5 Volunteer Abroad Mega Trends you’ve never heard of [2021]

volunteer mega trends cover

Digital detoxing 🧘‍♀️is becoming all the rage, plastic is out of fashion and DNA tourism 🧬 may just be the next big thing. At Volunteer World, we’re constantly following the latest tourism studies and discussing the future with other experts.

This allows us to gauge what’s hot and what’s not. Topics like

are staples in the volunteering landscape but there’s no doubt that there’s a big shift going on. Continue reading to find out which 5 mega trends are bound to inspire your next volunteer experience.

Digital Detox and Yoga Retreats 🧘‍♀️

Do you feel like you’re glued to your phone? Do you catch yourself mindlessly scrolling through yet another feed? With our professional lives increasingly overlapping with our private lives, our digital devices are becoming an addiction that’s hard to overcome.

As a result, digital detox and yoga retreats have proven excellent escapes for those in need of some downtime. Unplug, recalibrate and reconnect in a remote setting far away from the usual distractions.

Volunteers, are you ready to ditch your devices for a while? Get ready to do some downward dogs and help out!

Off the Beaten Path 🛰

Everyone knows what it’s like to visit a country alongside busloads of other tourists. With more people gaining access to travel, touristic hotspots are becoming overcrowded. Tired of rubbing shoulders with other tourists, seasoned travelers are seeking experiences off the beaten path.

Volunteer programs are the perfect opportunity for travelers to pave their own path and discover remote destinations as they immerse themselves in a new culture and contribute in whatever way they can.

The War Against Plastic ☠️

Climate change is on everyone’s minds these days. While battling climate change feels like an insurmountable task, the environmentally-conscious are jumping on the bandwagon to reduce single-use plastic and beach cleanups. Plastic is not only a serious threat to wildlife, but it’s also turning pristine beaches into garbage dumps.

Volunteer programs worldwide are setting up projects to fight the war on plastic. The growing desire to contribute is driving many to volunteer their free time to reducing plastic on the beaches and in the sea. Armed with a garbage bag and slathered in sunscreen you can also make a difference!

DNA Traveling 🧬

Tracing back your heritage used to be a daunting task requiring a lot of time and effort. Thanks to science and technology, this is no longer the case. There’s a solution for endless hours at the library and it simply requires you to spit in a tube. DNA testing has made the task of retracing one’s roots easier than ever before. The (DNA tourism) trend has people flocking to their ancestral homes eager to reconnect with their heritage. This has been a blessing for less touristic destinations that are gladly welcoming these affluent travelers.

Volunteering is the perfect opportunity for DNA travelers to experience their roots and give back to the community that makes up their heritage.

Insta-Tourism 🤳

With over 1 billion active users, Instagram has been transformational in the travel industry. Everyone has access to images of idyllic destinations and are determined to replicate them on their own Insta which is becoming a nightmare for the locals of these hotspots.

Though Instagram is partly responsible for the surge in tourism, it has its upsides too. Instagram has proven to be a great tool to increase awareness around volunteering and meaningful travel. With more people sharing their volunteer adventures, it is bound to inspire others to do the same.

As you’re obviously not on your digital detox yet. don’t forget to share this article on your social media!

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  1. says: Mia K

    I’m definitely married to my phone – situation is way worse I’d like to admit. Digital detox should be mandatory for everyone at least once a month – yoga retreat would be the best practice for this !

  2. says: Laura Davies

    I like the idea of a ‘digital detox’, particularly the young generation are so often glued to their phone they miss what’s going on in the world around them, and instead focus on the edited and specifically selected ‘perfect’ aspects of a persons life they show you on social media. Myself included I must admit, although I like to think I’m not too attached to my phone when I’m with company or in an interesting/beautiful place, I find it pretty easy to ditch it in those circumstances.

    I’ve travelled a fair bit now (though I have so much more to see!) and the more I have the more I’ve kinda grown tired of being somewhere swarming with tourists… not all the time, quite often there’s a reason a spot is so busy and it’s worth all the “rubbing shoulders” to be able to see/experience what’s there, and you can always meet cool people easily. But I really value the time I spend in more rural areas, immersing myself in the culture and local life. Those experiences feel the most genuine and fulfilling for sure.

    I’m not going to say too much here about the war on plastic, or I’ll never stop! But I will say if everyone does their part we can make a real change in this world, and begin to make up for our mistakes as the human race. Anywheres a good place to start and it’s a war worth fighting for.

