Senior Volunteers Make a Difference Through Voluntours

By: Jody Smith

If you're looking for something new and different in the way of travel, give some thought to taking a "voluntour". About.com said that voluntours are service learning tours which can enable you to help others when you're on the road. Don't worry about whether you will be able to find a reputable voluntour, there are national and international groups that can guide you. Organizations around the world provide the chance to hit the road on a voluntour. According to Women-on-the-road.com, more seniors, some in their 70s and higher, are looking for voluntours.

Seniors who want to do more than sightsee can be a great fit for this type of service learning tour. A voluntour can provide a rich experience for the senior who wants to make a difference for those less fortunate, and who wants to interact with cultures other than their own. You would live and work with people of a different culture, striving to improve their lives. Volunteers may teach adults or children to read. They might aid in constructing housing. They help in archaeological digs, labor in agricultural or marine improvements. And in many scenarios, nurturing and protecting children is an important part of volunteering.

For seniors who can afford to take time away for a few weeks or a month, volunteer travel can work well. The senior who can afford to support themselves while on the trip, and to contribute to its funding will nevertheless find financial benefit since meals and housing are taken care of. What this means will vary from one project to another. Sometimes the senior will live with a family, or sleep in a dorm, or camp out. Other times, the senior will have a room of their own in comfortable surroundings.

The idealistic senior is valuable for these projects but idealism should not distract you from the need to think long and hard, and to research carefully. Seniors need to consider whether or not they have the physical ability to do what's needed. Be realistic about the strengths and weaknesses you bring to the project. Do you have strengths that will make a difference? Are your weaknesses too limiting and will they present obstacles to the project?

Find out whether or not there is medical care available to you. Research medical insurance, as well as travel insurance, and make sure you have some before you head out.

Be very familiar with the stated goals of the project, and make certain that these goals are compatible with your own. After you've gotten to know all the information available through a website or representative for the voluntour, it's time to seek out a former volunteer or two and get some feedback from them.
 

Jody smith is a freelance writer for EmpowHER.com.

Sources:

Volunteer Travel

http://www.elderlyelder.com/volunteer-vacations.html

Volunteer Vacations for Seniors

http://www.ehow.com/list_6471064_volunteer-vacations-seniors.html

Senior Volunteering: When You're Young at Heart

http://www.women-on-the-road.com/senior-volunteering.html

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