Our guide to volunteering in 2021

What is the future for volunteering post Covid-19?

With holidays in 2020 practically non-existent, there are now a growing number of travellers itching to get out of their houses and have new, worthwhile and exciting experiences.
As vaccination programmes gather pace around the world and testing facilities become more available, the green shoots of a travel recovery are slowly growing. With some amazing deals around for 2021, it seems like a great time to book a trip. However, there is still some uncertainty about the future of international travel, and caution around whether or not to risk planning a bucket list trip for 2021.

Here we take a look at the future for volunteering abroad post Covid-19, and what you need to know before you embark on booking your trip of a lifetime.

1. Check your booking terms
Can I cancel my volunteer placement if I need to? What deposit do I need to put down? Will I get my money back?

This is where choosing the right travel company is key. Check their terms and conditions and remember how quickly lockdowns can happen and escalate. A holiday company that has a 6-week cancellation cut-off is not very flexible.

Our volunteer projects can be booked with just a $300 deposit. All our projects have a minimum 7 day cancellation policy, where refunds are available in full. Some of our projects allow cancellations with refunds up to 24 hours before your departure flight. All of our projects can be postponed at no cost up to 24 hours before travel.

We recommend you also check the booking terms for your airline before booking your flights, but we have found most are currently giving rearrangements or changes to destinations at no cost.

Is my money safe? At Conservation Travel Africa, we guarantee refunds for our volunteer projects in line with our cancellation policy (read our full cancellation policy here). If you’ve paid, then your money is safe.

2. Consider fewer, longer trips

Sustainable travel is the key for 2021. Reduce the number of individual flights you take across the year and take holidays which are more meaningful. It’s definitely time to splurge on that dream trip you’ve been promising you’ll go on for years. From a practical point of view, the longer you stay in one place, the less you have to be in contact with lots of other people in public places, reducing the risk of catching or spreading nasties.

3. Travel insurance is a must

Comprehensive travel insurance is a requirement to join any of our projects. You should check that your travel insurance covers you for travel to the country in question (remembering that most policies only cover countries on your governments ‘safe’ list), and that it covers you for everything you plan on doing there. Check the cancellation terms for Covid-related travel bans, and what happens if you need treatment abroad.

4. Staying safe in transit

Masks, gloves and wipes are the new must-have accessories for travel. Β We recommend you ask your airline about their hygiene and social distancing protocols so you are fully prepared for your flight and have everything to hand.

With PCR testing mandatory for entry into Southern African countries you’ll also need to factor in the cost and logistics of these. Many airlines and countries will now require a negative PCR test for re-entry, and all our projects will assist with this in-country before you depart for home.

Africa is blessed with wide open spaces, low rates of Covid-19 and low population density.

Antelope in front of large granite mountain in Zimbabwe

Why should I volunteer post Covid-19?

We predict that carefully chosen, sustainable and immersive holidays, which includes volunteering in Africa, will become even more popular in 2021. The benefits of volunteering in a post Covid-19 world include:

  • Small group sizes: most projects have groups of less than 12 people
  • Our projects are mostly based in remote, off-the-beaten track locations, far from population centres
  • You’ll spend most of your time outside in the fresh air
  • Surround yourself in nature and take some time to check stock and reflect
  • Volunteering allows a longer, more engaged cultural experience
  • Meet like-minded travellers
  • Get a kick out of helping organisations, wildlife and communities that rely on tourism
  • You will almost definitely have unique and incredible wildlife encounters!

Family volunteer trips are becoming even more popular, especially ones where you can stay in your own bubble with just your guide for company. There’s no better education for your children than one which includes nature, culture, sunshine and mud!

Family volunteers playing in the sand

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We hope this article has put some concerns to rest, and we can’t wait to welcome you onto one of our projects!
Get in touch with us via the contact page, by email or give us a call!

Our volunteer programmes

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