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Budget Travel Tidbits for a Volunteer


Just because you have decided to dedicate your time and energy to service work, doesn’t mean you have to let go of that desire to explore the world.  In fact, volunteering can often open new doors to travel opportunities.  Here are a few tips we gathered from seasoned travelers in our office to keep your adventures well within your stipends.

1) Week days are a traveler’s best option.
Plane tickets can be considerably cheaper if you fly in the middle of the week, like on a Monday or Tuesday.  Tuesdays around six-weeks out from departure (if you can manage it) are also the best days to purchase tickets.

2) Eat like the locals.
Restaurants are nice, but they can really rack up a check.  Take a walk down a busy street and see where the locals are taking their meals.  Street-side carts and cafes are great ready-made options.  Grocery stores and markets not only keep to your budget, but allow you to see what kind of foods are being prepared in the local homes.

3) Skip the tours and be resourceful.
For-profit tour agencies will try to grab you and pull you into their tour group quicker than you can hail a cab.  Invent your own tour!  Do your research and always keep an eye out for recommended places to visit.  Instead of that guided hike up a mountain, take the unbeaten path.  Museums in the area may have free admission days.

4) Look for alternative housing.
Hotels are no different than those restaurants.  They’ll charge you for everything at a very expensive price.  Try to wait until you arrive at your destination to find accommodations.  Hostels are a good option and locals might point you in the direction of a cheap room.

5) Find Travel Buddies.
Traveling with other people may not be the easier thing to do, but finding friends, other volunteers or missioners, to travel with can help bring your travel cost down.  Splitting a tab two or three ways can really help your budget.

6) Walk.
It’s cheap, you get great exercise, and you will see, smell, and feel so much more than if you were in a car.  And who doesn’t want to show off those tanned muscles when you return home!

Do you have any travel tips for the working volunteer or missioner?  Add your comment below!

We prepare and support lay Catholics for two-year international, one-year domestic and 1-2 week short-term mission service opportunities in solidarity with impoverished and marginalized communities across the globe.

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