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Volunteer Vacations: Short-Term Adventures That Will Benefit You and Others Paperback – Feb 1 2009

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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  • Volunteer Vacations: Short-Term Adventures That Will Benefit You and Others
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  • Lonely Planet Volunteer 3rd Ed.: A Traveller's Guide to Making a Difference Around the World
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press; Tenth Edition, 10th edition edition (Feb. 1 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556527845
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556527845
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.5 x 21.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 612 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #667,142 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"[A] comprehensive gathering."  —Booklist

"Anyone who can’t find a dozen projects here to get excited about just doesn’t have a traveler’s soul."  —San Francisco Chronicle

"Would-be volunteers will have plenty of adventures to research."  —Boston Globe

"Takes the legwork out of finding an opportunity to immerse yourself in another culture."  —The Iowan

"Details thousands of opportunities for anyone wanting to see the world with a purpose."  —Westworld Magazine

"Explicitly tuned to matching the needs and desires of prospective travelers with the organizations and projects which will suit them best."  —

"Handy resource . . .  it's a must-have."  —Emerging Horizons

“For those who like to get their hands dirty, this is an excellent resource.” —Chicago Tribune

About the Author

Bill McMillon is a high school teacher. Doug Cutchins is the director of social commitment at Grinnell College. Anne Geissinger is a part-time photographer. Ed Asner is a professional actor. He appeared on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, for which he won an Emmy, and the series Lou Grant. He also appeared on the television series Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Having spent the past seven years volunteer travelling around the world for my vacations, I can honestly attest to the fact that this extremely helpful reference book was my starting point for research into the culturally-enriching, service-oriented travel experiences which have changed my life. Provided inside this handy book are the names of the volunteer organizations which arrange and organize the travel, listings of the type of volunteer work and skills required and all of the necessary logistics. (Actually the only skill often required is a desire to serve and to learn.)
The second half of the book contains numerous brief volunteer journals where the reader can obtain a clearer picture of how this type of travel impacts the recipients of the service work and more importantly perhaps how these deeply moving and life-altering experiences greatly enhance the life of the volunteer.
I have met people of all ages and from all walks of life on these incredible journeys. If you have a bit of adventure in your blood and a desire to serve and especially to learn from another culture's experience...investigate this may open some brand new doors in your life.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars 26 reviews
87 of 89 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great resource for anyone who wants to be a volunteer. Feb. 27 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book covers all kinds of volunteerism, from ecologic to medical. From the USA to the far corners of the world. Not only does it contain volumes of information on agencies seeking volunteers, it also has a great cross-referenced index, so that you can easily choose a "volunteer vacation" to fit your interests, schedule, and your wallet.
37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Resource for Those Who Want A Different Type of Vacation Sept. 7 2007
By O. Merce Brown - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book out of curiosity and was amazed at the variety of opportunities available to travel and contribute throughout the world. The book is a compendium of opportunities of every imaginable type, an incredible resource if you're even thinking about a taking a vacation in which you volunteer.

Each opportunity contains all contact information, include web site, the types of projects available, organization mission statements, the year founded, the number of volunteers last year (so that you can see the scope of the program), funding sources, what kind of work the organization does, project locations, time line (when and for how long commitments are made), cost (including arrangements that must be made like medical examinations), how to get started, needed skills, and the specific populations that could qualify.

The book is very friendly to those with limitations (for example, sight limitations, physical agility, etc.). There are also stories throughout the book from volunteers about their actual experiences while volunteering.

There is a section on long-term volunteering opportunities. There are four indexes: by project cost, project length, location, season, and type.

It is a wonderful book to use to explore what types of things you might like to do, as well as to use as a research base to search out specific opportunities. It is a great value, and an organized way to begin your volunteer journey!

Highly recommended.
3.0 out of 5 stars One dimensional Aug. 20 2016
By K. Borden - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Just OK. This book consists exclusively of 2-4 page overviews of select volunteer organizations. While the categorized summaries are helpful it is pretty much a listing of facts. The selected organizations are heavily slanted toward international volunteering. I was hoping for some pbjective and practical advice from people with first hand experience with volunteer vacations - this book had none of that.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Resource April 7 2009
By Renee Ausmore - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I got this book for my son who is looking for something more rewarding to do with his summer break this year. This book is filled with practical information that will be helpful to anyone who is interested in Volunteer Vacations but unsure where to start. I especially liked the section with first-hand experienced in journal form from past volunteers. Going through this book with my son is proving to be a good eye opener and an excellent resource to help him find the sort of experience that will be best suited to his interests and comfort level.
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I have a post retirement career because of this book June 22 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
In 2006 I checked out an earlier edition of Volunteer Vacations from my local library a few months after my early retirement. I was looking for a volunteer opportunity where my travel and expenses would be paid. My wife and I have traveled extensively in Latin America and spent a summer years ago in Western Europe. I know some of you would like to go on a save-the-turtles vacation or help build a school in Africa or Latin America where you pay to volunteer. But if we're going to pay we'll go on our own. I wanted something where I could use my varied work experience and have my expenses covered. International flights are expensive. The expense paid assignments I found in the book include medical assignments for which I'm not qualified. There are teaching assignments for which I am qualified, but they require a 6 month to a year commitment. What I did find is ACDI/VOCA which is featured as an example organization in the book description. This Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) places volunteers with farming related business experience in 2-3 week assignments in various countries where they have contracts with USAID for the Farmer-to-Farmer program. I was one of the early organic farmers in the NW United States. I had the experience. So I started checking on their Web site. I eventually found a listing of an assignment that fit my experience. I submitted my Web application. And it was accepted. So in February 2007 I went on my first volunteer assignment with ACDI/VOCA to Armenia. It was a wonderful experience in an area of the world where I'd never been. I met and worked with some great people, visited people in their homes, and felt I made a contribution to the host organization. Five years later I still keep contact via Facebook with one of the people I worked with in Yerevan, Armenia.

That first volunteer assignment made me aware of the opportunities with all three NGOs that contract with USAID for the Farmer-to-Farmer program. CNFA and Winrock International are the other two NGOs. They are also listed in the book. It wasn't until three years later that ACDI/VOCA contacted me about an assignment in Ghana that fit my experience. That was the fateful assignment. It started me on a retirement "4th" career volunteering with seed companies and farm organizations all over Africa. I'm currently in Bamako, Mali on my third assignment here helping a Malian seed company to mechanize their post-harvest seed processing. In addition to Ghana where I've had four assignments and here in Mali. I've had four assignments in Uganda and one in Angola. My wife has joined me here in Africa after three of my assignments. We've spent a month touring Mali, three weeks touring Uganda, and three weeks in Kenya and Tanzania. Then this February we brought our two grandsons, 9 and 12, to Kenya and Tanzania for a two and a half week safari in the Masai Mara and the Serengeti. It was an experience they'll never forget. I now have many friends in each of the countries where I've had assignments. We're part of two families in Uganda. We've been included in family celebrations in many countries. I've been a guest at Ugandan weddings. I am in contact with people in all of these countries on a regular basis. I now spend half my time in Africa. Later this year I'm scheduled to have my first assignment in Bangladesh. Then I return to Angola with returns to Uganda and Ghana early next year. I'm always working on what's coming up next and meeting with potential hosts for my next assignments. I've become half African as many people here tell me. My retirement career is truly now volunteering.

These wonderful adventures were all sparked by the information I found in Volunteer Vacations. Maybe you'll find your dream retirement or a volunteer vacation that's just right for you. I did. Thank you authors. You've done us a great service by collecting this information in one source where we can find a volunteer opportunity that allows us to help others in a program that meets our situation.