These Voluntourism Trips are run by Serve The World Today, LLC (“Serve The World Today”), an independent company. The trips are not run by Hug It Forward and Hug It Forward is not liable for any loss, accident, injury or other incident that may arise on a trip. In consideration for the agreement of Serve The World Today to allow you to participate in a Voluntour, you hereby agree to the following terms and conditions:
- Disclosure: You understand and acknowledge that during the Voluntour in which you will participate, certain risks and dangers may arise, including, but not limited to, acts of God, the hazards of traveling in unsafe or politically unstable areas or under unsafe conditions, the dangers of civil disturbances, war, extortion, kidnapping, and terrorist activities, the forces of nature, dangers and risks inherent in volunteer activities in underdeveloped countries, dangers and risks of travel by bus, boat, automobile, train, ship, aircraft, or other means of conveyance, local law enforcement activity, and accident or illness in remote places without access to medical facilities, transportation, or means of rapid evacuation and assistance.
- Insurance: It is a condition of your participation in the Voluntour that you purchase travel insurance, which will protect you in the event of a trip being cancelled, or if you are unable to attend a trip because of illness, as well as protection from medical and other emergencies that may occur during a trip. This can be purchased via the vendor of your choice as long as it meets our minimum requirements, and you will be required to submit a copy of your policy to Serve The World Today prior to travel. Serve The World Today may provide hosts for VolunTours but does not guarantee any on site assistance with emergency medical or other needs. More info about travel insurance and our minimum requirements.
- Vaccinations: It is a condition of your participation in the Voluntour that you conduct your own due diligence on vaccinations. Neither Serve The World Today nor Hug It Forward can give you medical advice on vaccinations.
- Disclaimer: Serve The World Today and Hug It Forward shall not be responsible for any injuries, damages, or losses caused by or arising out of or in connection with any of the above risks and dangers or any other actions, omissions, or conditions outside Serve The World Today and Hug It Forward”s control.
- Release: YOU DO HEREBY EXPRESSLY ASSUME ALL OF THE RISKS AND DANGERS NOTED IN THE DISCLOSURE PARAGRAPH ABOVE, and YOU DO HEREBY EXPRESSLY AGREE TO FOREVER RELEASE, DISCHARGE AND HOLD SERVE THE WORLD TODAY AND HUG IT FORWARD and their agents, employees, officers, directors, associates, affiliated companies, guides, group leaders, and subcontractors HARMLESS against any and all liability, actions, causes of actions, suits, claims, and demands of any and every kind and nature whatsoever which you now have or which may hereafter arise out of or in connection with your trip or participation in any activities arranged by Serve The World Today. THE TERMS OF THIS AGREEMENT SHALL SERVE AS A COMPLETE RELEASE AND EXPRESS ASSUMPTION OF RISK for yourself, your heirs, assignees, administrators, and executor. YOU HAVE READ AND FULLY UNDERSTAND THE PROVISIONS AND THE LEGAL CONSEQUENCES OF THIS RELEASE AND ASSUMPTION OF RISK, AND YOU HEREBY AGREE TO ALL OF ITS CONDITIONS. SERVE THE WORLD TODAY RECOMMENDS THAT YOU HAVE YOUR ATTORNEY REVIEW THIS RELEASE PRIOR TO SIGNING IT.
- You must pay in full in order to reserve your place on a trip. We have limited space on each trip and we cannot hold a place for you if you have not paid.
- If you pay a non-refundable deposit to reserve your place on a trip, you commit to go on the trip. The balance must be paid in full by the agreed date, else you will lose your deposit. After paying a deposit to reserve your place on a trip, the deposit may only be returned if the trip is cancelled by Serve The World Today.
- If Serve The World Today determines that it is unsafe to go on a trip, for whatever reason, no refund will be offered: you will be given a credit and priority booking for another trip within 12 months. You will be responsible for any flight change fees if a trip is postponed for safety reasons.
- When accompanied by a legal guardian, children as young as 6 years old are permitted to come on the bottle school trip. If you would like to bring your child on a bottle school trip and they are under the age of 10 years old, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss further considerations. Accompanied minors are always welcome and pay the $995 price.
