FAQ

Volunteer & EcoTravel (VET) organization is registered in the European Union and has the registration number 6152627000, with the VAT number 20901917, led by Master of Philosophy in Biological Science, Darja Ribarič. It is working as an equal co-project, within the Healthia Ltd. Company. The team has five years of experiences in direct volunteer working and organizing the volunteer opportunities. Through the years VET has helped to the NGO organizations in their efforts to protect especially marine environment and wildlife, including the most endangered animals in the world. VET is proud to have achieved a better world with the help of volunteers, through organizing helpful, educational, hands-on experiences and most enjoyable volunteering adventures so far. It doesn’t matter, if you are a student or having your gap year, just wanting to feel better in helping for the good, gathering first hands-on experiences for you future career, having a plan to make a better world with your partner or a family, you will always find the full support from the VET to make your global volunteer program as enjoyable as possible.

PRICE: VET has a cheaper offer as when you would do it yourself from the scratch. The prices that VET offers are more convenient as from the majority of similar organizations.

EASY: With the help of the VET team you will have it very easy to enrol into the volunteer project. VET will help you in the process of application and will support you on your way for a safe trip to a volunteer destination. In case of necessity, even throughout the volunteer project stay, you might always contact our customer service team. VET will make its best to smoothly organize your volunteer adventure at affordable price and make it your unforgettable experience.

VERIFIED VOLUTNEER PARTNERS: VET has verified all our partner volunteer projects, regarding their volunteer and professional experiences, their mission, volunteer handling so we are sure that we can advice you and offer you the almost tailored volunteer adventure and experience suited to you.

SAFE: VET is taking care that you are always able to email or call our customer service in case of additional information when needed. Be it before your departure, between your journey to the volunteer project site or within the volunteer experience itself or in case of some unclarity.

SUPPORT: be it online or live through the phone (WhatsApp, Skype etc.), you will receive a full support from our customer service, when having additional questions. Normally we answer per email within 24 hours or are available through our phone for any emergencies.

WHEN REGISTERED, VET TAKES CARE FOR YOU: VET takes care for you as soon as you register to one of our volunteer programmes. You will receive the needed information you need before your trip and will check in with you during your trip. That means should a problem arise, GoEco is there for you and will help find a resolution.

RESPONSIBLE: VET is exclusively helping to the volunteer programmes that have the mission of improving the environment and are based on the conservation and scientific grounds. Along we are striving to the sustainable volunteering and eco-tourism that helps to the offered projects.  Especially we are currently focused on volunteering in marine conservation projects and wildlife, including the most endangered animals in the world. With such service both sides: the volunteer project and the volunteers themselves gain in project realization as well as grow in the like-minded surrounding with mostly international experience.  Travelling with the purpose and help in recovering the Blue Planet. That’s VET’s mission.

UPDATED: VET continuously updates the website with the newest volunteer offers, changes in volunteering prices, adding new amazing volunteer experiences and lets you know about these in the newsletter in case you are our VET volunteer member.

This is exciting and helpful experience in your life for many reasons. It’s a special opportunity for a volunteer, where you can learn about the foreign country, the local community, hear and learn a new language; get to know other volunteers from different cultures, exchange opinions and along grow personally. But mainly and most importantly – VET and also local volunteer teams value your time, energy and also knowledge investment to support a volunteer project. We both, absolutely value your participation, contribution and dedication. The nicest thing of such a volunteer adventure is that all volunteers in a team, even when coming from different parts of the world, work for a common goal, and supporting the long-term environmental (or other) objectives of the local community. Come along with VET and have your own volunteer ‘blast’.

Payment

Your financial participation as a volunteer covers your direct costs incurred with volunteer accommodation, food, safety, supervision, hands-on field experiences. There might be additional costs that need to be covered for the volunteer experience to be run successfully. VET has its own experiences to assure you that many of these wonderful volunteer projects would not be possible to be executed without your personal and financial help. Of course the volunteer fee depends on how remote or ‘exotic’ is the project you are participating in.

