Traveling alone can be an enlightening experience: it encourages you to engage more with your surroundings and gives you more freedom to dive into the culture of the place you’re visiting. You also have greater control over your itinerary and have the chance to make lasting connections with locals and fellow travelers.
When you return home, you may find that your solo adventure has taught you a lot about yourself as well as the places you visited. A solo trip can absolutely make for an incredible, unforgettable experience. A great way to go on a solo adventure is to combine volunteering with travel. At Volunteer Forever, we believe this is one of the best ways to truly immerse yourself in a place – by lending a hand to community-based initiatives, you can learn about local solutions to local issues, meet amazing people working toward a common goal, and explore awesome destinations in-depth.
So, let’s take a look at a few programs that offer impactful excursions for those traveling alone!
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Operating in more than 40 destinations, International Volunteer HQ has sent more than 93,000 volunteers and travelers abroad since opening their doors in 2007. Whether you want to teach English in China or explore Mayan culture in Guatemala, IVHQ has an affordable, high-quality program to suit you.
For solo travel adventures, here are just a few of their many great options:
- Environmental Scuba Diving in Portugal: Head to the coast of Portugal in Cascais and help protect the marine ecosystem by assisting with underwater cleanups. Project fees begin at $375 for one week.
- Turtle Conservation in Bali: Visit the small island of Nusa Penida and assist with sea turtle conservation efforts, which include beach cleanups and community outreach. You also get to care for the turtles directly. Fees start at $295 for one week.
- Surf, Skate, and Swim in South Africa: Work in an after-school program for disadvantaged Cape Town youth. Teach them valuable life lessons and teamwork through skating, surfing, and swimming activities and classes. Fees start at $265 for one week.
When it comes to impactful adventures for traveling alone, look no further than Plan My Gap Year. This organization has programs in 17 countries and has incredible Encounter projects for solo travelers looking to country-hop.
For example, PMGY’s Real Africa Encounter gives you the amazing opportunity to spend 12 weeks traveling and participating in volunteer programs in Ghana, Tanzania, and South Africa. The total cost is $2,694.
Plan My Gap Year also has a Real South America Encounter, which takes you to Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Peru. See the Galapagos Islands, Machu Picchu, and more as you help the communities that you visit. The total cost is $2,904 for 12 weeks.
Another solo travel program to check out is Plan My Gap Year’s Real Asia Encounter. Experience the sites and natural beauty of India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka in one fascinating 12-week excursion. Fees are $2,529 for the whole program.
If you’re searching for a solo travel adventure in Latin America, Maximo Nivel is an organization that’s known for their top-notch, reasonably-priced volunteer programs – as well as internships, TEFL certification and English teaching placements, Spanish immersion programs, and study abroad adventures – in the region. They’ve been around since 2003 operating all programs locally, and have a great reputation – in fact, they are the highest-rated provider here on Volunteer Forever.
One of the many amazing travel opportunities offered by Maximo Nivel is their gap year program. Care for children in Costa Rica, assist with sea turtle conservation in Guatemala, work at a dog shelter in Peru, and more to make the most of your gap year experience. Prices vary based on destination and length of stay.
Maximo Nivel’s Yoga Instructor Certification gives you a great opportunity to travel and pick up a skill that could earn you money and improve your emotional and mental well-being – explore beautiful destinations and inspire a healthy lifestyle!
Another trip you can take is Maximo Nivel’s Spanish immersion program in Costa Rica, Peru, or Guatemala. Fees begin at just $55 for one hour of private class each day per week. Learn a second language, meet amazing people, and immerse yourself in Latin American culture!
Love Volunteers opened in 2009 and has quickly become one of the most trusted names in volunteering thanks to their transparency, commitment to building meaningful programs, and affordability. They have all sorts of unique options for solo travelers – check out these two to get started:
- Volunteer and Travel in Ho Chi Minh City: Improve the lives of disadvantaged youth and vulnerable elderly people through various volunteer initiatives. Explore the bustling city and surrounding nature during your free time (from $959 for two weeks).
- Summer Travel and Volunteer in India: Head to northern India, where you can educate underprivileged youth, teaching them English and other skills needed to succeed in the future. Enable intercultural exchange and immerse yourself in cities like Delhi and Jaipur (from $1,209 for three weeks).
In terms of scope, few organizations compare to Projects Abroad. Around since 1992, they send more than 10,000 travelers abroad each year on impactful volunteer programs and internships. For solo travel adventures, they have many programs to compare, such as:
- Global Gap Year: This is a one-of-a-kind trip. Start in Ghana, then go to South Africa, Peru, Nepal, and Thailand. This 27-week program is the perfect choice for those taking a year off that want a far-ranging international experience. In each country, you’ll volunteer in programs that tackle important local issues. The all-inclusive program fee is $29,995.
- Archaeology in Romania: Help with excavation and renovation at historical sites in Romania, and gain a better understanding of the country’s ancient history. Prices start from $2,970 for one week.
- Coaching Rugby in Samoa: Train local rugby players and teach them English – this program is non-stop action! Fees start at $2,565 for two weeks.
Founded in 2007, A Broader View aims to uplift communities in need throughout the world. They now have nearly 250 highly reputable programs, including some excellent impactful adventures for those traveling alone.
For instance, A Broader View’s Language and Cultural Immersion program provides you the chance to learn Spanish as you help out at a clinic or school. You can choose to go to Chile, Colombia, Honduras, or numerous other countries in Latin America (prices vary on length and location).
For those potentially exploring a career in the health field or firefighting, the Paramedic/Rescue program in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala is a wonderful choice. Your support will go a long way toward ensuring first responders can tackle emergencies more effectively. Prior EMT training/experience and proficient Spanish are required to attend this program. Program fees begin at $895 for one week.
Ready For Your Solo Adventure?
The programs and organizations listed here are great options if you plan to travel alone. They give you the opportunity to help out the local community, explore the culture, and have some fun. Why wait any longer?
Nick Callos · Writer
With a BA in English Literature & Writing from Boston College, Nick researches and writes about volunteer, intern, and teach abroad programs worldwide. He has studied abroad and taught English in Chengdu, China, and aims to help fellow travelers make a lasting impact on the communities they visit.