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The Volunteer Traveler's Handbook (edition 2012)

by Shannon O'Donnell

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135723,089 (4.22)1
Member:wolfjack
Title:The Volunteer Traveler's Handbook
Authors:Shannon O'Donnell
Info:Full Flight Press (2012), Paperback, 138 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:ebook, ER/Member Giveaway, Reviewed, Non-fiction, travel

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The Volunteer Traveler's Handbook by Shannon O'Donnell

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I would consider The Volunteer Traveler's Handbook an essential read for anyone interested in volunteering (especially abroad) with little to no experience. For those with slightly more experience, I would label this book as a highly recommended read. For the seasoned volunteer, well, you'll have to gauge from the rest of the review and other reviewers as my level of experience extends only to about seven to ten short-term volunteer trips (local and abroad). On the whole, the book is full of extremely useful information on a wide variety of topics (see table of contents) while sprinkled throughout with stories and advice from other travelers for color.

For those interested in volunteering, but unsure of where to start, O'Donnell poses pertinent questions that will help the reader develop a game plan and narrow in on the kind of trip they'd like to do. I like this aspect of the book because I think it's essential in helping people discover their reasons for volunteering and leads to volunteering that's more fulfilling. This is also true of those with a little more experience under their belt.

The chapters are well laid out and give the reader quick access to topics they may want to later return to. This, one will undoubtedly want to do considering the wealth of resources within—when searching for organizations with whom to volunteer, when planning for one's trip, etc.

Besides practical advice, responsible volunteering is another key focus of this book. O’Donnell does a good job of laying out a framework by which one can act responsibly, while leaving room for the reader to develop their own philosophy. I'm currently taking a course from EdX, The Challenges of Global Poverty, that examines effective ways of helping fight poverty, and I think O'Donnell's framework meshes fairly well with what we've been talking about. (Readers of this book, who are also looking to deepen their understanding of the mechanisms of global poverty, may be interested in the book for this course, Poor Economics, which is written in such a way that non-economics majors can understand and enjoy it. Or, you may be interested in taking the MIT course, which is currently free at EdX)

I could go on, but considering all the positive reviews I've seen on this book, if you're at all considering volunteering, you can't go wrong with The Volunteer Traveler's Handbook. I plan on going through this book again when I plan my next volunteer trip and am looking forward to more informed travels. Happy volunteering!

Disclaimer: Received book through the Member Giveaway program. ( )
  Earthlark | Mar 14, 2013 |
This book offers a comprehensive look at what you need to do and prepare for if you are considering volunteering abroad. Aside from pointing out issues that one may not have considered, I liked that the author also included the obvious (at least to me!)....because this is often what one overlooks. The personal anecdotes are short and compliment the focus of the text...a nice balanced combination. Plenty of outside links are included for further reading. It's clear one must do one's due diligence before, during (and even after!) committing to volunteering abroad and this is a valuable guideline. ( )
  suniru | Jan 16, 2013 |
Very useful book with a lot of things to take into account that otherwise I wouldn't have considered. ( )
  maib2 | Jan 11, 2013 |
Disclaimer: Received this book through the ER/Member Giveaway program.

Just what it says; a handbook about volunteering and the myriad opportunities and personal satisfaction that's possible to find out there, especially worldwide.

I found the handbook was a great mixture of personal, anecdotal and technical. The author is a long time volunteer and runs a respected blog on the topic. Throughout the work there are both wonderful resources and links mentioned and also short detailed snapshots of the experiences of the author, other volunteers and volunteer organization/agency spokespeople.

I was happy to find a nice amount of photos included in the handbook, often they were perfectly suited to the topic being discussed or the locale described.

The handbook made me want to run out and volunteer or at the least think of the many small ways we can help out others.

Despite being partly instructional, the handbook wasn't dry or stuffy and is a quick read. I found my world view opened up a bit after reading through some of the examples the author lists as having a direct and lasting impact on various communties in different countries.

The handbook was well organized and went smoothly from chapter to chapter.

I have a pet peeve with words missing or spelled incorrectly and I'm happy to say that I didn't find anything like that in the handbook.

I'd love to see the author follow up in the future with a volunteer handbook targeted for the United States.

To sum it up, this was a good, quick read that still really affected me. I think casual readers would not find it too hard to follow or technical and readers with a desire for details and helpful references or insights will both be happy. ( )
1 vote wolfjack | Dec 4, 2012 |
This is an excellent resource for anyone considering volunteering. It thoroughly covers all the areas you need to consider to become a volunteer traveler. I'll keep it handy for reference. ( )
1 vote pjmanley41 | Nov 11, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0987706144, Paperback)

The Volunteer Traveler's Handbook guides new and veteran travelers through the challenges of finding, vetting, and choosing their ideal volunteer experience. The book's practical advice is interwoven with first-person narrative, stories from a wide range of volunteers, beautiful photography, and expert interviews to help interested volunteers find meaningful ways to give back to communities all over the world-through volunteering, but also through social enterprises and supporting sustainable tourism practices.

This handbook is filled with advice beyond merely where to volunteer, it delves deep into the industry and answers the questions you never thought to ask. The handbook covers: 

  - the psychology and ethics of volunteering.
  - volunteer stories from the author, solo travelers, families, professionals, and many others.
  - practical strategies for finding and vetting volunteer organizations.
  - tips to adjust to life as a volunteer.
  - traveling advice covering safety, packing, food, and cultural immersion.
  - resource lists of international volunteering opportunities and sustainable enterprises to begin your research.

Practical, inspiring, and realistic, The Volunteer Traveler's Handbook equips interested volunteers with the information they need to make informed and ethical decisions on their next trip.   

This book is part of The Traveler's Handbook Series, which includes books on career break, food, luxury and solo travel. Each niche guide is designed to help travelers see the world in a unique way.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:51:34 -0400)

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