Category Archives: Tips for Volunteering Abroad

Book Review: The 100 Best Volunteer Vacations To Enrich Your Life

By | Book Review, Tips for Volunteering Abroad | No Comments

This post marks a new series of book reviews for the blog. There are a variety of books related to international volunteering and voluntourism. By providing a summary and review my hope is to facilitate potential volunteers in their search for resources and programs to fit their needs.

“The 100 Best Volunteer Vacations To Enrich Your Life” by Pam Grout was published in 2009 by National Geographic. The book is divided into seven chapters representing world regions. In each chapter there are detailed summaries of projects from a variety of organizations. The summaries provide background information on the volunteer sending organization as well details about the activities and highlights of the featured program.

“Volunteer Vacations” is fun to flip through for those who, like me, like to imagine all the places they might go. I would recommend this for someone just starting to think about taking a volunteer vacation because it opens to the reader the many possibilities when choosing a volunteer program. For example as a volunteer you can get in the water to observe and record great white sharks with Greenforce or work on community projects with the marginalized Roma people (Gypsies) with Globe Aware. The possibilities are endless and this book just might help you narrow it all down or make your list of  places to visit even longer.

Can You Deduct a Volunteer Trip?

By | Genevieve Brown, IVPA Executive Director, Tips for Volunteering Abroad | No Comments

A question many people ask when they are thinking of volunteering abroad is “Can I deduct my volunteer trip?” And the two most common answers I give are…1. “It depends.” and 2. “Consult a tax professional”.

That being said there are provisions that allow an international volunteers to deduct the costs of volunteering abroad. recently posted some of the issues of such a deduction and I thought they summarized the details well.  You can find more here.

In the article they made sure to point out that just as if you were going to deduct a donation of physical goods or money, your time must be given to qualified organization. Also the purpose of the trip must be for charity work not a vacation that means keeping track of how your time is spent. (One day of service and five days spent on the beach probably wouldn’t qualify.)Some other useful tips included keeping receipts and careful track of expenses because you will need to itemize your deductions.

These are useful tips so if you are thinking about deducting the cost of a voluntourism trip or volunteer vacation and make sure to do your research before hand to see if you qualify – answers 1 and 2 still apply.

Top Travel Destinations for Volunteering Abroad

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More and more Americans from all ages and backgrounds are interested in volunteering internationally. In fact, in a recent poll done by UC San Diego, 40% of the 1,400 adults surveyed indicated that they were willing to spend a few weeks volunteering abroad.  The top 5 destinations included:

  1. Africa
  2. East Asia
  3. South America
  4. (tie) Mexico
  5. (tie) Western Europe

For the full article click here

Volunteer Abroad Through IVPA’s Member Programs

By | Genevieve Brown, IVPA Executive Director, Tips for Volunteering Abroad | No Comments

Looking to go abroad this year and plan on incorporating service into you travels? IVPA Members offer programs in over 65 countries around the world.  From island nations in the South Pacific to the plains of Africa there are limitless possibilities to serve.

As potential volunteers begin their search for the right program many wonder “how do I know if an organization is legit?”. IVPA members have been vetted and commit to upholding 35 important best practices in the field of international volunteering.

Check out IVPA members and their programs at You can also search programs here by country, length or stay and/or type of service. Make the goal now to explore, make connections and do some good.