Voluntouring FAQ

Frequently asked questions – Voluntouring.org

volunteer programs, volunteer opportunities, voluntouring, voluntourism, volunteering abroad
What is Voluntouring.org?
Voluntouring is a free HOST LIST and an online magazine about
alternative and meaningful ways of travelling.

Its name is composed by the terms volunteer + tour and it means exactly what it sounds: to tour and volunteer around the world, wherever is needed.

Our interpretation of “Voluntouring” can be resumed by this sentence:
You travel, you help the locals and you get food and accommodation in exchange!
Voluntouring is provided primarily as a cultural exchange for all-age travellers who would like the opportunity during their travels abroad, to stay with local people and gain practical experience.
In the typical arrangement, the voluntourist helps an average of 4/5 hours per day and receives free accommodation and meals for their efforts. However, this is not always the case as it can also depend on the geopolitical circumstances (in developing countries you might be asked to contribute to the food and other domestic expenses).
Definition of volunteering
According to the European Youth Forum, an activity is ‘voluntary’ only if it is:
  • undertaken on its own initiative and involves a commitment of time and energy to carry out actions in favour of others and of society as a whole,
  • unpaid (although reimbursement of expenses directly related to the activity is foreseen),
  • for a non-profit-making cause and is mainly carried out within a non-governmental organization and is therefore not motivated by the material or financial benefits,
  • not used to replace a paid job.

  • How can I become a volunteer?
You don’t have to do anything in particular, neither subscribe nor pay.
You just have to scroll down the host list, read the announcements that most interest you. If you find a volunteering opportunity that you like, you can use the contact details section. Each volunteer announcement has a contact details section at the end of the post. Use it to get in touch with the hosts.
  • What is a HOST LIST?
A host list is basically a list of volunteering opportunities or volunteering announcements.
  • Where is the host list?
All of this website is basically aย  volunteering opportunity database. You can browse this website or use the Search Bar for quick research. Click here to learn more: how it works page.
  • Where is the search bar?
There are two search bars. One is at the top of this page, in the head banner. The other one is on the right column of the screen.
  • Do I get paid for volunteering?
No, usually you don’t get paid. See the definition of “volunteering” above. Also, keep in mind that:
Each volunteering opportunity is different and the specific information has to be asked to the host, which is the author of the announcement/volunteer request.
  • What about Visa and invitation letters? Can hosts provide it?
A tourist Visa is often sufficient but not in all of the countries. See this page for more information (page under construction).
Be aware that our website does not assist with VISAs. Also, hosts are usually not able to provide Visa, nor invitation letters.ย  On this page, however, you might find organizations and hosts that could help with it.
It is your responsibility to arrange your own trip. Please, consult the embassy website of the country you want to visit before considering volunteering. This is, for example, a section of the Immigration Rules in the U.K.ย  Appendix V (link is external), and the full set of rules is here Immigration Rules (link is external).
If you are simply trying to use “volunteering” to move to other countries for free, this is, unfortunately, not the right website for you.
If you will ask for invitation letters or VISA support you will be most likely ignored by the organizations/hosts and banned from our groups and forum as this is seen as an attempt to go abroad for work/immigration purposes.
  • Is it free, for real?
This HOST LIST is free to browse. You don’t have to subscribe or pay to have access to the list of information and the contact details.
The Volunteering experiences on this website, however, may not always be free. Keep in mind that:
  • hosts don’t pay volunteers!
  • Some hosts/organizations may offer pocket money;
  • Only a few hosts may offer regular employment contract;
  • Most hosts provide food and accommodation for free; some don’t.
  • in certain developing areas of the world, volunteers may be asked to contribute to food and accommodation by paying a daily or monthly fee.

So yes, our database of volunteering opportunities around the world is FREE to browse, and always will be. If you appreciate this service, please spread the word, or consider the possibility to cheer us with a small donation. You could even help us by writing posts/announcements. This helps to expand our database. Under certain conditions, we can provide payment for every new host announcement listed or article-story written. Feel free to learn more about it, visit this section, or write us an e-mail.

  • Insurance
Is it included in the experience?
In most cases, insurance is NOT offered in the experience. Only a few organizations are able to provide free insurance.
If you are an independent traveller, we recommend you to check this insurance company. It is the cheapest insurance around the world and covers all aspects of volunteering and travelling.
Is it obligatory?

No, except in a few cases. For this specific information, it is better to ask the host/organization you are in contact with.

