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How IVHQ works - Ready to see the world & make a difference?

How IVHQ works

Ready to see the world and make a difference? Leave it to us, we’ve done it 133,162 times!

With International Volunteer HQ, you get to live an unforgettable adventure while helping others — and you don’t have to worry about a thing apart from showing up!

Step 1: Choose a destination and a volunteer project

Step 1: Choose a destination and a volunteer project

What country would you like to explore? What are the causes you care about? What’s your budget? How long do you want to volunteer for? Ask yourself all these questions and choose the program that best suits you. Browse by either searching by your preferred destination, type of project, or if you’re undecided you can get personalized recommendations from our Volunteer Travel Experts.

Find your perfect volunteer program
Step 2: Apply online for free

Step 2: Apply online for free

It only takes 5 minutes to apply for your preferred volunteer program! By submitting a free application online, our team can check that you’re eligible for your chosen program and that there is availability for your chosen dates. You can expect to hear back from us within 2 working days.

You can always make free changes to your destination, volunteer project, start date or duration later on if you change your mind.

Who is eligible to volunteer? For most programs, previous volunteer experience is not required as you’ll receive training. However, some programs may have language, age or qualification requirements.

Apply Now
Step 3: Secure your place

Step 3: Secure your place

Once you've been accepted on your chosen program, the next step is to save your spot by paying the Registration Fee. As IVHQ programs have limited capacity, more than 70% of volunteers pay the Registration Fee within 7 days of being accepted to ensure they don't miss out.

Once you have paid your Registration Fee, we’ll unlock these additional features within your MyIVHQ account:

  • A step-by-step preparation checklist
  • Your comprehensive IVHQ Program Guide for your destination
  • Interactive online volunteer training
  • Personalized support from your IVHQ Program Manager to guide you through the process!

Thanks to our Flexible Booking Policy, you can make free changes to your destination, project or start date right up until 14 days before your start date.

Step 4: Start getting preparedStep 4: Start getting prepared

Step 4: Start getting prepared

You will have your very own Volunteer Travel Expert guiding you every step of the way. They will help get you ready for your volunteer trip by answering your questions and ensuring you complete our pre-departure online training and preparation checklist. This online training will help you to understand how to volunteer responsibly, stay safe, reduce culture shock, set expectations, and much more.

Our comprehensive Program Guide covers everything you need to know about your destination before you depart, from how much spending money you’ll need and where to buy a SIM card, to what you should pack.

You can also book a whole host of awesome excursions, tours, language lessons, accommodation upgrades (where available) and other fun activities to fill your spare time at discounted prices via your MyIVHQ account!

Our comprehensive step-by-step preparation checklist will guide you through the process and we’ll send you timely email reminders so you don’t miss anything important. Also check out our handy guide with tips if you’re volunteering for the first time.

See how we support your preparation
Step 5: Get ready to travel

Step 5: Get ready to travel

Because we do the hard work for you, there are only a few things you need to organize yourself, such as visas, flights, and travel insurance. However, we’ll make some recommendations for you and answer any questions you may have.

For example, if you need a visa, for many countries you can buy this online through IVHQ. You’ll also have access to our flights search tool to get access to the world's best range of low-cost flight deals. We also have a great partnership to provide you with travel insurance that covers you with everything needed on your trip so rest assured you can go from start to finish covered from head to toe.

Check If You'll Need a Visa
Step 6: Pay your Program Fee

Step 6: Pay your Program Fee

Your Program Fee is separate to your Registration Fee as this covers the costs of hosting you in-country, including:

  • Accommodation
  • Meals*
  • Airport pick-up*
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • In-country orientation
  • Discounts on local activities

Program Fees vary depending on the cost of living in the countries where you’ll be volunteering and the duration of your program. To see how much your preferred program would cost, visit our pricing page.

You don’t need to pay your Program Fee until 30 days before your start date – we’ll send you an email to remind you when it’s due. If you’re doing a last minute booking and want to start in less than 30 days, you’ll need to pay your Program Fee within 48 hours of securing your place.

Wondering why IVHQ’s Program Fees are so much more affordable than other volunteer travel organizations? We work hard with our in-country teams to keep the costs for our volunteers to a minimum. We take pride in offering the most affordable volunteer abroad programs, while still providing you with a high quality, fully hosted vacation experience. Learn more about why there is a fee and how we keep our fees so low.

*Meal and airport pickup inclusions vary by program.

What’s included in your program fee
Step 7: Embark on your adventure and make a difference abroad

Step 7: Embark on your adventure and make a difference abroad

You’re all set to go! You’ve completed your training, booked your activities and tours, been introduced to our local team (who will pick you up from the airport or from another pre-arranged meeting point) and you’re all packed!

Once you land at your destination, IVHQ’s local team is your main point of contact, but your IVHQ Program Manager will still be here to support you via phone or email if needed.

A piece of advice from past volunteers: “Go with an open mind and a humble heart. Be ready for an incredibly eye-opening experience”.

Read other volunteer's experiences
Step 8: Return home and start thinking where to volunteer next!

Step 8: Return home and start thinking where to volunteer next!

If there’s one thing that the IVHQ community agrees on, it’s that volunteering is a life changing experience. After finishing your first volunteering trip, you’ll just want to do it again!

We get amazing feedback from volunteers after coming back from their trips. Many book their second program as soon as they finish their first one, and there are some amazing volunteers out there who have booked more than 19 trips with IVHQ over the years!

We invite all members of our community to share photos or videos about their IVHQ experiences to provide valuable insights for future volunteers. Have you completed a volunteering program? Feel free to share your story on these links below:

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