Alternative Tourism: How to Find Cheap Destinations for Volunteering 

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There isn’t a better way to travel around the world with a purpose than by volunteering! Over the next few months we will be covering popular volunteering programs including European Solidarity Corps, Au Pair, Teach for India, and many more.  And to start off the topic of “Alternative Tourism”, let’s have a look at how one can reduce the costs associated with travel, food, and lodging.

Volunteering

How to Find Cheap Destinations for Volunteering

In this article we will touch upon several criteria which will help you to determine the country that works best for your potential volunteer service.

Visas

Depending on where you are from, different visa regulations will apply to volunteers. Something to keep in mind is how much you will spend on a visa itself as well as well as how much money you will need to provide sufficient funds for your visa to get approved. 

Here are some of the cheapest countries:

Latvia with at least 14€/day for the duration of a stay, the Netherlands with 34€/day, Poland with 22.59€/daily for all stays exceeding three days. Other cheap European destinations include non-EU countries such as Bulgaria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Georgia.

As for Asian countries, most nationals can visit Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand without a visa. Vietnam has 15-day visa-free entry for certain countries in addition to convenient e-visas and embassy-issued visas for longer stays. Visas on arrival are available for most nationalities in Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, and Timor-Leste. 

Low-cost Airlines

One of the ways to cut down on plane tickets is to fly with low cost airlines, and here are the most popular ones in Europe and Asia!

  • Norwegian Air 

Being the third largest low-cost carrier in Europe, Norwegian flies more than 400 routes to more than 130 destinations in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, Thailand, the Caribbean, and the U.S. The website provides a low-fare calendar to plan a trip if the dates are flexible. 

  • Wow Air

These Iceland-based low-cost airlines serve 30 destinations around Europe and North America including Toronto, San Francisco, Boston, and Washington, DC.

  • Ryanair

It is known for extremely low ticket prices while charging for everything from checked and carry-on bags to choosing seats.

  • Wizz Air

This Hungary-based low-cost carrier flies to smaller airports to ensure lower fares for passengers. 

  • AirAsia

In addition to booking tickets on the website, travelers can download a user-friendly app to book flights. The airlines offer the Asean Pass, which allows guests to lock down low base fares with credit, and redeem flight credit to travel across 10 Asean countries – Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and the Philippines.

  • Cebu Pacific: Flying Filipinos

“We go where Filipinos go” is Cebu Pacific’s unofficial motto. From three domestic destinations in the Philippines in 1996, Cebu Pacific has grown its operations to cover Southeast Asia and the rest of the world.

  • JetStar: Bridge between Asia and Australia

JetStar Asia connects Australia with over 20 stops across Asia/Australia – Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam); along with stops in India, Japan, New Zealand, and China. JetStar Pacific operates as Vietnam’s most popular low-cost domestic carrier.

Cost of living

A good resource to determine the relative cost of living in certain countries is Numbeo. This website allows users to compare countries based on cost of living, property prices, crime, healthcare, pollution, traffic, quality of life, and travel. 

The platform also provides numerical values for typical meal prices. Thus, one will only spend $1.35 on a meal in Sri Lanka and $26.35 in Switzerland. 

The “cost of living” will allow you to choose a specific country and a city or compare two countries and get a breakdown of most popular items such as public transport prices, restaurant food, market food, utilities, and rent. 

Photo: Shutterstock / edit: Martina Advaney

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