Guest blogger Nicoleta Radoi shows us how we can travel inexpensively and also make a difference do people who need our help.
If you love to travel and see the world, you will have undoubtedly used, or at least heard of home-sharing services like Airbnb. These services, the most prominent of which is Airbnb, are rapidly becoming so ubiquitous that they are attracting almost as much controversy as they are popularity.
But let’s be honest – there’s a reason that more and more people are choosing Airbnb over traditional hotels. It’s cheap, and it’s convenient, right?
While it’s true that you can grab some great value deals on Airbnb, and that they have embraced technology well with their easy to use app, there are alternative ways to travel cheaply.
One of these ways is volunteering. If you’ve never considered becoming a volunteer, then you absolutely should.
You can explore and understand an area so much by spending time volunteering there, living, working, and interacting with local people. You can learn about their culture, their history, their day-to-day life. Most importantly, you can enact a genuine positive change for a good cause of your choice.
And if you’re on a tight budget, the fact that volunteering can be extremely affordable is just another bonus to add to the list.
Here are just some of the reasons that volunteering can be cheaper than traveling with Airbnb.
It gets you off the tourist trail
Something that’s great about volunteering is that it almost always gets you out of the most touristy areas and into the beating heart of a country.
In any country, the cities and tourist hotspots are generally the more affluent areas, with higher employment and more active economies in general.
This means that it’s not those areas, but the more rural, undeveloped areas that have the real problems.These are the areas where volunteers can make the biggest difference. Fortunately, it also means they are almost always going to be cheaper for any visitors.
From accommodation, to food, and transport, all your living costs are likely to be significantly lower than if you were traveling on the well-trodden tourist trail, using Airbnb accommodation.
Learn about money-saving tips from locals
An important aspect of staying with local communities is interacting with the people and forming strong friendships with them. It’s truly one of the most rewarding parts of being a volunteer.
By chatting to real local people, you will often exchange knowledge about each other’s cultures, likes and dislikes, and whatever is on your mind.
This exchange of knowledge can be incredibly eye-opening, but an unexpected side-effect is that you can also get unique tips about things like where the locals eat, and where the sights are that tourists don’t know about.
These tips are really helpful for when you’re exploring the area, and can also save you a great deal of money. After all, local people rarely pay tourist prices.
Many things are included in the cost of the program
When traveling, the biggest expenses are always going to be accommodation, food, activities, and transport.
If you choose a good value volunteer organization like uVolunteer, the small fee you pay will cover a lot of these basic expenses, meaning you can stick to a budget more easily, and spend a lot less on the road.
If you’re volunteering for a few weeks, then the transport costs are non-existent. You will be in one place mostly, and any transport there might be – for example getting to and from the airport, and getting between volunteering sights – will be covered by the program.
Volunteer to make a difference and save money
Volunteering is an amazing way to give something back to the countries in which you travel. It can also be a powerful tool to aid you in personal development, teach you about the world and other people, facilitate new friendships, and more.
The fact that it can actually save you money over more popular forms of travel, where services like Airbnb are used, is just an added bonus.
If you want to make a difference and travel with a purpose, volunteer.
Nicoleta is the resident content blogger for uVolunteer. Nicoleta is an avid linguist, speaks fluent English, Chinese, French, Spanish and native Romanian. She spent a decade working in China in the education sector and working with major international development institutions and currently lives in Vancouver, Canada. She is passionate about volunteering, sustainable travel and has a soft spot for ethnic food.
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