Why you Should Consider Volunteering Abroad

Why you Should Consider Volunteering Abroad

Why You Should Consider Volunteering Abroad

 

The affordable options when it comes to travelling is to book a flight, grab the backpack and explore the country or countries of your choice, with freedom of going where you want at your own leisure. Volunteering abroad often crosses the mind of most keen travellers who want to do something rewarding in life and in doing show volunteering is usually added on to most independent bucket lists.

It’s when the research begins. You scroll down the countries on offer at the programs, normally selecting those destinations that are quite unique, you look at the volunteering duties such as teaching English, animal care or construction, to name a few and the excitement levels begin to rise, that’s when you look at the cost and all of a sudden volunteering doesn’t quite look worth it. The concept remains appealing but the cost is quite hefty and that is when you begin to re-evaluate that bucket list.

No one says you need to volunteer your services tomorrow, next month, next year or even five years from now, but there is no need to scratch it from the list altogether. If volunteering is an inch you someday need to scratch, then keep it in the back of your thoughts, finances change, situations change and when all the stars align, book that program with your chosen volunteer outlet, and begin a journey that you can trust will be one of the most satisfying travel experiences you’ll ever have.

Volunteering abroad

Bring joy to others when volunteering abroad.

 

Give back to travelling

You have travelled to many different destinations, seen glorious attractions, stunning natural scenery and eaten many different foods of the world. Now, you feel it is time to give back to travel and a lend a helping hand to a community in need. What better to do it than volunteering in a developing country.

Koh Samui

You’ve glorious destinations now give back to travel.

 

Have a new sense of self pride

As far as self-pride and personnel accomplishes go, you will go far to find anything more fulfilling in life that volunteering abroad. You’ll have great stories to tell and you will be the toast of your family and friends and so you should be it is not an easy trek going down the volunteer path.

Teaching monks in Laos

Teaching Monks in Laos brings a new sense of self achievement.

 

Experience a different kind of adventure

There is no doubt about it, it’s a new and exciting kind of adventure. You are living in practically third world conditions, the food is bearable but not fancy, you are sleeping in dorms with strangers of all ages and most times without air conditioning, and naturally homesickness will kick in as you are separated from your favourite gimmicks and family. At the end of the day it will bring a new chapter to your travel diary.

volunteering abroad

Discover new foods in unlikely locations.

 

Discover 3rd world cultures and facilities

It won’t be completely uncivilised, but the conditions and the surrounds will be different to what you are used to back home. You’ll discover new cultures, the local people and their values, their religious beliefs, traditions and history and road conditions and buildings that would barely pass a safety audit in western civilisation.

Local Laos Village

A local village in Laos

Visit countries that you never thought of visiting

Not always the case, but in a general sense, most countries you elect to volunteer in are in countries that may never had crossed your mind. Such countries like Laos, Brazil or Madagascar, naming only a few of the destinations on offer. Then again, those famous holiday areas like Fiji and Bali can still be an option, so a chance for the best of both worlds when searching for that destination.

street markets

street markets of Southeast Asia.

 

Bring a smile to those who need it

When all is said and done, you are volunteering abroad to help others in need, therefore when you bring golden smile to a local’s face, you know you have accomplished something in life that is truly remarkable.

Teaching English to the monks

Bring a smile to a local.

 

Financially, volunteering can be as stretch, pennies need to be saved and there are cheaper travelling options available to you. However, if it is a life goal for you, don’t neglect your ambitions. It may not be possible tomorrow, but volunteering projects in foreign countries will always be there, even ten years from now and if you want it bad enough, your time to shine will happen someday.

volunteering abroad

Discover new cultures when volunteering abroad.

About Your fair Dinkum Traveller

Anthony Jury

Anthony Jury

Your Aussie - Asia Adventure
G'day mate, it's your Fair Dinkum traveller who ventures into Asia and around Australia. Stay tuned for epic destinations, great tips and awesome travel stories.Read more...

Transiting at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport

Transiting at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport

Transiting at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport

Transiting at any airport for long periods of times can be frustrating for any traveller who is keen to get to their next destination and begin a new adventure. Transiting at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport in Thailand, puts a new perspective into long layovers, because this crazy airport, built in 2006, is hip, modern and a fantastic stroll through a wave of fellow travellers or business people with jet setting on their mind.

