, Ghana. For breaks, they go on safaris, visit Mole National Park, Kakum National Park, Adidome Island and Cape Coast beaches. Host families provide accommodations and meals.

Does excavating a Stegosaurus interest the paleontologist in you? Volunteer for a five-day expedition in Malta, Montana, where you can join a dinosaur dig at the Little Snowy Mountain site near Billings, MT.

100 Best Volunteer Vacations to Enrich Your Life


North America & the Caribbean
  • Crow Canyon Archaeological Center
  • Judith River Dinosaur Institute
  • Mount Vernon Ladies' Association
  • Continental Divide Trail Alliance
  • Pioneer Playhouse
  • Caretta Research Project
  • Gesundheit! Institute
  • Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation
  • Individual lighthouses around the United States
  • Passport in time
  • Global volunteers
  • Caribbean Volunteer Expeditions
  • Earthwatch
  • Canadian Alliance for Development Initiatives and Projects (CADIP)
  • Airline Ambassadors International
  • Los Medicos Voladores
Central & South America
  • Ambassadors for Children
  • Global Exchange
  • Globe Aware
  • Tropical Adventures Foundation
  • Center for Cultural Interchange
  • Shiripuno Research Center
  • Ecovolunteer
  • I-to-I
  • Projects Abroad
  • Conservacion Patagonica
  • Fundacion Aldeas de Paz (Peace Village Foundation)
  • Cornerstone Foundation
  • Pronaturaleza and Taricaya Research Center
  • Hellenic Wildlife Hospital
  • Association for Regional Participation and Action
  • Balkan Sunflowers
  • Ecomuseum de Cap de Cavalleria
  • Geopark Naturtejo
  • Worldwide Friends - Veraldarvinir
  • The National Trust
  • Offene Hauser (Open Houses)
  • Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust
  • Earthwatch
  • Cross-Cultural Solutions
  • The Alpine Fund
  • Globe Aware
  • Ecovolunteer
  • World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms Italia
Middle East
  • Middle East Fellowship
  • Changing Worlds
  • United Planet
  • International Palestinian Youth League and Alternative Information Center
  • Partnership in Enterprise
  • Global Vision International
  • Gudran Association for Art and Development
  • SAR-EL
  • Zaytoun
  • Center for Cultural Interchange
  • Travellers Worldwide
  • Global Vision International
  • Projects Abroad
  • The Tandana Foundation
  • Elephant - Human Relations Aid
  • Amanzi Travel Ltd.
  • African Impact
  • Elghana
  • Forest People's Project
  • Jane Goodall Institute
  • Tanzania Volunteer Experience
  • Greenforce
  • Tembeza Kenya
  • Ecovolunteer
  • Turtlewill
  • Travellers Worldwide
  • Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society
  • Buffalo Tours
  • Wild Films
  • The Mirror Foundation
  • Bairo Pite Clinic
  • Volunteers for Peace
  • Global Crossroad
  • Gap Year for Grown Ups
  • Cultural Restoration Tourism Project
  • International Society for Ecology and Culture
  • Worldwide Impact Now
  • Sanan Village
  • World Wide Fund for Nature Hong Kong
  • Resource Development International - Cambodia
  • Coral Cay Conservation
  • Via's Bali Service-Learning Program
  • The Great Orangutan Project
Australia & around
  • Conservation Volunteers Australia
  • Tasmanian Devil Appeal
  • City Farm
  • Tararu Valley Sanctuary
  • Global Volunteer Network
  • Global Volunteers
  • Fiji Aid International
  • Esther Honey Foundation
  • Worldteach
  • Earthwatch Institute
  • Habitat for Humanity's Global Village
  • Global Vision International
  • Volunteer Organizations


Pam Grout

Other books by Pam Grout:

The 100 Best Worldwide Vacations to Enrich Your Life

The 100 Best Vacations to Enrich Your Life

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