Volunteer Vacation: Vacations for a Better World

Get more from your vacation with these volunteer programs abroad.


A vacationer helps with a Global Volunteers construction project in Ghana.

Photo Courtesy Global Volunteers

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Restoration and renovation buffs can make a difference by volunteering to help build homes and community facilities. Sign up for a program (fee required) and lend a helping hand while sharing culture with people worldwide.

British Trust for Conservation Volunteers: Restores Italian villas and churches. Inexpensive programs in Great Britain focus on clearing trails, hedge laying, or planting trees. 

Cultural Restoration Tourism Project: Help reconstruct a Buddhist temple in rural Mongolia. Participants may practice with monks there. (415) 563-7221.

Global Volunteers: One- to three-week projects include village upgrades in Costa Rica, daycare construction in Ecuador, or furniture building in Jamaica. (800) 487-1074.

Habitat for Humanity: Help build affordable housing worldwide, from simple concrete-block houses in Honduras to affordable duplexes in Northern Ireland. (800) 422-4828.

La Sabranenque: Ongoing restoration of towns and villages in Provence, France, and Altamura, Italy. Local artisans teach techniques from tiling to dry-stone walling. On-site chef is a major perk. (716) 836-8698.

Volunteers for Peace: Service projects in more than ninety countries, from repairing medieval huts in the Czech Republic to painting a children’s home in Malawi. (802) 259-2759.

World Endeavors: Build schools, hospitals, or community centers in places such as Nepal. (612) 729-3400.