 Suvarnabhumi Airport focuses on traveller’s needs and nails it in many ways. While the prices are through the roof on most purchases, Suvarnabhumi airport has a unique design with plenty of shopping, food outlets and relaxing available when your stay in Bangkok is longer than anticipated. Let’s get into it, a deeper look at this fascinating airport.

Suvarnabhumi airport

Suvarnabhumi airport

 

Relax in comfort: Chilling on a relaxing chair with your smart phone out or perhaps enjoying a transit nap, you are more than covered with plenty of lounges available inside the airport that comes at a cost. Even if you don’t want to wander into a lavish lounge area, there are plenty of quiet spots throughout the airport on various floors of the airport to spread out and relax for a little quiet time.

 Shop till you drop: Every International Airport has duty-free shopping available, at Suvarnabhumi airport there just seems to be a little extra. It is an airport that covers about one kilometre in length and when walking through busy foyer, it will seem as if it goes on forever. Duty-free stores make up a lot of the space from one end to the other and finding right alcohol spirits or perfume won’t be a problem. Be prepared to spend big however.

Suvarnabhumi airport

Duty-free at Suvarnabhumi airport.

 

Have a transit massage: Not your normal cheap Thai Massage, but perhaps your back needs some treatment after spending hours on the plane. Located throughout several floors on the airport you can get in a relaxing foot, shoulder, back or Thai massage at the Chang Foot Massage and Spa.

Restaurants and Café’s: At either end of the lengthy airport you will find plenty of cafés and restaurants to sit down to enjoy a good meal or drink while waiting for your next flight. Thai Cuisine, Western Cuisine, Starbucks, or a cold frothy, whatever your tastebuds desire, this airport will have you covered and generally the food is not too pricey.

Airport food.

Enjoy delicious Thai food.

 

Transit Hotels: The Miracle Transit hotel is available for those who need a little longer transit while stuck in the airport. Book in blocks of hours and enjoy a good sleep and shower ahead of your eagerly awaited holiday. The Boxtel is also another cosy Transit Hotel where a good sleep and a shower is provided and all within the airport walls without needing to go through customs. 

Take in the Sights or have a prayer: While in Thailand see Thailand with some lovely cultural sculptures spread throughout the airport that will get your camera out for picture or two. Also available for those International travellers with religion, is a prayer room, which is generally the case in most major airports worldwide.

Suvarnabhumi airport

Great Thai scupltures inside the Airport.

 

It is Suvarnabhumi airport, it is big, crowded and expensive. But it will occupy most travellers who need to be stuck in transit for a few hours. Then again there are worst places to spend a few hours of your life, for example your day job, where you would normally be if it wasn’t for the holiday you are about to embark on.

Suvarnabhumi airport

Suvarnabhumi airport on a bleak Thai day.

Suvarnabhumi airport

Lovely Thai decorated designed shops.

Bangkok

On the way to Bangkok.

About Your fair Dinkum Traveller

Anthony Jury

Anthony Jury

Your Aussie - Asia Adventure
G'day mate, it's your Fair Dinkum traveller who ventures into Asia and around Australia. Stay tuned for epic destinations, great tips and awesome travel stories.Read more...

5 Reasons Why you Should Visit Undeveloped Countries

5 Reasons Why you Should Visit Undeveloped Countries

Underdeveloped countries aren’t those that are necessarily unheard or lack any familiarity, they still get their share of tourist that gather in waves of numbers. Yet when it comes to recognitions, the underdeveloped countries don’t seem to match it with the popular tourist destinations such as Thailand, Singapore and Bali.

Inspired by a recent trip to Laos, a fascinating and cultural, yet underdeveloped country in South East Asia, it had me thinking why such a country was not talked about more often. Sure, it lacked theme parks, flush waterparks or booming attractions that has kids excited at the bit, yet there was so much to discover in a country like Laos, lavish temples, historic buildings and unheard history which was at times truly heartbreaking.

There are many more countries that are similar in conditions to Laos that I would love to visit, especially those that are not saturated with other travellers, or heavy population where it can be difficult to even breathe. Not that I don’t love those saturated areas, at times it is great to have a change in travel plans and see something a little different and a little less luxury.

