For the 50+ Traveler

If you like volunteering here at home, why not take your show on the road? Here are three organizations that can put your skills to use to make the world a better place for everyone. Of course, you'll get to see a bit more of the world while you're at it.

1. Global Volunteers

Global Volunteers is a non-profit organization that proudly assures us that about half of their volunteers are older adults. Global Volunteers does not require you to go through training first. Instead, they take you up on any experience you can already bring to the table.

Volunteers are assigned short-term projects (about 1-3 weeks) and are partnered with local leaders and organizations to help them achieve their goals achieving sustainable development in the host communities. The volunteer program is tax-deductible, and the fee starts at $1,045. That price includes all of your meals, accommodations, airport transportation, transportation to volunteer sites, project costs, administrative expenses and help from staff. You also have the choice of staying in a hotel or a hostel.

2. ProjectsAbroad

ProjectsAbroad offers programs for seniors who wish to volunteer internationally. ProjectsAbroad will help you pick where you want to travel to based on the impact you want to make and the skills you have. The most popular choices are:

Conservation Projects - You'll work with conservationists in the Amazon Rainforest, wildlife reserves, or the Galapagos Islands to help plants and endangered wildlife to thrive.

Care Projects - Work with kindergartens and daycares to teach essential skills such as their ABC's.

Culture and Community Projects - Travel with the Maasai along the Mongolian Steppe, and much more. This program is terrific if you want to learn about different cultures while making a difference.

Projects for Professionals - Use your professional skills as a nurse, doctor or dentist to improve the quality of living in your host community.

ProjectsAbroad understands the medical concerns that come along with traveling. They offer 24/7 support from their trained medical staff and provide travel and medical insurance.

ProjectsAbroad group

3. Global Crossroad

Do you dream of teaching English to children or volunteering at a village orphanage? Global Crossroad offers programs in Ecuador, rural Cambodia, South Africa, and Rio De Janerio. No matter what your passions are, Global Crossroad can provide you with a large selection of senior volunteer opportunities. These opportunities are cost-effective, safe, organized and successful, with over 20,000 volunteers since 2003.

Now that you understand some of the volunteer programs that are available, here are some popular destinations that are sure to fulfill your bucket list.

Costa Rica - Embark on your journey to Costa Rica by joining one of many programs such as childcare, turtle conservation, healthcare clinics, construction, teaching, and agriculture. Don't forget, when you're not working you can explore the many beaches, volcanoes, and rainforests on the weekends!

Bali - Explore the beauty of Bali while making a difference! Volunteer with teaching projects, construction, environmental education, healthcare education and so much more! In your free time, check out snorkeling, cycling or explore temples and waterfalls.

South Africa - South Africa is a great place to experience a different culture while volunteering with childcare, teaching, computer training, or sports development. The International Volunteer Headquarters offers an excellent opportunity to teach students in low-income communities how to skate and swim. In your free time, go on a safari or check out the Garden Route.

Italy - Take part in the many volunteer programs offered in Italy ranging from teaching to preserving UNESCO World Heritage Sites and archaeological ruins to protecting marine life. Of course, when you're not volunteering, you can wander the enchanting streets of Italy and dine on some genuine Italian cuisine.

India - If you've always wanted to experience the vibrant culture of India, Plan My Gap Year offers a program that provides computer and vocational training for young women, giving them a better chance of employment in a male-dominated society. You can also teach these women important skills such as sewing, art, and basic English to help them create better futures for themselves and their families.

Thailand - Visit Thailand with Love Volunteer at the Elephant Sanctuary to help elephants that were neglected in captivity by providing them with a safe, loving environment in their natural habitats. Create a bond for life with these gentle creatures. You'll work directly with the elephants' caretakers in one of the most beautiful areas of Thailand to provide care and funds to take care of them properly.

Each country offers its own beautifully fulfilling experience. It's up to you to decide where you think your skills will make the most difference, while also providing you with the trip of a lifetime. There are thousands of foreign volunteer programs to choose from. While this can be overwhelming, there's no doubt you can find a way to put your skills and compassion to work.