Voluntourism: Hip or Hype? [Flashback]

Volunteer camp in Hustai Park, Mongolia
Volunteer Camp, Mongolia © jrubinic

One year ago today, Nora Dunn explored voluntourism and found, “with some research, due diligence, and attention to a community’s actual needs, you can put your humanitarian efforts to many good uses around the world.”

As with everything however, there’s two sides to the coin:

… the more I researched volunteer service organizations and tour companies, the more I found myself sliding down the rabbit hole of a newly coined form of tourism in and of itself: voluntourism.

Although my spell checker still doesn’t recognize it, “voluntourism” is indeed a legitimate term and vehicle for those who wish to volunteer for a worthy cause whilst on vacation. It sounds wonderful in concept, but as with so many things that become popularized and “touristy”, it now has a more gritty edge, some negative cultural and personal side-effects, and there are people who now can’t even say the word without lots of lip curling and eye rolling.

Check out the full post – Voluntourism: Hip or Hype? – and share your thoughts in the comments!

Founding Editor
  1. There seem to be many organizations selling volunteer opportunities for thousands of dollars. I don’t have any personal experience with any of these groups, but I imagine there is a shady side to this new industry.

    It would be great if you could volunteer without paying huge amounts of money.

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