Senior Resources » Best Volunteer Vacations for Retirees in 2023

Best Volunteer Vacations for Retirees in 2023

wildlife volunteer

For many, retirement is a time for relaxation and new beginnings. It’s the perfect opportunity to pursue passions that may have been put on hold while working hard at your 9 to 5. While some may choose to spend their retirement sleeping in or indulging in their hobbies, others may be looking for alternative ideas that are both fulfilling and rewarding. What if you could donate your time while fulfilling your travel goals? Enter “volunteer vacations” – an exciting and meaningful way for retirees to give back while enjoying new adventures! They’re designed to allow you to explore the world while making a positive impact.


Ready to plan your own volunteer vacation? We’ve got you covered!

What is a Volunteer Vacation?

safari retirees

What are volunteer vacations, you ask? These are vacations where volunteers spend part of their time serving others through various charitable organizations or non-profit groups. The volunteer opportunities range from building homes to teaching English, wildlife conservation, and so much more. You could even volunteer to work on a farm or vineyard! The truth is, there’s something for everyone’s interests and skills with these trips.


Are There Benefits to Volunteering During Your Retirement Years?

volunteer vacations for retirees

Volunteering is a great way to stay active, engaged, and contribute. It’s also a fantastic way to make new friends, stay mentally alert, and learn new skills. Studies have shown that volunteering has a positive effect on mental and physical health, particularly in older adults. It leads to a sense of accomplishment, keeps you connected to a community, and can even lower depression risks. One of the best things about volunteer vacations is that you get all of these perks while exploring destinations from your bucket list. You’ll often get to spend time with locals, learn about new cultures, and enjoy local cuisine. It’s the best of both worlds! Travel with a purpose.

Planning a Volunteer Vacation – Where Do I Start?

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To start your planning process, consider the following:

You want to pick a destination that you’ve always wanted to visit and a project that you’re passionate about. Think about your skills and what kind of help you can offer. Decide on the logistics such as budget, duration, and accommodations. You’ll also want to research organizations that offer packages for volunteer vacations as well. Here are some websites that can help you start!

Best Volunteer Vacations for Retirees in 2023

retirement travel couple

Here are the best volunteer vacations to choose from in 2023.


Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity is one of the most recognizable volunteer organizations in the world. They build homes for people in need across the globe. As a volunteer, you can help construct homes for families in need, domestically or internationally. Habitat for Humanity Global Village provides opportunities in the United States, Canada, Costa Rica, Nepal, Kenya, and so many more destinations. The program costs range between $1650 – $2500 and varies by location. The fee includes a donation to the Habitat country program, ground transportation, meals, accommodations, select activities, travel accident and sickness insurance, and trip cancellation insurance.

Sea Turtle Conservation in Costa Rica

This volunteer vacation is perfect for retirees who love nature and are looking for a unique experience. There are several organizations you can book trips with and each will offer its own set of tours, activities, and conservation efforts to participate in, but some of the adventures you can look forward to are participating in hatchling releases, monitoring, and assessing the health of sea turtles, and protecting their habitats. Here are a few organizations to look into:

Animal Sanctuaries

If you’re an animal lover, consider volunteering at an animal sanctuary. Organizations like Best Friends Animal Society and Farm Sanctuary offer opportunities for volunteers to help care for rescued animals. You can assist with tasks such as cleaning, feeding, and socializing the animals.

Have you always dreamt of visiting South Africa? If you’re passionate about wildlife and conservation, African Impact’s programs in South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe offer you the chance to work alongside experienced field guides and researchers to protect elephants, lions, rhinos, primates, and other endangered species.

Here are some resources to start planning your animal sanctuary volunteer vacation:


Volunteer Cruises

Do you love to cruise? Volunteer cruises are a unique way to travel while also contributing to a good cause. Take an “impact” trip where passengers can participate in volunteer activities at various ports of call. Try National Geographic Expedition Cruises, to start! Or, try a Galapagos cruise with Celebrity.

Need Something Else?

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Originally published June 02, 2023

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