Quite some volunteer organizations support the local community in parallel to achieve a stronger share of voice and to raise the awareness in the conservation and research mission. Thus there are quite few expenses that cannot be covered by the volunteer programmes themselves and a participation fee is required to enable these important volunteer activities.

To be able to make a reservation for your placement the deposit is needed (150EUR or $230). There are more volunteers applying for the same project and the same dates and we need to make sure with the volunteer organization that they keep the spot for you. Only so we can then continue with your volunteer application process. In case that you are not accepted for the project, VET will refund you 100% of the deposit. We will, alternatively, also offer you another volunteer program of your choice. Note please, that the paid deposit will be deducted from the total volunteer project cost. All works on the ‘first come first serve’ basis therefore your deposit is also kind of your position in a queue, so to say.

Cancellation within 7 days after sending your deposit will entitle you for a full deposit refund. You have to do the cancellation in writing (via email) as described by VET Terms & Conditions.

VET decided to approach its volunteers, therefore we newly made it possible that you can pay also in USD. Please check under the Terms & Conditions about the details.

The volunteer fee for the VET projects covers in majority the list written below. Please note that there might be some exceptions, depending on the project. In such a case this will be transparently communicated to you already prior to your application. Mostly the volunteer fee covers:

– Airport pickup and drop off

– Accommodation
– Food (mostly 3 meals and a possible snack)
– Health and travel insurance is sometimes included (please check at the project description directly; (if it is not included – you can arrange it through the VET);
– In-country support from the volunteer project directly and the orientation, i.e. description of your tasks during the volunteering
You can find more information in the section “What’s Included” in the volunteer project itself.

Many of the universities offer grants for trips such as are our volunteer projects, in case you are a student.  Check out with your university to see if you can apply for such a help.

There are plenty of fundraising platforms for different purposes. One is surely Gofundme or Generosity where volunteers can raise money for their precious goal. You can let your family members or your friends know about your mission. And they might help you with amount that you’d not expect! Go for it. With such an act you might even spread the awareness about your volunteer mission to you community or classmates.

The remaining balance (deducted by the deposit) will be due 60 days prior the volunteering onset.

However, you can join any of our volunteer projects also later, i.e. in less than 60 days prior to the project commencement. In that case you need to pay the whole sum with one transaction.

Bank Transfer

You can pay the balance of your project fee with a bank transfer. This can be done through your personal bank account (through the internet) or at your bank directly. It is very important that you scan and email us a receipt about the bank transfer.

European Union citizens: use the cheapest and most simple way by sending ‘SEPA’ payment to our bank account where the bank fees are much lower.

Citizens outside the European Union: the bank transfer will typically cost you about 40,00EUR.

For your information – if you choose the credit card payment, the fees are quite higher.

 

Credit Card / PayPal

You can pay your project fee with the credit card through a secure online system: PayPal. Please note that there is a standard fee associated with the PayPal option payment. Click here for more information on the PayPal fee >>. We advise you to pay the more affordable option with the bank transfer. Otherwise, click on the following link to make the balance payment through the PayPal: //volunteereco.org/paypal

Registration process and when to book the flights

When you choose your volunteer project there follow these steps:

I. When you click on the volunteer project you want to help in, you need to choose the offered  dates from the drop down menu and at the same time also the duration (weeks or days) of your project stay. Once chosen, you will directly see the project’s costs. Then you choose “apply now” and enter your name and email and the rest of the needed information into the application form. To complete the process press the “Submit Application” button.

II. Your application form will be automatically sent to the VET customer service. They will contact you and answer any questions you may have about the chosen volunteer project. If everything is clear to you, you can already proceed with your online deposit payment. Once done, your application will be promptly send to the operations manager (OP) who will continue to secure your placement at the volunteer project directly.