 

Local Laos Village

A local village in Laos

 

Let’s get into the reasons why you should visit underdeveloped countries.

  1. Western Civilisation has yet to take over:

    Perhaps it should be the American franchises haven’t taken over yet. There is little to none fast food outlets such as McDonalds or KFC. Cities are not saturated with modern glossy stores or shopping malls and decent public transport has yet to make their way into the country. You are visiting a country that still has its own identity and is that a special reason to visit and underdeveloped country.
  2. Culture is well and truly alive:

    Local culture is a thing of beauty, the way they live their everyday life, their family values, their religious beliefs, all values that need to be respected when visiting because. The best thing is that they are not littered with other western civilised countries trying to build their way into the underdeveloped country and crash the local culture, well not yet anyway, but change does happen.

  3. New traditions are to be discovered

    New traditions, new buildings, new historic sites and new people are ready to be discovered. Be the envy of your family and friends as you explore places that are rich in tradition and have history that people know little about. It could make a great dinner conversation.
  4. Explore a local village:

    Nothing says local like stepping into a village, where technology is limited and WIFI is unheard of. The housing is basic, sometimes just bamboo, they farm their own crops and gather their own meat. Still the locals are smiling, the kids are laughing and everyone is pulling their weight to get through the day. It is a great sight to see.

  5. It is generally an affordable holiday:

    The underdeveloped countries are generally very affordable, whether it a hotel room, merchandise from a market, or food in a restaurant, it all comes at a crazy low price and your day to budget is maintained with ease. And isn’t that a good thing for your bank account.

 

What are you waiting for? When planning your next holiday, do something different, visit a country like Laos, or Nepal, perhaps even Cuba and enjoy a different travel experience.

Laos Temple

Beautiful temples are a great sight in Laos

 

Take action – List in the comments below the underdeveloped country or countries you have visited? I would love to know where you have been. Or which country would you like to visit?

Laos

A lone monk walks in Laos

What to expect when Volunteering Abroad

What to expect when Volunteering Abroad

So, you have decided to volunteer abroad? Good on you. From a personal achievement, you will never receive more satisfaction in life than lending a helping hand to those in need. It is an experience in life that is highly challenging but also high rewarding, especially when you return home and recount with pride your volunteering stories to your family and friends.

However, volunteering in an unfamiliar country is not without its challenges. You are out of your comfort zone, away from your favourite gimmicks at home, the comfort of your own bed and your favourite meal at dinner time. All little things at the end of the day, but they all add up. Therefore, let’s run through a list of what to expect when volunteering abroad.

teaching English

Teaching the primary kids is a challenging reward.

 

  • You won’t change the world, so don’t expect to.

    Remember these words before any volunteering assignment, you are not a superhero, you are merely a volunteer. Therefore, during your time abroad you will not change the world or the community you are involved in for that matter, so don’t attempt to. Volunteering is meant to be a positive experience, so Relax, go with the flow and give the best effort you possibly can.

    Volunteer in Laos

    Meet interesting people volunteering abroad.

  • Volunteering Abroad is not cheap.

    You will need to pay significant fees when volunteering your services abroad. Nothing is free and that is including giving up your time and money to do a good deed. Different organisations offer various fees and from my experiences I can highly rate International Volunteers Headquarters for a worthy experience volunteering abroad.
    With the fees you will have accommodation, food and a few day tours learning about the country’s culture and magnificent attractions. On top of the regular fees, most organisations will require that you purchase your own airfares, visas and travel insurance, so be prepared before for what you need before you sign up.

  • Get ready for a challenge.

    I doubt you would want to experience such a rewarding adventure if it wasn’t a challenge to begin with. Good news, on a daily basis you will face different levels of challenges, whether it is keeping kids motivated while teaching a class, or constructing a wall in humid conditions. Remember to keep calm and think your way through any problems that will arise.

    teaching English

    The challenge of keeping the kids focused.

  • You can’t choose your room mates.

    When you sign up and choose the dates for your services abroad, the big unknown is who else around the world has volunteered their time during the same dates. Of course, you may choose to volunteer with your spouse, partner, family or friends. But who else is going to be joining you on the adventure will not be known until your arrival at your destination.
    There will different age groups and different nationalities, so be prepared for various personalities. In my volunteering trip to Laos, I was the oldest volunteer by about ten years and I am not that old (at least in my books). It surprised me, I expected various age groups, yet here I was having the time of my life with great young people who were still in university and in Laos for same common cause as myself.

