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Senior Travel Abroad

Senior-Friendly Volunteer Vacations
Senior Travel Editor Alison Gardner's Picks

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

Featured Articles on Senior Volunteering Abroad
Volunteer Vacations: Seniors Have a Different Agenda by Alison Gardner
Learning to Love Voluntourists by Alison Gardner
International Volunteering Over 50 by John Dwyer
Professional Services Volunteering Over 50 by John Dwyer
Volunteering at Organic Farms in Italy with WWOOF at 59 by Venetia Sherson
Baby Boomers and International Volunteer Service by Ann McLaughlin
Volunteering in Ecuador For "Grown Ups" with Lead Adventures and Villa Tica Daycare by Alison Gardner
Volunteering Abroad from A-Z: A Perspective From an Experienced Senior by Dorothy Conlon
Travel in Swaziland: The Joys of Plans Gone Awry by Dorothy Conlon
Adventuring Abroad: An Experienced Senior Sees Travel as a 3-Course Feast by Dorothy Conlon

Cross-Cultural Solutions: Volunteer Abroad for the Experience of a Lifetime!  
The CCS experience is perfect for people who are 50-plus and planning on traveling alone, with friends, or with family. You’ll experience another culture like never before while making a difference in people’s lives. You’ll also gain perspectives and insights into the local culture and yourself while working side-by-side with local people on community-led initiatives. Choose from 9 countries — Brazil, Costa Rica, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Morocco, Peru, Tanzania, and Thailand. 
Volunteer as senior Dates: One Week to Three Months
Costs: Contact Us for Pricing and Availability
Contact: Cross-Cultural Solutions, 2 Clinton Place, New Rochelle, NY 10801.
Tel: US Toll Free: 1-800-380-4777


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

The following projects and coordinating agencies are noted for providing senior-friendly working and living environments:

Archaeology Abroad, 31-34 Gordon Sq., London WC1H OPY, England, U.K.; Tel./fax 011-44-20-8537-0849, Based out of University College London’s Institute of Archaeology since 1972, Archaeology Abroad provides information about archaeological fieldwork opportunities outside the U.K. through its annual publication, now produced exclusively on CD ROM. Upward of 1,000 places are advertised annually suitable for all pocketbooks and levels of experience, covering all archaeological periods. Subscribe online at:

Earthwatch Institute, 3 Clocktower Pl., Maynard, MA 01754-0075; 800-776-0188 or 978-461-0081, fax 978-461-2332;, Since 1971, this international nonprofit organization has placed more than 81,000 volunteers with field researchers engaged in a dazzling menu of scientific and social science research around the world. With a strong emphasis on sustainability, it presently supports about 140 projects in 48 countries, including North America. Forty percent of participants are older adults, and a great many volunteers are repeat clients with 20+ projects ticked off their checklist.

Global Citizen’s Network, 130 North Howell St., St. Paul, MN 55104; 800-644-9292 (US only) or 651-644-0960;, Established in 1992, GCN is a volunteer organization for people committed to sharing values of peace, justice, tolerance, cross-cultural understanding and global cooperation. With trips generally lasting one, two or three weeks, each team of six to 12 people works with local villagers on projects initiated by the local community, for the benefit of that community. Fifty percent of participants are older adults.

Global Service Corps, 3543 18th Street, #14, San Francisco, CA 94110; tel 415-551-0000; fax 415-861-8969; email: Global Service Corps (GSC) 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, 375 E. Little Canada Rd., St. Paul, MN 55117-1628; 800-487-1074 or 651-407-6100, fax 651-482-0915;, 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 percent of volunteers are older adults, drawn primarily from the U.S. and Canada. One- to three-week programs are offered in 19 countries on six continents.

Globe Aware, 7232 Fisher Rd., Dallas, Texas 75214-1917; 877-588-4562 or 214-823-0083, fax 214-823-0084;, This nonprofit currently offers volunteer vacations in Peru, Costa Rica, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Nepal and Brazil. 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 percent 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 (HQ. and International Programs), 121 Habitat St., Americus, GA 31709-3498; 800-HABITAT or 912-924-6935, fax 912-924-6541;, Habitat for Humanity Canada (Canadian and International Programs), 800-667-5137 or 519-885-4565;, This nonprofit, ecumenical Christian organization 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 over 70 countries. While Habitat will not estimate figures, they say that older volunteers are "very significant" in number.

LANDSCOPE Expeditions, UWA Extension, Univ. of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Hwy., Crawley, WA 6009 Australia; 08-6488-2433, fax 08-6488 1066; A nonprofit, self-supporting study and research project since 1992, this volunteer vacation program represents the best possible marriage of resources between government (Dept. of Conservation and Land Management), academic research (Univ. of Western Australia) and the inquiring minds and helping hands of an interested public (vacation volunteers). An excellent introduction to Western Australia’s unique natural surroundings. Seventy-five percent of participants are older adults.

Lead Adventures Ecuador & Galapagos, 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; Offers volunteer and adventure programs in Ecuador and the Galapagos suitable for "grown-ups" and seniors which provide full cultural immersion in traditional Ecudorian culture. You will learn about and share your knowledge of biodiversity, conservation, social causes, organic agriculture, animal welfare, and community building, with tailored group and individual customized options available. You may choose to stay in a hostel or a hotel for more independence, and have your travel arrangements upgraded for your specific needs.

Oceanic Society Expeditions, Quarters 35, Fort Mason, San Francisco, CA 94123; 800-326-7491 or 415-441-1106, fax 415-474-3395;, 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, 4201 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 407, Los Angeles, CA 90010; 800-ORANGUTAN (US only) or 323-938-6046, fax 323-938-6047;, 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. British conservation tour operator, Discovery Initiatives, manages OFI volunteer travel and educational tours; 011-44-0-20-7724 2912;, Fifty to 60 percent of volunteer vacationers are older adults.

Outreach360, 6611 West Robert E. Lee St., Glendale, Arizona 85308; 602-375-2900, fax 602-926-1439;, Since 1994, this Christian-based interdenominational nonprofit organization has supported orphanages in the Dominican Republic and sent individual volunteers and groups to work with the children educationally or on projects that have transformed the orphanage facilities. Options are offered year round. Scheduled family camps also provide memorable volunteer modeling opportunities for grandparents and their grandchildren. Thirty-five percent of volunteers are older adults.

Volunteer with CCS as senior
Senior Volunteering with GO ECO

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