Healthcare volunteers take a group photo with students during a medical outreach in Kenya

Your Last-Minute Ticket to Adventure: Volunteering Made Easy

 7 Insider Tips for Planning Your Dream Volunteer Trip ASAP

By Jen Southern | 21st May, 2024

Your next vacation is never far away, and if your calendar is looking a little empty, don’t panic!

It's never too late to turn things around and sidestep the fear of missing out with a life-changing volunteer abroad adventure, even if you have left it until pretty late in the game…

Don't be that person who’s stuck daydreaming while everyone else jets off and comes home with stories to tell. We've got loads of life-changing projects just waiting for you.

You can become a volunteer abroad helping endangered rhinos in Nepal or coaching kids' football in Ghana. The best part? You could be somewhere new within a week (although we’re not going to lie, there are a few things to consider first).

Here's a quick guide to get you prepped for those last-minute volunteer opportunities.

Projects Abroad volunteers add the final touches to a playground in Jamaica

1) Dream Big

Leaving it late doesn’t have to mean second-rate. Imagine yourself on a pristine beach in Fiji saving sharks, or deep in the Cambodian jungle working on public health schemes.

We have projects whatever your passion and values, so fire up your browser and start researching your options! 

Forget cookie-cutter programs – we offer a wide range of High School Specials and Flexi Trip Projects that cater to everything from wildlife conservation in Africa to teaching children in Asia. 

Find something that resonates. Return home from your trip brimming with stories of how you rescued baby sea turtles in Mexico or built a school in Nepal

Before you get too excited though, don't forget the admin… which leads us to our second big tip for organizing a last-minute volunteering experience…

2) Timing is everything

Is your passport ready to rock? Make sure you’ve got plenty of time left before it expires to avoid last-minute scrambles. Check, double-check, then check again. If you need a new one or a renewal, get on it as soon as you can.

If you are doing any of our projects, you’ll need a criminal record check too.

All volunteers need to provide a reference as well. If you're under 18, then you only need to provide a reference. This process can take a few weeks, so be sure to start this process as soon as you arrange your trip with us.

We can help you navigate the application, but if time is tight, other last-minute options might just fit the bill. Dive into wildlife projects and champion endangered species. 

Our summer volunteer programs abroad are perfect for those on a time crunch, and they'll still leave you with incredible memories and experiences.

Visa woes? We've got you covered there, too. Visa applications can be a real headache, but the world is full of countries that offer visas on arrival. 

Tango your way into adventure in Argentina, explore ancient temples and a new culture in Cambodia, or explore the Galapagos Islands

Jamaica, Kenya, Mexico, the Philippines, and Tanzania are all great options for low-hassle travel. No matter which country you choose, our in-house pre-departure team is here to answer your questions and guide you before arrival.

Projects Abroad staff taking a group photo during a community day in South Africa

3) Fly like an eagle (without breaking the bank)

Seriously, who needs the stress of endless flight searches? Scouring the web for last-minute deals can be a massive time suck.

This is why we recommend using trusted flight comparison tools like Google Flights or Skyscanner to get a quick sense of your options. 

Here's the thing – if you want to ditch the stress altogether, we do have something of a secret weapon up our sleeve, our amazing travel partner, STFly.

These flight ninjas have over 35 years of experience booking flights for volunteers and travelers worldwide. They know exactly how to find the best deals, so while you're busy prepping for your adventure, you can relax knowing they’ve got it all in hand. 

We pride ourselves on being one of the best volunteer abroad companies for a reason.

4) Budget like a boss

While you don't want to let a tight budget hold you back, there’s no point dreaming of palatial hotel suites when your bank balance has seen better days. 

Luckily, travel doesn’t have to be pricey to be valuable. We have loads of projects that will get you out and about seeing the world with change to spare. 

Set a budget and stick to it, because all our projects are all-inclusive, you won’t have to worry about any surprise expenses once you’ve paid for your project. Just flights, insurance, and visa(s) on top. 

Give your mind a well-deserved rest. Pick a project and relax, safe in the knowledge that all your accommodation, meals, and activities are taken care of. 

Projects Abroad volunteers measure the blood pressure of children in Sri Lanka

5) Health, safety, and other non-negotiables

Before you jet off on your epic adventure, a visit to your doctor or a travel clinic is a must do, not a nice-to-have. 

You’ll want to figure out what vaccinations or medications you need to stay healthy and happy on your trip. We know it sounds boring, but honestly, some vaccinations take weeks to kick in, so planning ahead is key!

Speaking of planning, if you're under 18, you'll need a parental consent form signed, sealed, and delivered to our inbox too. 

Minimize the hassle and avoid any crossed wires or last-minute hiccups by making sure you get your form signed well in advance of your departure date. 

Once you book with us, you’ll be assigned a Destination Expert whose job is to support you pre-departure. You’ll have a phone call with them to get an understanding of what you need to do, and you’ll be given access to ‘My Projects Abroad’ (My PA).

My PA is your personal online portal; the place to manage all of the forms and other things you may need to complete before you travel. 

6) Pay Day

For most of our projects, you'll pay a deposit when you apply, which is deducted from your total cost. Then, you just need to pay the outstanding balance three months before you travel. 

For example, if you were to book 12 months before you go, you’ve got nine months to pay in installments (or all at once). 

Here’s the low-down for last-minute adventures though — the final balance is due as soon as you apply, which is why budgeting like a boss is key. 

Think of it like this. The sooner you get your finances in order, the sooner you'll be on your way to unforgettable experiences (and serious bragging rights). 

So dust off your piggy bank, and spread the cost of your next trip by paying sooner.

Read Payments Made Easy for more information.

7) Breathe

It’s totally possible to embrace last-minute adventure travel. But if it doesn’t happen? Trust us, it’s not the end of the world. When life throws you curveballs, make lemonade (or something).

Don’t get yourself stressed out because you haven’t got anything planned. Some of the best adventures you’ll have can happen right on your doorstep. 

You can expand your horizons without leaving your home. If you really do want to get out there and see something special, then get in touch and get it sorted today.

And if you don’t… There’s always next summer.

With this list in mind, there’s nothing stopping you from going for it. Will we be seeing you this summer?

Ready to dive in? 

Contact a Project Expert today.

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