    Volunteering abroad

    Great memories with fellow volunteers.

  • Be prepared to Live in third world conditions.

    Perhaps suggesting third world conditions is a little steep, but it still will be a far cry from the luxuries you are afforded in the modern Western Civilisation. Dorm style sleeping without air-conditioning, basic and repetitive meals and limited gimmicks, such as television, WIFI and other modern-day luxuries we take for granted.
    At times, it may get frustrating to live without those things that come second nature to us, but at the end of the day it will only be for a short time. Just remember when you are experiencing withdrawals from your favourite devices that the locals live this way all the time.

 

The Green Lion

Sleeping arrangements volunteering in Laos.

 

  • Expect the Unexpected.

    Expect the unexpected, a great motto for any aspects of life. The same can be said when volunteering abroad, especially when in unfamiliar environments around the world and cultures can clash. Go with the flow and don’t let those little things disturb your experience. At the end of the day that’s all it will be, little problems, that are easily solved.

  • Cherish those little rewards.

    A kid opens and says that difficult word in English, a class room clicks during the singing of a nursery rhyme or you finish a hard day’s work constructing that building in putrid conditions. It is all little steps in the life of volunteering and those little rewards need to be celebrated.
    Remember you are volunteering abroad for right reason, it is not easy, it is not cheap and at times homesickness will kick in. Embrace the challenges ahead of you and at the end of each day, sit back and relax, full well knowing that today, you did a good thing in life.

    Volunteering abroad

    Cherish the moments of volunteering abroad.

10 Phrases to learn in the Local Language when Travelling Abroad

10 Phrases to learn in the Local Language when Travelling Abroad

Travelling abroad should not only be about drinking fabulous cocktails by the pool, viewing spectacular landscapes and wandering the fascinating streets of an unfamiliar city. Mingling with locals and learning a few basic words in the local language will help make your next trip abroad that extra rewarding.

No one is telling you to learn a whole language, that would be crazy and on most occasions near on impossible. But to learn a few basic words in the language of the country you are visiting, could help avoid a few awkward moments and create a few laughs amongst the locals, as you mince up the words in an embarrassing attempt to speak with the foreign tongue.

In this article, I have come up with 10 words/phrases you should learn in the local language, from a friendly greeting to a confused, “I don’t understand.” From there, with this list of words, all you need to do is google the language you need to learn and practice those pronunciations. All the while, you can have a bit of a giggle as you stumble those strange words.

local language

Talk to the locals

 

10 phrases to learn in the local language when travelling abroad.

  1. Hello: An obvious choice for number one, but in this world, there are a lot of ways to say “hello” and learning this word will go a long way in any local language. There is no better way to start any experience with the locals with a cheerful hello.
  2. Goodbye: A cheerful “goodbye” or “see you later” after hopefully a, pleasant experience, is a great way to end any conversation.
  3. Thank you: Manners is important any language and “thank you” will be used a lot in the foreign tongue. Make thank you a priority when travelling abroad.
  4. You’re welcome: After a thank you, normally comes a friendly “you’re welcome.” The locals will probably say it to you a fair bit and vice versa, when you learn the word of course.
  5. Excuse me: Sitting in the restaurant and in need for another beer, a polite “excuse me” will help you get the attention of the bartender. A very useful word in the local tongue.
  6. I’m sorry: Bump into someone, accidentally break an item, a good “I’m sorry” will go a long way to make a peace in an awkward moment. Fair to say that “I’m sorry” will get a good work out on any adventure.
  7. I don’t understand: Speak for itself this old phrase, because it’s bound to be needed on several occasions in a foreign country.
  8. How much is that?: A useful phrase when shopping the markets of any city around the world. Normally it is the only way to find out how much anything item cost. Then the bartering begins, probably a good thing to know learn some numbers too.
  9. Where is the bathroom?: In the streets of a crowded city and human nature starts calling you. “Where is the bathroom” will help you in any sudden toilet emergency.
  10. Yes/no: Two words, two opposite meanings but very common in any language. Normally they are the most basic words to learn in most languages and will be easily remembered and used.

