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Volunteering while getting away from your regular day-to-day routine can be a great way to see the world while doing something positive such as benefiting deprived communities or helping the planet. Working might not be everyone’s idea of a relaxing holiday but there are plenty of choices about the type of volunteering one can do, how much work’s involved and where it’s taken.
Here are some ‘doing good’ holiday ideas for you!
This two-week holiday sends volunteers to the heart of the Amazon rainforest to help with research and to witness first-hand the negative impact humans have on one of the most diverse eco-systems on the planet.
Training is given on the work that the organisation is doing to protect this area of the Amazon – and then the hard work starts. Work involves recording endangered species such as the Blue-headed Macaw or noting sightings of reptiles and amphibians – but it can mean long hours and working a six-day week.
Accommodation is an open-air lodge overlooking the rainforest and three meals are provided each day. There’s also the chance to go on excursions in the local area including Machu Picchu.
If this isnt quite what you’re looking for podvolunteer offer a wide range of other holidays from coral reef conservation in Belize to community building projects in Magagascar. Find the full list here.
Responsible Travel offer families the chance to get involved in any number of worthy projects in the four corners of the globe, but perhaps the stand-out package is the opportunity to spend time with the elephants and their Mahout, bonding with the gentle giants of the animal kingdom.
On this seven-day adventure, volunteers spend time and build a relationship with one elephant, learn their habits, how to command them and even learn how to ride one. With the working day finishing by mid-afternoon there’s also plenty of time to hit the beach and relax. Accommodation is a modern bedroom in the volunteers’ house.
Thailand isn’t the only place you can volunteer with Elephants, Responsible Travel also offer trips to other counties such as Nambia and Sri Lanka. See the whole list.
If you fancy something cheaper or perhaps you’re unable to commit to a longer holiday, you could always try one of the numerous volunteer holiday programmes here in the UK.
The National Trust also has UK volunteering holidays that cater for families.
Fancy helping behind the scenes in one of their houses, conserving landscapes or digging at a real archaeological site? They’ve got a varied programme of working holidays to suit every interest and ability.
A week’s stay in Slindon Bunkhouse in Brighton offers the chance to look after the archaeology and wildlife of Newtimber Hill, a stunning chalk downland area in Britains newest National Park. A mixture of ancient woodland and downland, this is a very important site for nature conservation. It is also one of the more secluded and peaceful locations on the South Downs, with splendid views across the Weald of Sussex.
During the stay you and your family will help to erect essential stock fencing, maintain walking paths and perhaps enjoy a raging fire as scrub cleared from sensitive areas of grassland is burned. You will be taken on a guided walk to explain how your work will directly contribute towards conservation in the area.
National Trust have a whole range of volunteering holidays in the UK, use their search tool to find the right one for you.