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Senior Travel

Senior Friendly Volunteer Vacations

Senior Volunteer Vacations
Senior volunteers enrich a Cook Islands literacy project.
Photo courtesy of Global Volunteers.

Featured Articles on Senior Volunteering Abroad
Volunteer Vacations for Seniors: A Different Agenda by Senior Travel Editor Alison Gardner
Learning to Love Voluntourists by Alison Gardner
International Volunteering Over 50 by John Dwyer
Professional Services Volunteering Over 50 by John Dwyer
Volunteer as a Senior and Make Retirement Count by Amy Warren and Winsin Hsieh
Volunteering at Organic Farms in Italy with WWOOF at 59 by Venetia Sherson
Volunteering in Cuba: Forming Friendships, Building Bridges, and Helping Our Neighbors by Lynn Lotkowictz
Volunteering in Ecuador For "Grown Ups" with Lead Adventures and Villa Tica Daycare by Alison Gardner
Baby Boomers and International Volunteer Service by Ann McLaughlin
An Experienced Senior's Perspective on Volunteering Abroad by Dorothy Conlon
Adventuring Abroad: An Experienced Senior Sees Travel as a 3-Course Feast by Dorothy Conlon
Volunteeer in Swaziland by Dorothy Conlon

Volunteer Vacations for the Young at Heart!
It’s time to cross volunteering abroad off your bucket list! GoEco has a wide selection of senior-friendly volunteer programs that give you the opportunity to devote your time and skills to a cause you care about! Whether you’re interested in helping orphaned children or joining in wildlife conservation efforts, you‘ll return home knowing you made a difference!
Senior Volunteering Abroad Dates: 1 week – 24 weeks
Costs: $400 USD – $2,900 USD
Contact: GoEco Volunteering
Tel.: US: +1 646 240 4545 UK: +44 203 318 4004 AU: +61 2 8014 9393

Volunteer in Ecuador and Galapagos
Lead Adventures offers volunteer and adventure programs in Ecuador and the Galapagos suitable for "grown-ups" and seniors, providing full immersion in traditional Ecuadorian culture. You will learn about and share your knowledge of biodiversity, conservation, social causes, organic agriculture, animal welfare, and community building. Tailored group and individual customized options are available. You may choose to stay in a hostel or a hotel for more independence, and have your travel arrangements customized for your specific needs.
Senior volunteering in Ecuador Dates: Year round
Contact: Lead Adventures, Juan Leon Mera 1574 y La Pinta (2nd floor office 2A) Quito - Ecuador
Tel.: US/Canada 1 800 579 3905 or Ecuador 5 932 254 1633

The following projects and coordinating agencies are noted for providing senior friendly volunteer work and living environments:

Discover Corps. A travel program that offers volunteer vacations packages to countries throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Discover Corps specializes in volunteer trips for seniors and their families. The 1-2 week trips combine citizen diplomacy, responsible volunteering, hands-on volunteering, cultural connections, and developing an authentic and meaningful travel experience. Discover Corps has an exclusive relationship with the National Peace Corps Association.

Earthwatch Institute. Since 1971, this international nonprofit organization has placed more than 100,000 volunteers with field researchers engaged in a dazzling menu of scientific and social science research around the world. With a strong emphasis on sustainability, since 1971, they have invested in nearly 1,400 conservation research projects in more than 120 countries, including North America. 40% of participants are older adults, and a great many volunteers are repeat clients involved in multiple projects.

Global Service Corps is a nonprofit international volunteer organization providing service-learning opportunities to live and work in Thailand, Cambodia, or Tanzania. Short- and long-term programs offer cultural immersion with homestays or in independent accommodations, while working with local counterparts. Personalized service-learning programs, including HIV/AIDS Prevention, Sustainable Agriculture (for nutrition and hunger relief), Healthcare, English Instruction, Buddhist Immersion, and the Seeds of Sustenance Fellowship begin with in-depth training sessions and provide rewarding hands-on challenges for volunteers. Many volunteers are older adults.

Global Volunteers. Founded in 1984, Global Volunteers is a private, nonprofit international development organization mobilizing teams of short-term volunteers year-round to assist with long-term local projects in partnership with 200+ local organizations. With a mission to wage peace and promote justice worldwide, programs include teaching conversational English and other basic subjects, caring for at risk youth, assisting with health care, building schools and community facilities, and much more. About 50% of volunteers are older adults, drawn primarily from the U.S. and Canada. 1- to 3-week programs are offered in 17 countries on six continents.

Globe Aware. This nonprofit currently offers volunteer vacations in 17+ countries worldwide. One week adventures in service focus on cultural awareness and sustainability. All program costs, including airfare, are U.S. tax-deductible, though airfare must be purchased independently. About 25% of volunteers are 50 to 80 years old, with an exciting emphasis on multi-generational family groups. All tours are family-friendly.

Habitat for Humanity (Headquarters and International Programs). A nonprofit, ecumenical Christian organization that seeks to eliminate poverty housing around the world by building homes appropriate to each area where a need exists, either because of natural disasters destroying existing housing or because extreme poverty relegates individuals and families to living in substandard shelter. No building experience necessary. Choose from programs in countries worldwide. While Habitat will not estimate figures, they say that older volunteers are "very significant" in number.

International Volunteer HQ. Offers low-cost volunteer vacations for seniors in locations around the world. Programs take advantage of the experience and skills of mature participants and provide popular homestay and private room options should they be desired.

Oceanic Society Expeditions. The Oceanic Society is a nonprofit organization working to protect marine wildlife and the marine environment through conservation-based research and environmental education. Half its itineraries are volunteer holidays, the rest are educational. Participants become research assistants, working side by side with academics and field researchers, logging, recording, and collecting data, including coral reef health monitoring and measuring nesting sea turtles. These expeditions occur in Central and South America and the Pacific Ocean region. Sixty percent of clients are older adults.

Orangutan Foundation International. There are only two islands in the world where the highly endangered orangutan can be found in the wild: Sumatra and Borneo. As the only organization dedicated solely to preservation of orangutans and their dwindling rainforest habitat, OFI offers a well-established study tour/volunteer program of frontline field experiences. 50 to 6% of volunteer vacationers are older adults.

Senior Volunteering with GO ECO

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