Map Of Mali

If your dream is to travel the world, you've probably wondered how it's possible to afford such an extravagant adventure. It may seem impossible to travel for more than a few weeks due to all of the plane tickets and hotel costs. Not to mention meals, souvenirs and entertainment. However, if you're willing to cut back on some of these luxuries, there is a much simpler option that is gaining popularity amongst world travelers. That option is to volunteer abroad.

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As we just mentioned, traveling the world is so difficult because of all the costs that add up. What if there was a way you could include all of your meals and lodging together, and somehow get a long-term discount? If you volunteer abroad, you can.

What do you mean when you say volunteer abroad?

Volunteering abroad is a term used when talking about volunteer organizations that accept volunteers from around the world. These organizations provide various programs for their volunteers to choose from. Some of these programs might include construction projects, environmental conservation, medical aid, disaster relief, or teaching.

Discounts for staying longer

When it comes to cost, volunteering abroad is cheap. And usually the longer you volunteer for, the cheaper the cost will be from week to week. Try to find a program that is all-inclusive. This makes it easier on you since the organization will provide accommodations, meals and some travel costs in their program fees. Some programs even offer free Wi-Fi at their volunteer centers!

Meals are usually included

You heard correctly most meals are included when you volunteer abroad. Not to mention a lot of those meals are home cooked and delicious! Either your homestay family or the volunteer staff cooks these meals. The best part is this food is almost always locally sources so you're eating fresh while experiencing authentic local cuisine.

You're staying with a host family and other volunteers

This affords you the opportunity to make friends and really experience the culture. You might even learn some of the language this way!

Volunteering takes place in developing countries where things are cheaper

You'd be living like a local and not paying tourist prices. This will save you a ton of money, especially if you are staying long term. We'll go over some examples of long and short term volunteer experiences in the costs section below.

What does it cost to volunteer abroad?

This depends completely on what program you choose to volunteer abroad with. There are many organizations out there, so choosing the right one is crucial. Let's use Build Abroad programs as an example since they are some of the most affordable out there today. Build Abroad is a world renowned construction volunteer organization that has programs around the globe.

Costa Rica

Build Abroad's Costa Rica program is located in San Jose, the capital of the country. This is a more urban setting. You will be staying with a local family while working on community projects and possibly housing renovations. San Jose is close to a Cloud Forest or rainforest, which is great for exploring on weekends. It is also about 4 hours away from the ocean and other rainforests.

1 Week – $685
2 Weeks – $1, 095 (cost per week: $547)
3 Weeks – $1, 475 (cost per week: $491)
4 Weeks – $1, 760 (cost per week: $440)
2 Months – $2, 835 (cost per week: $354)

(Even longer options are available on the Build Abroad website)


Build Abroad's Guatemala program is located in La Antigua. Here you will also e staying with a local family while you work on either a school or local community buildings. La Antigua is a charming mountain town. Volunteers are able to explore the town after volunteering for the day. There are also beaches within driving distance.
1 Week – $625
2 Weeks – $960 (cost per week: $480)
3 Weeks – $1, 260 (cost per week: $420)
4 Weeks – $1, 510 (cost per week: $377)
2 Months – $2, 500 (cost per week: $312)

(Even longer options are available on the Build Abroad website)


Build Abroad's Peru program is headquartered in Cusco. Cusco is a small rural town a few hours southeast of Lima. As a volunteer here, you would be staying with a local host family and working on a school or a community building. Cusco is in the mountains and is very close to the famous Machu Picchu. Many volunteers visit Machu Picchu to see the ruins and hike the Inca Trail. What fun!
1 Week – $625
2 Weeks – $960 (cost per week: $480)
3 Weeks – $1, 260 (cost per week: $420)
4 Weeks – $1, 510 (cost per week: $377)
2 Months – $2, 500 (cost per week: $312)

(Even longer options are available on the Build Abroad website)


Build Abroad's Thailand program is located in rural Sing Buri, about an hour and a half outside of Bangkok. This program is a little different because volunteers all stay together on a volunteer campus. ? The campus itself is quite nice, complete with gardens, areas for yoga and meditation, and a common area for eating and socializing. Your work in Thailand will most likely consist of building schools or working with locals to build clay houses for meditation purposes.
1 Week – $510
2 Weeks – $740 (cost per week: $370)
3 Weeks – $970 (cost per week: $323)
4 Weeks – $1, 200 (cost per week: $300)
2 Months – $2, 350 (cost per week: $293)

(Even longer options are available on the Build Abroad website)

Pretty cheap right? Are you ready to volunteer abroad? You should be! It's one of the most affordable ways to see the world.

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