This summer, open your heart and not your wallet

5 ways to travel the world and volunteer over break while keeping your expenses down

When the fast-paced lifestyle of Vestal Parkway loses its thrill, many students feel the need to get out and see the world. While the will exists, some people don’t have a way. With the financial burden of college resting on almost everyone’s shoulders, it often seems as if far-away travel is out of the question. Everyone knows about birthright, but that only applies to a very specific portion of Binghamton University students, and if you aren’t eligible, then it’s useless. What people often don’t know is that low-cost travel is not impossible. Many programs will offer you a trip across the globe, or at least to somewhere else really cool, for a nominal fee. Here are just a few of the possibilities.

1. Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) — For those interested in organic lifestyles, green living or just have an interest in farming, WWOOF is a great opportunity. The organization provides a way to find hosts all over the world. These hosts will allow you to live on their farm in exchange for only your work. You can learn new skills such as wine-making, cheese-making, weeding and harvesting, among many others. The only costs involved are a membership (about $50 for a year) and a plane ticket. All things considering, this is a super cheap way to see something new.

2. Sudan Volunteer Programme (SVP) — Since 1997, the SVP has been sending native English speakers to teach in Sudan. This U.K.-based organization will pay for everything, excluding airfare and a $100 insurance fee. SVP will arrange food and accommodations for you, and expect that you work a maximum of 30 hours a week. This program is ideal for graduating seniors who still don’t have plans for next year — the SVP is looking for at least a nine-month commitment.

3. Volunteers For Peace — Located in over 100 countries, Volunteers For Peace isn’t entirely free, but is much cheaper than the average trip. For around $500, you’ll get food and a place to stay, as well as the materials needed for projects. Trips range from two to three weeks, or one to three months, depending on how much time you want to put in. While transportation is not included, nearly everything else is, including housing and food. You could be working in agriculture, teaching, social work and archeology, among many others. You’ll be living as a group with people from all over the world, making this an opportunity to make international friendships.

4. Appalachian Trail Conservancy — For those who are more inclined to stay in the U.S., this is an opportunity to do some intense hiking — and clean up. These trips range from seven to 10 days, and in that time you’ll be doing some intense hiking as well as work like wall building and rock cutting. This is a physically demanding trip, but for anyone up for the challenge, it’s a great way to explore nature with an interesting group of people.

5. Service Civil International — This organization will send you almost anywhere in the world for a fee of $235. You can search through an elaborate list of opportunities all over the globe, ranging from working at a festival in Croatia to school construction in Kenya. Accommodations vary by trip, and trips can range anywhere from two weeks to a year. This organization offers by far the most interesting and random opportunities, guaranteeing a rewarding experience.