As travellers, full-time or part-time, are there times you find yourself wondering how you could be of assistance to those around you? Whether they’re fellow travellers stretching their last dollar, NGOs in the area that could use a helping hand for a week/month, or swapping language skills with native speakers from the area?
How can you help out?
It’s actually not that difficult.
Lend a fellow traveller a helping hand when they’re in a jam or on a tight budget. We all like treats here and there, so why not buy someone a meal or a beer? If you’re on your way home, give away the stuff you no longer need to hostelmates that are going to be travelling for much longer. I tend to overpack my aloe, toiletries, sunscreen, bandaids, make up samples and I always ask if anyone wants them. Less weight on my back as I head home and it helps someone out, pretty good deal I’d say.
If you want to take it a bit further, here are other options to think about during your solo travels. You can definitely pull this off in a 1-2 week vacation. Volun-tourism is becoming a travel trend but here are some organizations I’ve heard of that may tickle your fancy:
Projects Abroad is a great way for you to get some work experience and give back during your time abroad. In some ways, it could be more cost effective as it includes food, accommodations, insurance, etc. Friends I met on the Galapagos Islands enrolled in this volunteer/internship abroad program and it gave them an opportunity to visit the beautiful islands, stay with a local family to immerse themselves in the local culture, volunteer their time teaching english or with the conservation of the park and able to participate in the day tours like other visiting tourists.
STIMMA is another organization that goes on Medical Missions to provide health care and other services to communities in need. A couple of friends I know have participated in this program and have really enjoyed their experiences in connecting with locals and assisting with development of the communities.