III. The OP will now send to you the deposit receipt and along also a simple volunteer form. This needs to be filled out and returned by email back to the VET. The forms will be thereafter approved by a volunteer organization on site and at the same time your placement will be secured. The placement confirmation will be sent to you by an acceptance email. Most volunteer organizations will confirm the placement within a few days but some can take longer. If you your application is not approved, your deposit will be returned in 100%.

Please do not book your flights before you have received our acceptance and confirmation email, although we are aware that you are already eager for the volunteer project departure!

A hint: Momondo is a very good flight browser so you might have a look here for the good flights prices.

If you change your mind and cancel your chosen volunteer project within 7 days after your deposit payment, we will fully refund it.

Based on the number of the days prior to your program commencing the cancellation policy for the remaining balance is as follows:

60 days – volunteer does not get the deposit returned anymore;
59-30 days – volunteer gets 50% of the value of the paid sum returned;

29-0 – days – volunteer is not entitled to get any refund and loses 100% of the paid sum.
The same applies for the “no-show” situation.

Please have in mind that in case when you have changed the date of placement in between, cancellation fees will be defined on your original starting date for the volunteering project.

The reduced scale of refunds is inevitable as VET has an agreement obligation to the partner volunteer organization to deliver them the already reserved placement for a volunteer (you).  VET, in such a situation, needs to find a suitable replacement for the volunteer project with another person.

Since VET is a reliable partner to both sides – volunteers themselves and the volunteer partner organizations it is more difficult to find another volunteer the more so as the date of commencement is approaching.

Contact us for more info.

Requirements

The minimum condition is that you need to be 18 years old. By personality you need to show an interest and be enthusiastic in helping on the chosen volunteer project, You should be aware that this is a helping volunteering work and not going to the holidays, so you should be determined to a work obligation on the project, be a team player with other volunteer mates and open-minded regarding the new environment, country, other cultures, experiences and adventures.
Please note, that in some projects it is possible that a volunteer younger than 18 years can participate in a project. But he/she needs the written consent from a parent or a guardian. In case of additional questions regarding the ‘minor volunteer’ you are welcome to ask the VET customer service and we will try to find a solution or the right volunteer offer for you.

VET makes the selection of volunteer projects where the team leaders and researchers are speaking English. It is nice to observe how English-speaking volunteers are introduced to the local communities, even if their original language is not English. Through this volunteers are learning about the parts of the world that they are not familiar with and still they are helping through their participation, no matter on the nature of the volunteer work. On the other hand volunteers meet in their same team with other participants whose mother language is also not English. Such volunteers have a wonderful opportunity to improve their English knowledge.

Even for the VET’s South and Central American projects you can speak English but to know a few words in Spanish will be of a great help to you. In some of these volunteer projects, there might be a short introduction to a Spanish language included. This is usually in the orientation part where you will work on your basic conversation skills. This can only make an additional benefit for you as a volunteer.

Volunteer must check if he/she has a valid passport, issued by the country of the citizenship. It must be valid for at least 6 months after the date of the expected return to the home country. Additionally, each volunteer needs to check with his/her ministry for foreign affairs, if a tourist visa is needed to be allowed to enter the destination country for a volunteer trip. If the visa is needed, a volunteer shall contact the local embassy (or consulate) of this particular country and follow their instructions to obtain a tourist visa.

VET is not in the position to obtain a visa for a volunteer so this is solely the obligation of the participant. We will be otherwise happy to guide you or answer you any additional questions you might have regarding your tourist visa. For more information you might visit the following web sites: www.visahq.com (for the USA volunteers) and //visumcentrale.de/visa-quick-check (for the German volunteers).

4 or at least 3 months in advance you should start with the preparation and departure procedure for your volunteer mission. It is wise that you have enough time to prepare everything smoothly, even more so when a tourist visa is needed. This is mostly enough time that the VET will be able to make a placement reservation with the desired volunteer organization.  Of course we can always check with the volunteer project on site, whether there is still space for the desired dates, in case the time is shorter as 3 months. So the volunteers are encouraged to check with our customer service about the availability anyway.

