At Volunteer Voyages we understand that a trip such as this may represent a significant investment for you. That’s why we go out of our way to make it memorable and worth it!
PRICING: Each trip varies depending on the destination and project at hand. For some trips, we have specific sponsoring organizations that are willing to pay for a portion of the expenses which helps lower the overall costs. This may place some restrictions on the type of volunteers that can be included (ie: medically-trained volunteers) and that will be clearly stated in the project description.
INCLUDED IN THE TOTAL COST:
• Travel Arrangements
We make all travel arrangements for your trip start to finish.
• USA Air Travel
We are often able to negotiate group rates with the airlines we use to help keep the costs down. Unfortunately, because of our commitment to group rates, we are unable to accommodate requests to use your frequent flier miles.
• All Ground Transportation
While in our host country abroad, we will use vans, busses, taxis, or boats for transportation, depending on the size of the group. We select well-trained, safe, courteous drivers and make sure that the vehicles are the safest available.
The hotels we book are clean and safe. Most hotels have hot water but since that is not a universal feature in hotels in developing countries, we must be flexible and we will inform you ahead of time if this is not available.
• Group Meals
We are extremely careful about your food and beverages consumption. These elements are among the most crucial for your safety and enjoyment. Whenever possible we eat in restaurants that we have personally evaluated for food safety, sanitation, and service. We will also guide you through your menu choices if you desire, there are so many fantastic local dishes to be discovered. At the project work site, or when restaurants are not available, we train and hire local villagers to prepare our food under our supervision. In those instances we will shop for fresh food daily and savor the local flavors and styles. Meals that are eaten with the group are included but on any occasions when (if) you choose to dine alone or with a small portion of the group, you will be responsible for that particular meal’s costs.
Nothing limits your experience like not being able to communicate with your hosts! We will contact local English-speaking agencies such as schools, universities, or other groups, whenever possible, for an ample supply of interpreters. Usually we are able to find university students eager to hone their English skills. In addition to interpreting our conversations, these articulate young people often provide intercultural insights that can’t be gleaned from a simple phrase book.
After we complete the volunteer portion of the trip (first week), we offer an option to spend a significant portion of time visiting local (and some not-so-local) historical, cultural, and natural attractions for the second part of the trip (second week). Some exursions require entry fees to the park or attraction, which we will cover.
Guides can provide much more insight to the exhibits than we can imagine! We endeavor to hire experienced, English-speaking guides who have university training when they are available. We try to use only one guide for the entire trip so that we get to know their style and we build a relationship but sometimes we used more than one.
• Airport Taxes
Some airports outside of the US still add a departure or airport tax after the ticket is purchased. Here in the USA (and in most other countries now) the tax is built-in to the ticket costs so we usually don’t see it. In certain countries however, you must pay the tax before you are allowed to board the plane. We have this covered.
NOT INCLUDED IN THE TOTAL COST:
• International Air Fare
We are happy to do all of the flight arrangments for you but the cost of the trip does not include airfare.
• Alcoholic Beverages
We have no problem with you drinking alcohol responsibly. The quantity of drinks and costs of alcohol make it impossible for us to properly budget into our trips. Therefore, help yourself to a drink but be prepared to pay for it at the time of purchase. Cheers!
• Film or Camera Chips
This should not be a surprise, but we don’t want you to have to guess either. Please take lots of pictures! You will have a lot of memories to share.
If you want to bring some things back, and you really should, be sure to plan ahead. Most find that a few hundred US dollars is plenty for souvenirs, but your taste and pocketbook will be the final authority. There are many unique items for sale wherever we go, many are handmade! Remember to account for the amount of room you will have in your suitcase, and how much weight your trinkets will add to your overall luggage allotment.
As with our discussion about alcohol, some people are big snackers and some rarely take a nibble. Since this is another area with a huge variability potential, keep some pocket change handy for that irresistible treat (just not from a street vendor)!
Gratuities are confusing at best when abroad. Sometimes they’re included in the charges, sometimes not. Some things that we routinely tip for in the USA might not be elsewhere. We can help you figure out some general guidelines regarding the appropriate levels for tipping but you’ll need to make the ultimate decision. After all, you should be rewarding them for what they did for you, personally. Sometimes it may be appropriate for the group to collect money for a tip and present it as a lump sum.
• Personal Medications/Supplies
If you routinely take medications you will need to bring them along with appropriate documentation. We will also give you a list of recommended medications for specific reasons (such as altitude sickness prevention) that you can ask your doctor to prescribe. Those will be your responsibility, too.
We proudly accept Pay-Pal for your payment convenience. We also accept (and prefer) money orders and checks (made out to Volunteer Voyages, LLC), or cash if you live locally. In the case of a check payment, your trip will be considered “booked” after the check is cleared with your financial institution.
Each project has a specific timetable (listed on the page with the specific project) showing the latest dates of certain payments.
A US $500.00 deposit will hold your spot in a group to a specific destination/project until two weeks prior to departure when you need to pay the remaining balance of the cost of the trip. If you should be unable to participate, the deposit is refundable on a pro-rated basis, depending on how close to departure you notify us of your intention to withdraw.
- Final Payment
The cutoff date to participate is listed on the project description and is used to determine the latest date that we can accept your final payment, after which we cannot be sure that we can maintain room for you within the project parameters. Preparation and ticketing all take time and we want to be sure you have the best accommodations available.