There you have it, a useful list of words in any local language that will come in handy when abroad. Now all you have to do is go and learn those tricky words from an appropriate language website. Have fun and good luck, but you will be proud that you made the effort.

Check out Innovative 101.  when finding a local language.

 

 

local language

Learn the local language when talking to staff while abroad.

Great Tips in Readiness for an Overseas Adventure

Great Tips in Readiness for an Overseas Adventure

You are all geared up and ready to go. The big overseas adventure you have been planning is just around the corner. But first, you panic. Is everything in order, flights, passports and Visas? Do you know about the area you are visiting? Are you aware of any customs that may seem strange to you? Or any major religious holiday or political event coming up that could dampen your holiday.

The adventure doesn’t begin when you board the plane, a little planning is necessary, starting from the time you book the flight and your accommodation. Planning that may save you from a little crisis while on your much-anticipated holiday with your family and friends.

So, save any embarrassment and check for yourself by reading the list below, to see if you are ready for your overseas adventure. You never know, there may be something important on the list that you may have forgotten.

 

Overseas adventure

Are you ready for an Overseas adventure?

 

 

Are your flight details in order?

Let’s start with a no brainer. Are your flights booked? Are the dates all in order? Are you sitting altogether with your family on the flight? (that is a good one to check with budget airlines) Even the most basic things can go wrong and it pays to double check your flight details before you leave.

 

 

Are your Passports prepared?

Naturally going on an overseas trip, you are going to have a passport and if you don’t, I suggest you hurry up and get it done. The question that need to be asked however are, how long have you had your passport for? Is it close to expiry? Most countries will refuse entry to a person with less than six months’ validation. So, it is important to double check the dates on your passport before you book your holiday.

 

Do you need a Visa?

Many countries these days do allow travellers to enter for a period of time without any fee. It is important to know that there are some countries that require you pay a fee before getting through customs, for examples Vietnam and Laos. Most times, any Visa fees, need to be paid in US dollars and knowing the amount beforehand is important as credit cards are usually not accepted. Answers to these important questions can usually be found by researching on google and TripAdvisor.

 

Do you have travel Insurance?

Often people will think travel insurance is a waste of money, “nothing went wrong, so why did I get it.” That is a good thing when travel goes to plan and there are no sudden emergencies. What happens when things do go wrong. Can you afford the added medical bills? Or the added flight fees? Things can go wrong while overseas and travel insurance needs to be essential in today’s travel. At the end of the day it doesn’t cost a lot of money to protect yourselves, your family and your bank account.

 

Learn some local phrases

No I am not telling you to start learning a whole language, but a few common words that are general in any language won’t go astray. Words such as, hello, goodbye, thank you, you’re welcome, excuse me, how much is that and I’m sorry, will go a long way when trying to chat with the locals.

 

Know the area

While the element of surprise is great for any overseas adventure, it is also important to try and maximise your time by having a certain knowledge of your future destination. Information like restaurants, shopping centres, and fun attractions you may want to visit are great for having in mind when planning your itinerary for you are adventure.

 

Know the Laws and Customs

Respect the laws and customs of any country you visit. I can’t stress this enough. Don’t ruin your overseas adventure because you didn’t do your homework on the do’s and don’ts of a certain destination. Some laws and customs may seem strange to you, and vice versa. Too bad, you are a guest in their country and it is up to the traveller to adjust to specific laws.

Another thing to remember is public holidays in destinations you visit. Instances such as any religious holidays, where in most instances shops re closed and you are required to stay in your resort. Any major political events are important details to know about also 

 

Research activities and day trips

A fun adventure is sometimes knowing what is on offer in the location you visit. Don’t miss out on that epic day trip, or fun-filled attractions because you didn’t do your homework. Google is your best friend, so use it wisely. A key tip to keep in mind when booking any tour is not to book on the internet or through a travel agency. You will save a crazy amount of money by booking tours within the country you are holidaying in.

 

Download helpful Apps

There are plenty of great travel Apps to help you on an overseas adventure and with a bit of research on specific areas, you may land the right App that will give you plenty of tips and advice. A few Apps of note are TripAdvisor, Google Maps and Smart Traveller, which is great for receiving warnings on any country you are visiting.

Four Islands Mekong

Explore with the family and have peace of mind.