- Single, Double, Triple and Quadruple rooms are available at both hotels. Sharing a room may be necessary, but roommate requests are accepted. Families can request to room together.
- Private or shared transfer between Guatemala City airport (Airport code: GUA) and Antigua are included in the cost of your trip, if you arrive on the stated start and end dates of your trip. If you arrive or depart one or more days before or after the start or end dates of your trip, we can arrange transfers and hotels for you, and you will be responsible for the cost.
- If, due to rain or other extreme conditions, it is impossible to work on a bottle school site, the trip will still go ahead as scheduled and you will instead visit a community where a bottle school has already been built, where you will interact with children and the community.
- Minimum number of people required for this VolunTour to travel is 15. If fewer than 15 book this VolunTour, your trip may be cancelled. You will be notified if your trip is going to be cancelled.
- If you cancel your trip more than 30 days before departure, you will receive a 50% refund. This refund only applies to trips that have been paid in full, not to any deposit that may have been paid.
- If you cancel your trip less than 30 days before departure, you will receive no refund and no credit, as reservations for your trip will already have been made in Guatemala.
- You may transfer your booking to another trip, or to another person, on the following conditions:
- All transfer requests must be made by emailing Tina Adair at Rovia, her email is: email@example.com
- At the time of requesting a transfer, you must specify the trip you wish to transfer to, or the person you wish to transfer to.
- Transfers are only applicable to open bookable trips.
- If transferring the trip to another person, there will be a $50 name change fee.
- If transferring to a different trip, the following transfer fees will apply dependent on time remaining between the transfer request and your booked trip departure date:
- 3 months or more until your departure date: No charge
- 1-3 months until your departure date: $300
- 1-3 weeks until your departure date: $400
- Less than 1 week until your departure date: No transfers allowed
* All transfers are subject to availability and will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis
Preparing for volunteer travel is far different than getting ready for a typical vacation. You’ll likely be immersing yourself in a new culture while working side-by-side with locals to accomplish a common goal. And there’s a good chance you’ll be stepping outside your comfort zone.
But with some extra preparation, most people will have no problem embracing the exciting challenges of volunteer travel. In addition to the usual pre-trip to-do list that comes with traveling, here are a few additional points to consider before beginning your journey.
Research the area you will be visiting
Since you’ll likely be working closely with local residents during your trip, it’s helpful to have some knowledge of the culture you’ll be experiencing before you arrive. Learn a few basic phrases in their language and do some research about local customs and the history of the area.
Be aware of any social taboos in the country you’re traveling to. For example, Guatemalan culture generally has more conservative dress standards. Women in particular should avoid revealing tops and stick to wearing T-shirts while working in the villages. When in doubt, ask a staff member.
Make sure you understand what type of physical environment you’ll be visiting as well. This is especially important when considering which, if any, vaccinations to get before traveling. Let your physician know exactly what part of the country you will be staying in when you discuss your options for vaccines. If you live in the U.S., visit the Centers for Disease Control casino online and Prevention’s website to find a travel clinic near you.
Bring what you need
This also requires some research about the environment and weather online casino you’ll be experiencing, especially when it comes to clothing. You must also consider the type of volunteer work you will be doing and what kind of supplies or tools will be provided to you once you arrive.
Don’t worry – no one expects you to pack a shovel. However, you should bring things that will ensure you’re comfortable during the trip. Hug It Forward encourages people building bottle schools to bring a sunhat, waterproof jacket, ear plugs and thick socks. You can find a more detailed list of what to bring here.
Be prepared mentally
Voluntourism can be emotionally draining for some people. Depending on your trip, you might witness crippling poverty in a Third World Country or the impact of pollution on a once-pristine environment. Make sure you have the necessary skills to process these experiences in a healthy way. You may want to find an outlet, like meditating or writing.
And remember, these tough situations are exactly why you decided to volunteer in the first place. You’re there to make a difference.
As a voluntourist, you can help hundreds — maybe even thousands – of less fortunate people in developing countries through your altruistic efforts.
And you’ll also be helping yourself.
