Itching to become a Global Eco-Volunteer Traveler? Find out how.

By Dian Hasan | June 22, 2009

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GoEco Volunteers. Photo: Go Eco

If you’ve always yearned to do good unto others, whether for humanity or for other good causes to help the environment or its animals, even when you are traveling, here’s a useful resource. I recently came across a heartwarming organization of volunteers that matches prospective volunteer travelers with customized activities across the globe. GoEco is an organization founded by volunteers who make it their mission to help travelers interested in volunteer work, and give back to the communities, wildlife, and environments of their choice of travel destination.

 

 

Opting to volunteer while seeing the world is not only a more sustainable way to travel, but a unique look at the world through new eyes. Whether you’re used to taking a cruise, having fun at a theme park, or weekend getaways at the cottage, consider giving back with some eco-volunteerism for your next trip.

GoEco’s comprehensive website connects various organizations that all support the same things that they believe in: sustainable travel through volunteering. Their up-to-date database recommends projects, world-wide; from Central America, to Australia and everywhere beyond. The team closely analyzes each project, ensuring it’s level of ethics, which enables travelers to experience places, people, and communities they might not have otherwise been able to.

Whether volunteering for wildlife, development, or education, GoEco has you covered. And if you’re interested in eco-trips or paid teaching, they provide those resources, too.

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Working with Giant Pandas in China

Trip idea: Working in China with Giant Pandas

The trips are also budget-friendly, compared to spending a few weeks on an island, or a luxury vacation abroad. Assisting with giant pandas in China, for example, is a modest $640 for a week, where you would be handling pandas, helping with food preparation, cleaning their enclosures, and observing their health.

With it, you’d receive a shared hotel room with one or two others, three meals a day, airport pickup and drop off, and a local pre-departure orientation. The only things you have to pay for is your flight and personal expenses.

For more information about this opportunity, click here.

GoEco_Ecotourism Dev in Nazareth_10

Building Community in Nazareth, Israel

Trip idea: Build community in Nazareth, Israel

Wildlife not really your style? For 4 to 8 weeks, you can travel to Nazareth for just $300, where you’ll be hosting tourists, teaching, and doing community work. Like in China, it includes a dorm-style room, and training. Food, flights, and personal expenses are not included.

In Nazareth, you will live and work alongside the local community, staying at a historical inn, and experience their multiethnic environment with Jews, Christians and Muslims; which, depending on where you live, might be completely opposite (and rewarding) to what you know.

For more information about this opportunity, click here.

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Iguana Conservation in Honduras

Trip idea: Supporting Iguana Conservation in the Caribbean

If places like Nazareth or China aren’t your style, what about the Island of Utila on the North Caribbean coast of Honduras? While volunteering for the support of iguana conservation, you’ll spend time on a beautiful coast line akin to the islands of Survivor.

For those interested in building their iguana knowledge (and come on, who isn’t?) volunteers will contribute to the preservation of their habitat and research the endangered Utila Spiny-tailed Iguana. For only $500, you can stay a minimum of four weeks, feeding and monitoring iguanas, maintaining stations, and partaking in field work. Shared rooms, airport pickup, and pre-departure training is included. Flights, insurance, and food are extra expenses.

For more information about this opportunity, click here.

GoEco also includes personal volunteer logs, complete with videos. One volunteer, David Foskett, who volunteered for a zoo in Jerusalem, commented: “My experience has been safe, enlightening, and very enjoyable. Nepal has a very rewarding cultural environment. The initial culture shock is quickly turned into a sense of belonging. I have never once felt anything but at home and completely welcomed.” Feedback is always welcome, for those unsure that an eco-volunteer trip would be for them.
For vacations that cost you next to nothing in exchange for a once in a lifetime experience (or more, if you choose to do more than one), explore GoEco.

Source: ecoki

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