Safety and Health on your trip

Safety of the volunteers if one of the top priorities for the VET. There is a support running in every country where we have partner organizations with the volunteer projects. Additionally, in our office hours our customer service is at a volunteer disposal all the time. We know that international travel might pose some questions and sometimes concerns so the on-site staff coordinators will be always available in case of emergency situations. Each volunteer will get their contact details (email and/or mobile phone number) once a volunteer fully pays for his/her programme.

Along with the safety, volunteers’ health and smooth travel experience are extremely important to the VET.  Therefore we highly recommend to each volunteer to obtain the health and travel insurance for the duration of the volunteering mission. Both insurances can be obtained also through the VET for any of our volunteer projects. In case you are interested to do this yourself, here might be a useful link for you: //www.thetravelinsurers.com/

If a volunteer decides to obtain the insurance through the VET, you are very welcome to state this through your application process or, if later on, to our customer service. VET is partnering with one of the most renowned insurance companies, which offers worldwide operation for the health and travel insurance through the many successful years. Once the volunteer confirms the wish to get insurance through the VET, the insurance form will be sent to him/her. After the insurance form is signed and the volunteer has paid the balance of the participation fee, he/she will receive the insurance confirmation. The insurance policy will be emailed to the volunteer no later than one week before the insurance date of commencement.

  • Please have in mind that in case where the travel health insurance is included in the program fee this is non-refundable. See the section “What’s included” on the chosen volunteer project page to check whether the insurance might be already covered.
  • However, like anywhere with the insurance companies, you need to know that there is no insurance liability for the illnesses and/or complaints known to the insured person at the time of conclusion of contract. As well, the foreseeable consequences of illnesses and accidents of the insured person treated within six months prior to the conclusion of contract are not covered.

There are always country specific recommendations for different immunizations. Each volunteer should consult His/her personal medical doctor prior to departing for suggestions regarding immunizations. By this volunteers will be best protected while being on the volunteer project. You might need an international certificate of vaccination in case of travel to countries with an endemic yellow fever, in some cases countries require some more test certificates.

Even if each of the volunteer projects have their own on-site pharmacies, it is wise that a volunteer takes his/her own little travel pharmacy to be safe while travelling to and from the project.

Such basic travel pharmacy would include:

– tablets against fever and pain

– tablets against diarrhoea and tablets for the treatment of constipation

– anti-nausea travel pills

– powder for the replacement of the lost minerals (in case of diarrhoea)

– an allergy medication

– volunteer regular medicines in case he/she is taking some;

Many of volunteer projects, that VET collaborates with, offer at least some free time while you are on the volunteering mission. It can even be within your free afternoons, maybe. Of course they understand you are eager to get to know the surrounding where you came to. Some volunteer project may offer an excursion for half a day into the local area – and this might be already included into the price (check into the “What’s included” section of the chosen project). For sure the volunteer coordinators might give you plenty of helpful advices on where to travel prior or after your volunteer team date commencement.

Special Requests

There are different accommodations available and vary between the volunteer projects. Some are quite basic, others offer more comfortable placement. A volunteer is usually placed into a shared room with other volunteer team members. This can be in a separate house dedicated to volunteers (in such cases you might even have your own room or share it with only one additional volunteer). The accommodation might be as well as part within the volunteer activity area. Some might be in a nearby hostel, some even at home of the local family. In any case – VET has proved that the accommodations always cover all the necessities that the volunteer might have. For more information you might please see the “Living Set-up” and “Accommodation” on the chosen volunteer project page. A private room might be possible and such arrangement could be done after the registration.

VET can arrange and ask for any special wish like is a group or couple or family volunteering. We will be happy to offer you some discount upon your great decision to undertake a volunteer project in a group. Of course discounts are subject of each single project.

In such cases we can also ask the on-site volunteer coordinators for the private room availability.  All of these arrangements will be executed once you register successfully to the project.