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The trip: Provide computer training and support in Tola, Nicaragua
The organization: Foundation for Sustainable Development (fsdinternational.org)
Dates and price: Ongoing, from $2,740 for 10 days*
A school and café in Tola recently received 80 Apple computers, and wants tech whizzes to set them up and teach locals how to use them. You’ll stay with host families and work alongside teachers and students to bring computer access to rural farming and fishing communities. FSD makes good use of other professional skills in Tola too, with opportunities for designers, marketers and consultants.
The trip: Volunteer Abroad in Salvador, Brazil
The organization: Cross-Cultural Solutions (crossculturalsolutions.org)
Dates and price: Ongoing, with upcoming start dates May 5 and 19, and June 2; from $1,946 for one week
Volunteers are kept busy in this lively Afro-Brazilian city and spend most of their time working in the favelas. You’ll be fully immersed in local communities: Placements depend on need and volunteers’ skills, so whether you stay for one or up to 12 weeks, you might care for the elderly or lead field trips and play games at a home for children with HIV/AIDs. When you need a break, the beach is nearby.
The trip: Construct Grand Canyon North Rim trails, Arizona
The organization: Sierra Club (sierraclub.org)
Dates and price: June 10–16, $495
Though millions of tourists visit the Grand Canyon every year, few make it to the backcountry of the North Rim. This peaceful area is 1,000 feet higher than the busier South Rim, and features condor sightings, spectacular views to the San Francisco Peaks—and your campsite. But like many parks, these wild acres are understaffed, so the Sierra Club is here to help out; it contributes 25,000 volunteer hours a year nationwide. Working with rangers, you’ll clear brush and build new trails, making the area more accessible to future hikers and mountain bikers. In the meantime, the place is yours.
The trip: Volunteer in Kenya
The organization: Projects Abroad (projects-abroad.org)
Dates and price: Ongoing, from $3,095 for one month
As Projects Abroad’s newest destination, Nakuru, Kenya, could really use more hands: This growing town is home to thousands of children whose parents died from HIV/AIDs, which means orphanages are especially crowded. Volunteers might play games and bathe toddlers; others teach English, art or sports. Schedules are flexible, with weekends free to explore areas like nearby Lake Nakuru National Park.
The trip: Global Village Program in Siem Reap, Cambodia
The organization: Habitat for Humanity (habitat.org)
Dates and price: June 15–24, $1,440
Thousands of rural families have moved to Siem Reap, Cambodia’s fastest growing city, looking for job opportunities. But because the city isn’t yet equipped to handle that many residents, a large portion of the population lives in substandard housing. Volunteers will work with locals to build new, safe houses for these families and rehabilitate old, unstable structures. No building construction skills or experience is required. During free time, you’ll be encouraged to embrace more of the culture by visiting the markets, museums and historical sites such as the ancient capital Angkor Wat.
The trip: Work on trails in the White Mountains, New Hampshire
The organization: Appalachian Mountain Club (outdoors.org)
Dates and price: June 24–29, $265
Millions of vistors heavily traverse the White Mountains, and trail crews struggle to keep up. The AMC pitches in to keep trails safe, and always needs volunteers for unglamorous but essential tasks like hardening paths with gravel, installing bog bridges, building rock stairs and painting blazes. On this young-members trip, you’ll stay in a backcountry campsite, with enough down time to hit the paths yourself.
*Most prices are tax-deductible, and none include airfare.