The pros and cons of a voluntourism trip – picking the right trip in 2023

Voluntourism refers to a type of travel where individuals spend their vacation participating in volunteer work, usually in developing countries. In recent years, voluntourism has become a popular way for travelers to make a positive impact on local communities while also experiencing different cultures. However, the concept of voluntourism is not without controversy, and it is important to consider the pros and cons before embarking on a voluntourism trip. We assure you our trips are ethical in the way they are run.

The Pros of a voluntourism trip: 

Short-Term Approach: 

Volunteering in a foreign country can be a unique and enriching experience that helps individuals grow personally and professionally. It provides an opportunity to learn new skills, expand one’s worldview, and develop a greater sense of empathy and compassion. This happens on a 7-10 day trip.

Making a Difference:

Volunteering can have a significant impact on local communities and the environment. By participating in projects that address critical needs, voluntourists can contribute to the well-being of others and make a positive difference in the world.

Cultural Exchange:

Voluntourism can provide a deeper cultural experience than a typical tourist trip. By working and living alongside local people, travelers can gain a greater understanding of the culture and learn about the challenges facing communities in developing countries.


The cons of a voluntourism trip: 

Short-Term Approach: 

One of the biggest criticisms of voluntourism is that it is often a short-term solution to long-term problems. Many voluntourism projects are not sustainable, and the positive impact of volunteers is often limited.

uReach does more than facilitate trips. We have roots in the community, and work alongside local leaders to identify problems affecting the community, and then work to provide solutions.

Inadequate Training:

Many voluntourists lack the training and skills necessary to effectively contribute to projects in developing countries. This can result in more harm than good, as inexperienced volunteers may inadvertently cause problems or undermine the work of local organizations.

Skills are not required on a uReach trip. All tools and equipment that will be needed during a project will be properly explained to participants who will use them. You are guaranteed to make a lasting impact beyond your trip. The work you will do, will not hinder, or undermine any work that is already happening.


Some voluntourism organizations exploit the desire of travelers to make a positive impact by charging exorbitant fees for volunteer work that can be done more effectively by local organizations. This can divert valuable resources away from communities in need and undermine their efforts to address critical problems.

Due to the nature of our partnerships with local community leaders, uReach maintains ethical voluntourism trips. You will see the many challenges and hardships local people face, you will help provide ethical sustainability for them, but will also experience the culture and fun side of the place you work in.

We make sure we are helping people to help themselves. We are not offering handouts. Our organization makes sure the people we are helping are not only in need, but the way we do it is not detrimental to the people or their community.

Avoiding the “cons” 

Working with the right organization is essential.

There are many great organizations out there.

The right one will do the following…

The right organization will be making sustainable effort.

You’re looking for an organization that has ongoing efforts that are sustainable and don’t create unnecessary dependencies. You want to make sure that you aren’t just painting a wall that somebody else painted before you, just doing things to stay busy. Unfortunately, some organizations fund their efforts through volunteerism in a way that isn’t completely ethical or sustainable, so make sure your efforts really matter as part of a bigger plan.

uReach Is an organization with two decades experience in keeping people safe, providing opportunities to volunteers that are both meaningful and part of a long-term sustainable effort, and providing the right resources to make your time and effort effective.

The right organization will train you and keep you safe: 

If you don’t know how to use a jackhammer, it’s gonna be tough to break up concrete. This might be a little bit of a ridiculous example, a much more common is being asked to cook a meal when you don’t know what you’re doing, or even teach children without the proper materials. The right organization will take some time to train you, give you some safety instructions and make sure you have everything you need so that your time and effort isn’t wasted. They will also tell you why what you’re doing is important. If they can’t answer that question, it might not be.

When you travel with us, we take care of everything. You’ll have the tools, training, and preparation to have an amazing experience meeting in need that wouldn’t be met had you not come. You want your time to count – we make sure it does. We want you to have an awesome experience doing something that is really needed with other awesome people.

The right organization will treat you with respect.

There is always some cost to making the world a little better place. Crowdsourcing the expense of projects that volunteers can get involved in makes perfect sense.

Some organizations have huge donors and sustainable fundraising efforts that can separate the cost of the time and materials for long term projects, but most can’t.

Covering the cost of the project you’re engaged in makes perfect sense. If the primary purpose of your trip is volunteering, then it is best to make your primary base of operations something that the organization has set up for you and charges a reasonable fee for your housing, food, transportation, etc.

If you’re being charged an exorbitant amount, the organization is trying to fund other costs in a way that isn’t exactly consistent. If you’re not sure if the cost is fair, have a conversation with the organization. If you’re not satisfied with the answer, choose another organization.

Let’s go on a Trip

We don’t go everywhere, and we don’t do everything. If you’d like to do education water or housing projects working with rural people living in absolute poverty, check out what we’re up to in Baja Mexico, Nicaragua Central America, or Zambia Africa. If you’d like to do something else, let us know, we probably know somebody who can help you find the right experience. And we’d love to provide an opportunity for you to be the most awesome version of yourself.

Voluntourism can be a valuable and rewarding experience for those who approach it with caution and consideration. Before embarking on a voluntourism trip, it is important to do thorough research and choose a reputable organization that offers sustainable and meaningful projects. By taking a responsible approach to voluntourism, travelers can help make a positive difference in the world and enrich their own lives in the process.