Voluntourism, also known as volunteer vacations, is a movement that is quickly gaining traction, especially among teens and young adults. Voluntourism can be shorter in length (1-2 weeks) or much longer (months-long to more than a year).
Volunteers usually coordinate with a service that puts them to work abroad in a developing region or a disaster area. The volunteers are not paid, but actually usually pay a fee to offset the rooming and food costs. The vacation/tourism part comes in on their time off, such as on the weekends, where the traveler can tour the city or region more closely.
A great way to meet the “real” local population and learn the native tongue, while living with locals and eating delicious local fare!
Volunteer travelers are called voluntourists, and they often enjoy traveling to different cities and countries that have been hard-hit, such as natural disaster areas, third-world destinations, war zones, etc.
Voluntourists usually receive little or no compensation, and often have to pay for their own lodging, food, and transportation. Voluntourists may also be those that travel to donate time and energy to saving and protecting land and animals.