It’s a rare and unique person who is willing to travel to an unfamiliar part of the world, leaving behind family, friends, and just about everything familiar. For someone who’s already willing and committed to give up so much for the purpose of helping out, it’s natural to ask: “Why should I pay to volunteer ?”
Why should someone charge you to work for free? But this is a common misconception about volunteer travel—the volunteer work is not what you are paying for. Paying to volunteer is a little different to paying for a holiday. When you volunteer you create the opportunity for you to make a difference. So no matter what your background or your age, your contribution goes a long way to help.
Even though you do pay for your travel, accommodations, and meals, there are a lot of benefits that you receive. These include orientation, language and technical training, a safe and supportive place to live, a safety net through staff that provide logistical support and even counselling, clear expectations for the work you will do, and affordability. It will be cheaper to travel to a foreign country with an organisation that handles most of the details than it would be if you tried to do it on your own.
If all goes to plan, you may see very little of some other important services that you paid for. Confused? It gets better. This doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t get your money’s worth. Because one of your biggest investments when paying to volunteer is in your peace of mind—having someone there in case of emergency.
Finally but maybe most importantly, many organisations receive enough help from different volunteers in terms of physical help, but what they really lack is financial support.