Although the desire to make the world a better place draws most people to voluntourism, research shows there are some significant health benefits linked to both travel and volunteering that shouldn’t be overlooked.
The stress-melting advantages of holidays have been well documented over the past decade, so you probably won’t be shocked by a Japanese study that shows vacations help control fatigue in workers. Everyone needs a break, after all. But other research has demonstrated even clearer health benefits associated with getting away.
One report found that middle-aged men at high risk for heart disease who took annual vacations had a significantly lower mortality rate. The American Travel Association trumpets research that highlights other benefits, including a study that showed people get three times more deep sleep after their vacation.
And that’s just a quick sampling of recent research.
Of course, what you do while on holidays will also determine whether or not the experience will boost your health. A week-long bender in Vegas, packed with fried food and cheap alcohol, probably won’t improve your wellbeing. But one study found that volunteering might.
In its online casino report the “The Health Benefits of Volunteering,” the Corporation for National and Community Service discovered that volunteers have greater longevity, less incidence of heart disease, higher functional ability and even lower rates of depression
Think about it: what better way to cure the blues than helping someone else?
Much of the benefits stem from the feeling of accomplishment people get from volunteering. And older adults receive the biggest health boost – it can even help them recover after heart attacks by fighting off despair.
“Volunteering makes the heart grow stronger,” said David Eisner, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, in a news release.
And if you volunteer in developing countries, where the need is especially great, you’ll experience an even stronger sense of personal fulfillment. How can anyone not benefit from that?
So when you start thinking about where you’d like to getaway for that next vacation, consider escaping to a place where you can improve your health while making the world a little better.
Your heart will thank you. And so will we.
A growing number of travelers are seeking vacations that go beyond bottomless Mojitos and days spent lounging by the infinity pool. They want something more from their holidays. Something meaningful.
That’s why volunteer travel, or voluntourism, has become such a hot market over the past five years. There has been a rapid increase in tour companies and organizations that focus on volunteer travel and even big-name luxury brands like Ritz-Carlton are getting in on the action.
The Travel Industry Association of America was one of the first organizations to note this trend. In 2005, it highlighted an annual National Public Lands Day event that saw nearly 100,000 volunteers head to national parks to build bridges and plant trees.
But people aren’t necessarily giving up on all-inclusive resorts, high-end hotels and all the attractions you’d expect to experience during a typical vacation. Far from it. Instead, savvy travelers are enjoying a few days relaxing on the beach or exploring must-see sights before helping local villagers build a school or clean up a litter-covered landscape.
Voluntourism hasn’t completely hit mainstream, says Kristin Lamoureux, director of the International Institute of Tourism Studies at The George Washington University. But it’s definitely growing at a steady pace.
“I think the biggest indicator of the growth in volunteer tourism is the adopting of volunteer tourism or similar activities by major travel corporations such as the Ritz-Carlton, Fairmont and Sandals,” said Lamoureux in an e-mail, adding that little While in many cases a course just might get a traffic ticket dismissed, attending traffic driving license test can also enhance your driving knowledge and skill level, and it may increase your overall safety awareness so that you, your family, and other drivers can be safer dgfev online casino on the roads. market data is available on recent voluntourism trends.
“The list of corporations that now offer some type of volunteer experience for their staff and their guests is larger than it has ever been and it speaks to the demand.”
Lamoureux says there have been major shifts in online casino the volunteer tourism market as well, with more corporations seeking meaningful excursions as part of conferences or other business events.
Organizations and tour companies usually offer a combination of work and play to appeal to a broader market. For example, travelers building bottle schools with Hug It Forward can also spend time exploring Mayan ruins and the tourist-friendly city of Antigua.
Few people understand the appeal of volunteer travel better than Aaron Smith. After launching Govoluntouring.com – which connects travelers with volunteer opportunities – in September of 2011, he managed to grow his site to include thousands of projects spanning more than 90 countries.
Smith says that voluntourism now has a solid “track record.” More people are talking and blogging about volunteer-based vacations while the news media is providing more coverage of the good work being done.
“It’s reached a tipping point. It now has PR, it’s in newspapers and it has momentum,” said Smith.
