5 Life-Changing Volunteer Experiences Under $1500

Vancouver, BC | Posted: April 17th, 2018

There is no doubt that volunteering can change your life. If you’ve volunteered in the past, then you can certainly agree that the feeling of making a difference is addictive. If you’re considering embarking on your first volunteer abroad experience, this is the most significant gift you can give yourself.

Discovering the program that fits you like a glove is tough! There are so many options out there, and you want to make sure that the program you choose is indeed making a difference. You might also be working with a budget, and we want to help you find a life-changing volunteer trip that ticks all the boxes!

Under $1000 USD


Volunteer with Great White Sharks & Marine Wildlife in South Africa – International Marine Volunteers

great white shark

Photo credit: International Marine Volunteers

For an experience that is both adrenaline-pumping and life-changing, join a volunteer program in South Africa. This program, in particular, is operated by the renowned organization, International Marine Volunteers. You’ll have the chance to work alongside experienced researchers and marine biologists, earning a wealth of knowledge as part of this program.

A few highlights you can look forward to are cage dives, beach cleanups, observe shark behaviour, marine conservation, data collection, and more! You’ll make a big difference for Great White Sharks as well as other species of shark and marine life.

A one-week volunteer placement starts at $650 USD and includes accommodation, some meals, and volunteer support locally.


Community Upliftment Program in South Africa – SAVE Volunteering

volunteering with kids in south africa

Photo Credit: SAVE Volunteering

Join a fulfilling program that works to uplift local communities in South Africa. You’ll work alongside other volunteers in a mission to prevent poverty through education, employment, and upliftment.

Some of the work you can participate in during your time at the project includes providing winter clothing and blankets to children and families, assisting with resources to winterize homes, agricultural education, organizing activities and sporting events, and much more! As a volunteer, you will work with a flexible schedule, as well as the space to take the initiative and run parts of the program on your own!

The cost for this placements is just $775 USD for two weeks. The fee includes your accommodation, airport pickup, orientation in Cape Town, social events, three meals per day, and onsite support.

Under $1500 USD


Climate Change Activist Program – Richmond Vale

climate change activists

Photo Credit: Richmond Vale

If you have a little more time, this 1-month program is a must. You’ll put your climate change knowledge to the test, and learn a bunch of new skills along the way. Through an array of field trips, classes, and activities, you’ll join like-minded students to learn more about sustainable agriculture, pollution, global warming, solar energy, biodiversity, and more.

Throughout the month, you’ll become part of a new generation of informed climate change activists, all working towards the betterment of our planet!

The cost of this program is a mere $1100 USD for the month and includes food and accommodation, classes, and the necessary materials needed for the program’s activities.


Wildlife Volunteer in Thailand – Oyster Worldwide

elephant volunteer project

Photo credit: Oyster Worldwide

If you’re feeling the wildlife volunteer vibes, you’ll want to check out this incredible program in Thailand with Oyster Worldwide. You’ll participate in volunteer activities at a wildlife sanctuary, and also have the chance to volunteer with elephants if you’re staying two weeks or longer.

The project is located on temple grounds and allows you a great deal of interaction with the animals in a safe environment. You’ll participate in food preparation, feeding, development of enrichment programs, behaviour monitoring, and a whole lot more!

The cost for one week is about $1060 USD (depending on the currency exchange) and includes your accommodation, meals, placement assistance, orientation on arrival, a volunteer t-shirt and a few other goodies. If you wish to stick around a little longer, additional weeks are only approximately $270 per week.


Coastal Bird Conservation in the Bahamas – Conservian

sea bird

Photo Credit: Conservian Coast Bird Conservation

This coastal bird volunteer experience is unlike anything else we offer! You’ll have the chance to spend a week on a liveaboard research schooner sailing around the Bahamas and making a difference in bird conservation. You’ll explore incredible national parks, gorgeous coastlines, and pristine beaches.

As a volunteer on this program, you’ll participate in data collection, habitat restoration, invasive species control, and more. In your free time, explore the area, enjoy hikes, relax on the beach, take a dip or snorkel in the turquoise waters, or enjoy the deck of this beautiful boat.

There are two departures in May 2018, so make sure to sign up now! The cost is only $1350 USD and includes your room, meals, water, airport transfers, and project transportation.  Don’t miss out!

Are there any volunteer programs you want to learn more about? Make sure to let us know!

Sarah Lafontaine

Sarah Lafontaine

Sarah is a travel writer, citizen of the world and lover of the Pacific Northwest and tacos. When not writing she can be found searching for her next travel destination or exploring with her dog, Otto.

Read about her adventures on her blog Sarah Seize the World and follow her on Instagram: @sarahseizetheworld