    I’d never thought about DNA travelling, but it really does make sense that people would take such an interest in their heritage, I could see it giving you a sense of connecting with your ancestors. My uncle was recently very interested in our family tree – apparently there’s been a lot of scandals, and our line can be traced way back to Indian royalty! Considering how pale I am I find this both brilliant and amusing…

    Instagram like any social media has it’s many positives and negatives… it’s great to see what friends are up to, and also for businesses/locations looking to advertise. However it can give you really unrealistic expectations and definitely is a part of a big problem with a persons body image & often mental health. Like mentioned in this article people are desperate to recreate what they see others doing or how they look… they put themselves in danger, all for the perfect selfie. But I totally agree it’s inspired people to travel and see the world, which is amazing! At the end of the day it’s all dependent on you as a person and what you want to take from it! Just stay safe 🙂

    1. says: Amy Louise

      I think digital detox is a promising step forward and way of getting us teenagers back outside and interacting with each other as people.

  3. says: Amanda Orfitelli

    I had no idea about DNA Tourism. That sounds so cool! I love the idea of digital detox as well! I could really use that. 🙂 Great post.

  4. says: Jillian Larson

    I love the large variety of volunteer options that volunteer world offers!
    I am so excited to to be working towards my volunteer trip.
    I also love how they sent it up for us to learn valuable lessons well we work and explore parts of the world we’ve never been to before!

  5. says: gizic

    It surprise me the DNA traveling ,but it seem like a interesting thing to do ,for all of people who wants to see more about their heritage 🙂

  6. says: Maria Daniela Ordoñez Zambrano

    Volunteering is definitely the best way to retreat from our dependence to technology, coming from experience! But also an amazing opportunity to meet new cultures, new friends that last for life and to awake that inner adventure spirit that most of us don’t even know we had.

  7. says: Iveren Igbaya

    I’m always glued to my phone more than I want to . Volunteering has helped the situation get better .

  8. says: JessicaN

    Volunteering is the best way to learn people new technology. Also is it a great opportunity to learn new friends and culutes.

  9. says: Margaretha Liviane

    It must be nice to reconnect to the world again and leave digital behind for a while. Wildlife conservation would do me good!

  10. says: safira syawalina

    i’m all ready to fight the war of plastic! i’m already trying to reduce my own carbon footprint, now is the time for me to help reduce more plastic for the environment out there.

  11. says: gilar bagas

    digital detox is something the world needs for us to be more social and be more caring towards each other

  12. says: Marisa H

    Couldn’t agree more with Gilar Bagas, I’ absolutely in for digital detox. People became so obsessed with their social media accounts and what they show to the world that they completely forgot to stay connected. Also this is the reason why I prefer off-the-beaten-tracks trips because in this case you can avoid the tourist influx what anyways make you feel more disconnected. The world is filled in with so many beautiful places that are not discovered yet and local people are way much more interesting than posting 24/7 our life on social media. I’m for being spiritually connected!

  13. says: Andrés R

    These are all good examples of how can we promote the tourism in different ways. I do like the idea of the DNA Traveling to certainly understand where do I come from.

    On the other side, the Digital Detox and Yoga Retreats is a good idea as well, since we, as a population experimenting with the technology, have days on wich we just use the cellphone, specially on Sundays, wether you like it or not, it affects our concentration and encourage people to have a sedentary life. However, some may find it ironic with the Insta-tourism.

    Off the beaten path, I had the opportunity to travel to remote destinations, places where you can find more things to know than tourist, and I can confirm you that it all were good moments.

    Finally, there is one thing we all should be conscient of, and it is the war against the plastic, we all know there are some people that may find it boring to work and help fighting against it, but, there are entertaining ways you can do it, and volunteering is one of them.

  14. says: Juliet

    DNA Traveling combined with volunteering is the best idea ever since you have the chance to help others and find yourself doing it. PERFECT DUO!

  15. says: Veronika

    I think all of these are really interesting. I personally experienced the one about plastic beaches and it was awful. I think people should be more aware of what they are causing. It’s not true that one person can’t change something as huge as the problem with plastics. If you start first to limit the plastic use, your surroundings will be influenced by you and start do that as well. In the end of the day, you can be the saver of one of the world beaches

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