He hopes that eventually every traveler in North American will have done at least one volunteer-based vacation in their lifetime. If that were to happen, it would change the very nature of the travel industry. And it might also change the world.
Think of them as building blocks for a community’s future.
Hug It Forward constructs schools across South American using plastic soda bottles stuffed with inorganic trash, such as plastic bags, potato chip packages and polystyrene. These “eco-bricks” are then used by volunteers to build schools that enrich the lives of children. It’s an innovative system that’s attracted the attention of plenty of news media.
How they’re made
Volunteers and local villagers scour the landscape looking for bits of trash to fill the bottles with. Each bottle is stuffed full and packed down using a stick so there is no air inside. Once completed, they must be hard like bricks. Also, it’s important that only trash that is dry and free of food is used to prevent mold and bacteria from forming. It takes about 6,200 eco-bricks to build a two-room classroom.
How they’re used
Eco-bricks form the walls of a bottle school. The bottles are bound between layers of chicken wire, which is attached to a metal frame. Then up to casino online three layers of cement mixed with sand are applied to the outside of the bottles. A coat of paint online casino adds the finishing touch. To make the process easier, Hug It Forward has created a Bottle School Manual that This means that 60% of medical costs are paid for by the affordable-health.info company, leaving the other 40% to be paid by you. explains how to build the schools.
Volunteers work closely with local villagers during construction. This reinforces the community’s sense of ownership over the school. They built it; it wasn’t built for them.
How they help
You might ask: Wouldn’t it be simpler just to construct schools using typical building materials? Perhaps, but the unique value of bottle schools would be lost.
Eco-bricks provide an affordable and efficient way to build a school while removing large amounts of trash from the local community. But the added bonus of using eco-bricks is the educational component.
By collecting the trash, young people in the community learn about the importance of recycling and the impact that non-biodegradable waste can have on the environment. Meanwhile, people in the U.S. and other developed countries are learning about these issues from a different perspective. Bottle schools have earned widespread media attention, which leads to discussion about topics surrounding sustainability and the challenges people living in less developed countries face. It might even inspire people to help out those who are less fortunate.
And it’s all because of a little bottle stuffed with trash.
Volunteering as a family adds a whole new dimension to traveling abroad. In lieu of the more traditional holidays where the entirety of time is spent on the surface of a foreign culture, volunteering while traveling provides a rare glimpse inside of that very community and teaches life-changing lessons both to the children and parents alike. If your family is looking for a new way to explore connectedness and deepen their understanding of the world they live in, maybe volunteering is an option to be considered.
Parents are the primary caregivers and role models for their children, setting important examples through the way that they live their lives. Volunteer vacations together alongside their children shows firsthand that giving back and community involvement is important, and vital to leading a fulfilled and compassionate lifestyle. Teaching intercultural understanding and instilling a spirit of volunteerism early on in the lives of others is a valuable gift to give.
In the fast-paced culture we live in today, volunteering as a family provides a chance to bond and connect outside of the realm of cellular telephones and television screens. While technology benefits our society in a myriad of ways, it can also serve to hinder intrapersonal skills and distract users from truly interacting with those around us. Taking time to be physically and mentally present as a unit, and to engage in positive activities gives children and parents alike new ways to express themselves and learn together.
Volunteering for communities in need also affords glimpses into lives that may be less fortunate in material aspects than the ones we are used to living. This best online casino can often lead to a mobile casino newfound sense of gratitude for belongings and possessions. There are nbso more important things in life than what we own, and learning that those in other communities around the world constantly live with less teaches families thankfulness.
Another benefit of volunteer travel as a family unit is the opportunity to learn about cultures different from our own, and promote understanding that goes beyond borders. As our world gets smaller through globalization and the increasing ease of transport, becoming aware and respectful of other cultures is important for every individual to learn. Traveling to and interacting with different societies beginning as early as possible shows children the value in mutual respect and understanding.
There are many ways to teach children daily lessons, such as compassion and how to have a spirit of giving. While there are certainly ways to do this at home, the adventure of learning them in a new and exciting culture as part of a volunteer vacation lends endless possibilities for family bonding, growth, and respect.