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

21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"[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.


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Product Details

  • Series: Volunteer Vacations
  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press; Tenth Edition, 10th edition edition (February 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556527845
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556527845
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,358,154 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

125 of 125 people found the following review helpful By Noah on November 1, 2002
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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86 of 88 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 27, 1999
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.
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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By O. Brown HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 7, 2007
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.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 22, 2012
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.Read more ›
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Mulberry on July 10, 2006
Format: Paperback
"The book is bland as far as pictures go...but the info inside makes up for it entirerly! The layout is basic & straight foreward but the websites on each particular job provide pics & other info for interested volunteers. There's a lot more international opportunities in it than in the book "The Back Door Guide to Short Term Job Adventures". I love how the book sorts the jobs by cost, length, season, location & type!" I am volunteering in Africa this September with an organization that I saw in this book. I am soooo excited!!!!
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