Volunteer Capital Centre (VCC)

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Volunteer Abroad expenses

Travelling abroad is one of those things that you can’t do once and be satisfied. Travelling abroad whether it is for you holiday, career break, volunteer abroad or intern abroad is fun. When you are budgeting for you volunteer, intern gap year and tourist holiday here are things you should include in your budget. Many organizations and agencies out there try to give you as much information as they can about the cost. Although, they only tell you about the cost you pay them. They don’t tell you about your personal expenses and other things that you will have to pay for when you are in the host country.

General expenses

There are general expenses that you are expected to pay for. Expenses like air flight fees, travel insurance, Visa fees, and vaccinations. There are companies out there that include travel insurance and air flight fees in their price. However most of the organizations out there don’t offer these. Travel insurance does not change with the season so as to get a cheaper option, but if you shop around you are bound to get something that is comfortable with you. Flight fees can be made cheaper by paying in advance so that you can target the budget deals. Depending on the country you wish to visit, the Visa fees and requirement are different. There are many sites that give you information on the country you are about to visit and the requirements.

If you are going to stay in the host country for a month or longer, it is advisable to get a mobile phone that will enable you to communicate with your friends and family. Most countries use SIM cards for their cell phones. There are many and easy payment options for air time for the mobile phone. In some countries you can buy a contract phone. The price of using your mobile phone is not high but it should be budgeted for. There are many cyber cafes all over the world, making the internet available to wherever you are. The normal rates are about $ 1 for two hours. In some countries if your phone is WAP enabled or has GPRS, and EDGE you can use your phone to browse the internet. Keeping you in contact with your family.

There are organizations that take care of your travelling to and fro where you will be living. If you are a volunteer the organization provides transport for you. If you plan for your travel by yourself, you should consider transportation in the host. You should try and live as close as possible to where you will be working in order to avoid excessive transportation costs. Using public transportation is best since it is the cheapest way to travel in the host country. Renting a car or using taxi will become expensive at some time. If you are visiting a country for a short period of time, using taxis and rented cars is better. There are many companies that are online that you can find out about the cost of renting the car and taxis.

Fun and entertainment
Many times when we budget for a trip, we forget to budget for entertainment. After your volunteer abroad program during the evenings or at night you are normally tired or bored. To unwind you could go to night club or to dinner in a restaurant. There are normally expensive, average and affordable restaurants, depending on your taste. To manage your expenses visit places that aren’t too expensive and don’t go too often.

There will be small things that you will have to buy for yourself while you are abroad. Examples of the things that you would buy are drinking water, toiletries and other personal effects. You will also have to budget for gifts and souvenirs for your friends at home when you leave the host country to go back home.

Zablon Mukuba is the director of Volunteer Capital Centre the leading provider of quality and affordable volunteer abroad programs and opportunities in third world countries. Leave a finger print on a life. For more information visit http://www.volunteercapitalcentre.org and http://www.volunteercapitalcentre.blogspot.com

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