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Cheap Trips: Volunteering & Traveling Abroad When Everything is Getting Expensive

Nick Callos
Written By
By Nick Callos
United Nations volunteer

How expensive is everything getting these days?

According to a recent report from CNBC, the price of most goods and services have increased substantially since 2021. 

  • Gasoline is 18% more expensive in late 2022 than in 2021
  • Eggs are 43% more expensive
  • Airline fares are 43% more expensive
  • Public transportation is 28% more expensive
  • Shelter is 7% more expensive

Needless to say, this inflation, or sharp rise in prices, has made traveling and volunteering abroad more expensive. Everything from plane tickets to hotel fees are much higher than before. 

In this article, we thought it would be helpful to provide tips and advice for saving money on your volunteer trip overseas. This way, you can volunteer abroad and do good without breaking the bank. 

Tip #1: Volunteer or travel abroad to countries where prices aren’t rising fast

Whether you live in the United States, Australia or the United Kingdom, prices are rising fast. However, there are some countries that are not experiencing inflation. In many ways, these destinations are actually just as cheap to visit as before inflation became an issue.

According to Trading Economics, these countries have relatively low inflation rates, meaning that prices aren’t really increasing any more than normal. 

Since inflation is low in such countries, volunteering abroad there will be about as affordable as before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Program Suggestion

Earn your TEFL certificate and teach English abroad with ITA

Teach English in Japan

Organization: International TEFL Academy (ITA), a world-renowned organization that’s trained more than 40,000 ESL teachers

Cost: TEFL courses are $1,399+

Salary: $2000 – $3000+ per month salary

The best thing about teaching abroad is that you can earn money while helping others and experiencing life in another country. Through the International TEFL Academy, the leading provider of TEFL certification courses, you can obtain TEFL certification and then receive job placement assistance in Japan, a country with low inflation right now. After completing TEFL certification with ITA, the organization will help you find a paid teaching job in Tokyo, Kobe, Osaka or another city. How amazing is that?

Interested? Apply here

Tip #2: Apply for scholarships and grants

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of volunteer scholarships and grants out there. Receiving a scholarship or grant can make volunteering abroad much more affordable. 

The key is knowing where to look for them. At Volunteer Forever, we’ve compiled a list of 200+ volunteer abroad and study abroad scholarships and grants. Look through the article and see which scholarships and grants look like a good fit for you. 

Scholarship Program Suggestion

volunteer abroad with GoEco

GoEco Volunteer Scholarship

Organization: GoEco, an award-winning volunteer organization with 150+ programs across 40 countries

Award: Enough cover the full costs of a variety of programs hosted by GoEco

GoEco’s scholarship program is great because it covers the full costs of numerous GoEco programs, including their School Building and Renovation program in Ethiopia and their Sustainable Agriculture program in Kenya

Interested? Apply here!

Tip #3: Go where the US Dollar is strong

The US dollar’s position against many currencies has gained strength over the last year. For those who live in the USA or those that have US dollar savings, that means going abroad won’t be as expensive as you thought. That’s because the exchange rate will work more in your favor.

According to a Washington Post report, the US dollar has gained 10% or more against many currencies, including: 

  • Euro
  • British Pound
  • Japanese Yen
  • Thai Baht

For instance, volunteering in Europe may make sense now. 1 US dollar equaled about 1.2 Euros in 2021, and now they’re about even. 

Program Suggestion

25 Best Places to Study Abroad: 10 Countries and 25 Program Destinations - Spain

Marine & Coast Conservation in Spain

Organization: Volunteering Solutions

Cost: $1182 for 2 weeks; $2982 for 8 weeks

Journey to Valencia, a gorgeous city along the coast that’s known for scenic beauty, arts and culture. This program will show you how to collect data for environmental research, as well as how to use that research to implement smart conservation strategies. During this project, you’ll have a variety of amazing duties: 

  • Monitor dolphins, whales and seabirds
  • Conduct surveys on coastal flora and fauna
  • Help improve the wetlands ecosystem 

Your dollar will go further in Valencia, given the current exchange rate between the USD and Euro. This will make your volunteering abroad experience more affordable overall. 

Interested? Apply here!

Tip #4: Work abroad while you travel and live overseas

Work abroad programs can make traveling overseas affordable. You can even save money as you live in other countries. It’s a great way to offset rising costs in this era of inflation. 

At Volunteer Forever, we’ve compiled an article about work abroad programs and long-term volunteer work. We also recommend teaching English abroad as a way to work and travel abroad, as ESL teachers are always in need around the globe. 

Program Suggestion

teach English abroad with Maximo Nivel

Teach English in Costa Rica

Organization: Maximo Nivel, a leading volunteer travel organization in Latin America

Cost: From $1,015 for 3 weeks

We recommend this  program because you can use it as a springboard to find long-term teaching work in Costa Rica. Plus, the volunteer teaching experience is a great way to help underprivileged children learn an important second language, while boosting your resume. You also get to experience life in bustling San Jose or majestic Manuel Antonio. Maximo Nivel, who hosts the program, is a great organization, with affordable fees and caring management. They’ll help you find more long-term ESL teaching work after you complete your volunteer assignment. 

Interested? Apply here!

Making your volunteer or travel abroad experience affordable

We hope you found these tips helpful. Even in the era of expensive prices, you can find ways to make your volunteer abroad trip affordable. This includes traditional cost-saving and budgeting strategies, such as:

  • Traveling during non-peak season
  • Limiting expenses on unnecessary items
  • Staying in hostels and guesthouses instead of hotels
  • Using miles or points to pay for airfare and lodging
  • Visiting free or low-cost sites and attractions

Ultimately, the right preparation, budget and discipline can help make your trip more affordable. Utilize the tips we provided in this article, and you’ll find a program that fits your interests and budget. And in no time, you’ll be off on the volunteer abroad trip of a lifetime.