It may not be the most natural thing to consider when you’re excited about travelling to an exotic destination for a holiday. But as more and more isolated areas draw the interest of travelers as must-see places or secret spots boasting untouched beauty, the more it is apparent that local communities could do with help.
Even popular tourism areas like Maldives and Bali which are more developed don’t necessarily benefit the locals. Healthcare provisions may be either expensive or inaccessible. For example the Maldives feature many atolls which are reachable only by seaplane or speedboats. Not the kind of transfer option that is readily available to local families to see the doctor.
So bearing that in mind, do consider a “voluntour” experience with us when you travel to India. Not only does it add a meaningful dimension to your vacation, you get to experience a slice of ordinary life in the place you visit, make friends with the natives (and make a small contribution to their lives) and come away enriched and perhaps inspired to do more help others.
Here are some “voluntouring” ideas to help you plan your next trip!
- Pack with purpose
Find out about the local communities of the area you are visiting and ask what they need most. It could be a school, a hospital or a village that needs books or stationery, medical aids or basic necessities. Purchase them from home if possible and bring them with you in your suitcase. Please check the local regulations. For example, India has strict customs laws governing medication (even for over th counter drugs), so it may be more useful to purchase them at the nearest local provider.
- Go with a reputable, experienced organiser
As a specialist travel concierge company, voluntourism is one of the main offerings we provide to our guests. This is not a “fun” option, we take this option seriously for guests who are willing to participate. Safety precautions and organisation are some of the crucial planning items that we take off your hands so that you can focus on giving back!
- Raise funds
Once you know what organisation you’re benefiting and the mission you’re doing, you can raise funds to contribute to any costs that go directly towards the beneficiaries. For example, one of the doctors who participated in one of our recent medical camp missions in Ladakh, raised funds to pay for the cost of medication needed for the clinic.
- Take extra care of yourself
This might sound counter-intuitive for a tip that is others-focused, but it’s actually a pretty important detail! The last thing you want to do is to fall ill or get injured and have to be taken care of during a trip where you’re meant to work to benefit others! So focus more on staying safe and healthy; take extra precautions, necessary medication (such as altitude sickness tablets if heading to a mountainous region) and have enough sleep, so no alcohol or partying the night before!
- Be interested
Yes, you’re here to help but it also helps if you’re fully onboard with what you’re doing. Voluntouring is not just another travel option; it’s something to be taken seriously that affects people’s lives (and hopefully improve them). If you’re including younger family members or travel partners who are not familiar with volunteer work, take some time to talk to them about what you’ll be doing together. The last thing you want are members in your travel party who find the whole experience boring or a chore.