As you plan your summer vacation, consider swapping the cabana for the work gloves and opt for a volunteer vacation instead of the typical indulgent getaway. There are numerous ways you can donate your time and efforts in destinations all over the world.
This summer, beat the heat by visiting Alaska to build homes through Habitat for Humanity. Or, give new meaning to the concept "wet and wild" by volunteering to bottle-feed baby manatees in Peru!
No matter what type of adventure you are looking for, there's something for you. Check out our picks for top programs filled with volunteer opportunities that leave room for plenty of time for other activities as well.
Travel to Anchorage, Alaska, with Habitat for Humanity on a 15-day trip. Volunteers will spend seven days working on building new homes, and the itinerary leaves room for cultural tours and sightseeing activities. From $1,970, habitat.org
Volunteer your time with Work And Volunteer (WAVA) this summer by helping blind and deaf students in Santiago, Chile. You'll volunteer to help teachers by organizing activities and providing general support. Programs run from two to eight weeks. From $1,700, goabroad.com
Help create a positive environment for children in a Guatemalan orphanage this summer though Global Crossroad. In the orphanage, you'll help the children with a variety of activities such as homework, recreational activities and cooking meals. You can spend up to 12 weeks with a host family. From: $401, globalcrossroad.com
This summer, rescue the Amazonian manatee in Peru. Volunteers will get to work with baby manatees by hand-feeding them, tracking and monitoring their growth and taking other measures to improve their living conditions. This program is a minimum of 4-weeks, but volunteers can stay longer. From $720, volunteeringsolutions.com
Spent two weeks this summer helping endangered animals in South Africa. Volunteers will get to feed and care for zebras, giraffes, emus, monkey and other wildlife. The itinerary also allows time for days off where you can surf, hike and explore the area. From $1,819, i-to-i.com