Give Back While Traveling: Volunteering on the Road

Photo by: Buslifers Ambassadors, Social Traveling

To those familiar with the Buslifers community, you know that we have been extensively discussing remote work while traveling. Remote workers and travelers, more commonly known as digital nomads, have ample opportunities in the current environment in which travel and work from anywhere on a laptop is becoming increasingly accessible and normal.

You can read more about digital nomadic lifestyles while on the road in the following articles:

In this article, we would like to discuss a slightly different angle: Volunteering. The concept of volunteering while traveling has been around for ages, but not many have combined the Buslife adventure with volunteering. Let’s dive into this topic.

What are the benefits of volunteering while traveling as a Buslifer?

We will start by summing up the three major benefits of volunteering as you travel around the world in your bus.

  1. Helping others and the world

The first and foremost benefit is that you can help others. Whether you are volunteering in an animal rescue center or a language school, you are giving your best to help others. You are inspiring others to make the world a better place. The gratitude that comes in return for your efforts is an undeniable benefit.

2. Learning about a culture

While traveling, you get the chance to learn more about the local culture, people, landscape, and more. If you decide to stay in a place for a while, you get even more absorbed into the culture. Volunteering can become a big part of your slow travel philosophy.

3. Personal and professional development

In a fast-moving world where change is the only constant, many people find themselves in a questioning mode. We all have moments where we wonder if we are walking the right path in life and whether we are using our time wisely. Many people find themselves stuck for some time, and that is totally okay.

Volunteering often provides a great opportunity for us to learn about ourselves and to take a step back and remember what is important to us. Depending on the type of volunteering you choose, you can even develop yourself professionally before taking on a new career. You can learn new skills in a variety of fields and ultimately grow as a person.

Photo by: Buslifers Ambassadors, Odisea Por America

How to find volunteer opportunities?

Your starting point for finding volunteer opportunities is to make the decision to volunteer. Next, ask yourself where you would like to volunteer and for how long approximately. Based on your decisions, you can continue researching and find volunteer opportunities.

Here at Buslifers, we place great importance on the environment, cultural learning, and community projects. As such we will share some volunteer and work exchange platforms that can help you find opportunities aligned with Buslifers values.

Here are some places you can start looking:

  1. Wwoof

Wwoof is one of the best, if not the best resource for volunteering. The organization carefully selects projects based on sustainability and conservation. You can become a part of organic farms through Wwoof, in which you exchange your time for housing. The housing is often on-site, which gives you a rich cultural experience away from your everyday life.

2. Au Pair

For those who are more people-oriented, au pair opportunities may be of interest. As with Wwoof, you usually get a free place to stay while you give some of your time each day to helping support a family by taking care of their children.

3. Workaway

Via you can connect with interesting volunteer projects in every part of the world. This is probably the best place to start if you are not sure what you want to volunteer as.

4. Helpx

Another one of our favorites is Helpx. The platform encourages cultural exchanges through volunteers opportunities including organic farm stays, homestays, and even hostels. The idea is that you stay in a place short-term for free, while you volunteer for your host on average 4 hours per day. Usually, housing and meals are included.

What skills do you need to volunteer?

In most cases, volunteers are not required to have a certain set of skills. Volunteer opportunities are often available for people to learn and acquire new skills. From our experience, life and communication skills are good to have when taking on a volunteer position, as these will help you integrate more smoothly into a new setting, culture, and environment.

The other interesting part of volunteering is that you usually learn about a large range of skillsets, not just one. You can put some of your knowledge to work for tasks that you have experience with, while with other newer tasks you can simply absorb, learn and grow.

VW Bus or accommodation?

As mentioned, oftentimes volunteer opportunities are done in return for housing. In some cases, housing is not the best option or is not available. If you are a Buslifer and volunteering on the road, that is not a problem though! Having your own home on wheels opens up many more options.

Other volunteer and work exchange ideas

You may be wondering what you would like to do. Above we have already listed some ideas including volunteering on an organic farm. Below is a small list of volunteer and work exchange opportunities that may interest you. We also highly recommend browsing through the web in search of ideas.

10 volunteer and work exchange ideas:

  1. Yoga center support
  2. Winter ski and snowboard instructor
  3. Summer camp volunteer
  4. Teaching in primary schools
  5. Language exchange
  6. Soup kitchen in a homeless shelter
  7. Wildlife santuary
  8. Surf instructor
  9. Land restoration projects
  10. Help in old peoples homes


Are you ready to take a step back from the hectic world and to immerse yourself in a new situation full of cultural exploration and self-development? Volunteering while on the road as a Buslifer may well be what you need. Let us know in the comments if you found this article interesting and if you’d like to get more info on volunteer and work exchange opportunities.

Darren Van Es
  1. […] Much less crowded than summer months Possibility for watersports Great coastal views More affordable than summer Many volunteering opportunities   […]

  2. […] course volunteering is also a way to plunge into an unknown culture. However, we are careful with volunteering. When you want to volunteer somewhere do so with a local […]

  3. […] To find out more about volunteering on the road, including how to find opportunities, read our article “Give Back While Traveling: Volunteering on the Road“.  […]

  4. […] expand our awareness of new places, people, and cultures is to not actually be a tourist at all. It’s to volunteer. What could be more insightful on a cultural adventure than working alongside local communities for […]

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