  • How do you ethically filter abusive hosts/business owners?
For each host, we do make an investigation.
If an organization wants to appear on our website, they have to provide valid documentation and other proofs of legitimacy.
If it is a host family or a farm, we ask for as many references as possible (Facebook, Website, LinkedIn, Instagram, youtube videos, and others).
For more info read the DISCLAIMER
  • Why isn’t there a reference system?

Relying solely on references to determine trustworthiness can be problematic as reference systems are often susceptible to abuse. They can create conflicts and retaliation between hosts and volunteers. Additionally, experiences are subjective, meaning what may be a positive experience for one person might not be the same for another. However, we have implemented a comment section at the end of each volunteer announcement where volunteers can share their experiences. Note that we do not publish offensive, aggressive, or denigratory comments. Furthermore, we take every report of abuse or negative experiences seriously and conduct thorough investigations. As a result, we have already removed certain announcements following reports of abuse by travel volunteers.

In order to prevent abuse and ensure positive experiences, we strive to provide the following:

  • Full disclosure of the host profile and information.
  • Transparency and a clear agreement outlining expectations.

Most importantly, it is crucial that volunteers have a phone call or Skype conversation with the hosts or organizations before visiting them. This allows for alignment of values between both parties. We highly value your feedback and suggestions regarding this matter. If you come across any host descriptions that appear suspicious or abusive, please notify us immediately. Your cooperation is essential in maintaining a safe and positive environment.

For more info read our DISCLAIMER

  • How many hours of help (and how many days per week)?
We think a good deal is 25 hours of volunteering help per week. That is about 4-5 hours per day.ย However, the volunteering time request can vary from host to host and it depends on the type of work, the geography/environment, the season and the group mission.

If a host asks for more than 25 hours we will make further investigations; we do not tolerate the exploitation of volunteers and we will ban misbehaving hosts from our list.

  • What about misbehaving volunteers?

We recommend host families and host organizations to have a Skype call with the volunteers that they are going to accommodate; we advise them to accumulate as much info as possible about the volunteer philosophy, skills, lifestyles and expectations. If you are a volunteer when you write a letter to the host try to provide as much information as possible. Read the article โ€“how to write an introduction letter to the hostsโ€“.

Hosts are responsible for the people they receive at home. This is the same as any other host list.

  • What kind of volunteering opportunities can I find?

The spectrum of different volunteering activities around the world is big.

It goes from farming to teaching English, from housesitting to eco-building, from gardening to event managing, from website design to fundraising, from fundraising to animal rescue and pet sitting.

Voluntouring is an online listing of
  • organic farms,
  • non-organic farms,
  • farm stays,
  • homestays,
  • ranches,
  • castles
  • lodges,
  • camping
  • B&Bs,
  • backpackers hostels
  • eco-villages, intentional communities,
  • and even sailing boats
who invite helpers to stay with them, for short or long-term, in exchange for food and accommodation.
  • I don’t like this website. Do I have other options?

Of course, there are several valid alternatives to Voluntouring.org

Our favourite is the independent WWOOF organization (wwoof.org) a network of worldwide opportunities on organic farms.

Another awesome website for general volunteering abroad is Workaway.info.ย Both of these platforms/organizations require an annual paid subscription of about 30 euros.

  • How can I contact the organizations or families (the hosts)?

It’s very simple. At the end of each announcement look for the “CONTACT DETAILS” section. Use the contact information in that section to write the hosts.

Do not use the comment section (unless you want to comment). The hosts usually don’t read the comment section.

  • I have read that some organizations charge volunteers a fee. How come?

Hosts in developing countries cannot always afford to keep you, and therefore they sometimes request a small donation towards food and accommodation.

If this is not acceptable to you, search for other volunteering opportunities.ย  For example, go to the free volunteering opportunity section.

  • Why do you run Ads through your website?

We run ads so that we can make Voluntouring “free”. Currently, we don’t receive any economic support from any institutions, and the ads are barely enough for the cost of the server and other yearly expenses. We use the extra income, coming from donations, to improve our platform, our online services, and fundraising selected NGOs. We encourage you to donate, not necessarily to us, but to the humanitarian organizations that are listed on our database (by contacting them privately). By helping them you are also helping us!

Thank you.

  • If you have other questions don’t hesitate to write to us: voluntouring.freelist@gmail.com

Are you a host?ย Read the FAQ for hosts.

Didn’t find your question?ย Write us an e-mail

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