blogging Travel

Voluntourism, More Harm than Good???

April 3, 2017

I was thinking why can’t I do something good when I travel? Maybe help someone out, build a school or teach someone to read. Sounds crazy but there is an entire industry dedicated to just that. Voluntourism.

But who am I doing it for; for the kids, the community, the culture? Am I the right person, can I really make a difference? Let’s face it I can’t build a wall for the life of me, I am not sure I could hang a picture straight. My native language is English but do I speak perfect English? Nope! I don’t have a medical degree, heck I am not even CPR certified. Why would anyone leave me responsible for medical care of another human being? So what is the point in sending me or more often inexperienced high school or college graduates to “save the day”. There is a myriad of opportunities to be a voluntourist but is there a better way?



Can’t I just do “good” when I am traveling by offering a meal to a homeless person, giving a book to a child or better yet help raise money for the local community project run by locals? There has to be a better way to be a part of something bigger than myself?

So why do people do it???

Voluntourism, The Pitfalls

There are articles I have read that talk about the pitfalls of the Voluntourism industry, how it is doing more harm than good, but it can’t all be bad, right? After reading a couple of articles below, I wondered if I should pursue it.

Beware Voluntourists Doing Good
The Reality of Voluntourism

So my question is, are there an expert out there who has done this? Can you recommend an organization who truly helps and knows how to find the perfect fit where I don’t need a pat on the back and continuous praise for work I am doing?

Please add your comments and let me know what you think.



  1. Mel & Suan

    November 8, 2016

    It might have started for the corporates – you know as part of CSR – corporate social responsibility. I recall in the last company I worked for the company “adopted” certain Old age homes. We regularly visited and helped clean the place, re-paint the walls etc…but it may have morped into a mega business!

  2. Semi-Adventurous Travelers

    November 8, 2016

    Thanks your note about helping put sounds a bit more realistic than going to a third world country to build a school.

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Jeffrey & Michelle

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