goeco@goeco.org   |   USA: +16462404545

Frequently Asked Questions

What is GoEco? Tell me more about your organization. 

GoEco is a company that believes in responsible tourism and leaving the places we travel to in a better condition than when we arrived.  In order to achieve this goal, GoEco partners with organizations around the world which are dedicated to providing humanitarian aid in local communities and wildlife rehabilitation and ecological conservation within local parks and reserves.  GoEco sends like-minded and philanthropic volunteers to contribute to the aims of these projects and gain meaningful experiences that enrich their lives much more than typical commercial travel.

To read more about how GoEco began and expanded to what we are today, take a glance through our About Us section.

Is GoEco a reputable company? 

Yes, GoEco is a well-known volunteer tourism company.  We send over 1000 volunteers to placements world-wide each year. If you have any doubts, please see our Recommended By page to read articles about GoEco which have been published on top news websites including Us News & World Report, Goodnet, The Guardian and more.  Don’t miss our great video clip from the Today Show!  
Also, check out what past volunteers had to say about their GoEco volunteer trips via our Volunteer Blog or through volunteer reviews at GoOverseas.com and GoAbroad.com.   Feel free to join our Facebook Fan page and post to hear about the experiences of past volunteers.
 

Why should I choose to volunteer through GoEco?

  • GoEco prices are highly competitive and, are usually cheaper than trying to do it yourself.  In most cases, our prices include travel health insurance.  
  • We offer excellent customer service from start to finish.  We answer our phone calls and always return emails within 1 – 2 days or sooner.  GoEco also has a 24 hour emergency phone number for volunteers to use if they need support while traveling.  
  • GoEco has nine years of experience and has placed more than 5000 volunteers at projects.
  • The GoEco Placement Coordinators are knowledgeable about all of our projects and will of course help you choose the best project(s) if you are undecided.  
  • GoEco continually updates the website in an effort to ensure that all information is easily accessible and accurate.  We regularly add new projects that our volunteers will find interesting.  
  • Once you register, GoEco will make sure you have all the 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.
  • GoEco representatives have been to each of the projects we represent in order to vet the projects.  We only work with projects that value our volunteers and offer an excellent volunteering experience.  

Why do I have to pay to volunteer?

GoEco partners with numerous admirable organizations around the world which are dedicated to supporting the needs of their local community whether it is through humanitarian aid, wildlife rehabilitation or ecological conservation efforts.  Taking on volunteers to help with such efforts incurs a variety of expenses which the projects and communities themselves cannot support. Therefore, a participation fee is required from volunteers to fund these initiatives. 
 
The costs are to provide food and housing for volunteers, training, supervision and safety precautions as well as certain costs included in running the projects successfully.  Most projects also include full travel health insurance coverage for the volunteer.  Know that without your physical and financial help, these organizations would not have the power necessary to continue the fabulous and worthwhile work they commit themselves to. The participation fee varies depending on the location and needs of each specific program.
 

***please note that all prices listed on the website are in USD.

Why do I have to pay a deposit?                                

The deposit is simply to hold your placement spot at the volunteer project for the dates that you want and to continue the application process.  If, for any reason, you are not accepted at a project, GoEco will refund 100% of your deposit or apply your deposit to another program of your choice, provided there is availability.  Please note that the deposit amount is deducted from the total cost of your project.  
 
You may cancel your registration up to 7 days after making your deposit for a full refund minus a $30 processing fee.  You must cancel in writing as stated by our Terms and Conditions.

What is included in the cost of the trip?

The program fee for a GoEco trip covers various things depending on the project itself. In general, most projects include the following in their cost: 

  • Accommodations for the duration of your stay
  • Food
  • Travel health insurance coverage unless otherwise stated
  • Airport pickup upon arrival to the country 
  • In-country orientation and training to familiarize volunteers with their surroundings and the work they will be doing

To find out exactly what is included for the project in which you are interested, read through the “What’s Included” section on the project’s site page. 

How does the registration process work?

If you are interested in volunteering at one of our projects you just need to follow a few simple steps.
 
1.  After you have decided on the project for which you would like to apply, choose one of the available dates from the drop down start date menu, along with the number of weeks you would like to volunteer. The project costs should automatically update with the information you have entered for your application on your payment link. The next step is to click the green Apply Now button and fill out the form.  Then press the Submit Application button. 
 
2.  At this stage your application form will be sent automatically to a placement coordinator who will contact you and answer any questions you may have about GoEco and the project. If you do not have any questions for a placement coordinator, you may follow the on screen prompt and proceed to make your deposit online. This will automatically send your application to the operations manager who will then proceed to secure your placement.
 
3.  Next, the GoEco Operations Manager will send you your registration receipt and will email you additional forms to fill out and email back.  The on-site project coordinator will then approve your forms and your placement will be confirmed via a confirmation email.  Most projects will confirm your placement within a few days of receiving your forms, but some can take up to 10 days for approval.  If you are not approved for any reason, 100% of your deposit will be returned.
 
Please note that because some of our projects require a phone interview, the application process may take up to one month to complete.  

How can I raise the money for my trip?

Many of our past volunteers have had success with crowd fundraising websites such as FundMyTravel. This type of fundraising is a great way to not only raise the money for your trip, but also to spread awareness about your cause to your friends, family, and community. 

Additionally, if you are a student, many universities offer grants and scholarships for trips such as ours which have both educational and philanthropic components. Check with your university to see if you are eligible. 

Take a read through our Volunteer Fundraising page for tips on how to successfully raise money for your trip!

Am I qualified to participate on a GoEco program? 

A GoEco volunteer must be at least 18 years of age*, enthusiastic about making the world a better place, independent and determined to work hard, and open-minded about new cultures and experiences. 

*In some cases, a minor may be allowed to participate with either supervision by the minor’s parent/guardian on the project or written consent from a parent/guardian.  If you have questions regarding minors participating in one of our projects, our representatives would be happy to address your individual situation and discuss the options with you. 

Do I need to speak the local language?

You do not need to know any language other than English in order to participate in our projects except for the projects taking place in Central and South America. An important aspect of many of our volunteer projects is introducing remote communities to English-speakers and giving them a chance to learn and practice the language themselves. Therefore, your English skills are utilized and appreciated as an benefit of the project itself, regardless of the type of volunteer work you will be doing. 

Our projects in Central and South America, however, all require at least beginner’s level Spanish. For these projects, there is often a Spanish course incorporated into the orientation to brush up on your conversation skills, as well as the option to continue taking Spanish lessons throughout the duration of your volunteer work. 

Will I need a visa and/or passport?

In order to participate in one of our volunteer programs abroad, every participant will need both a passport issued by his/her country of citizenship as well as a tourist visa issued by the country to which he/she will be traveling. The passport should be valid until at least 3 months following the expected return home date. 

A visa for the country in which you choose to travel will need to be obtained by the volunteer. GoEco can give guidelines on how to do so for each particular country, however, cannot provide any actual assistance in obtaining the visa. For exact requirements needed to obtain one, visit your local consulate for the country of travel or contact the experts at CIBT.

It is the sole responsibility of the participant to ensure that he/she has a valid passport and appropriate visa for travel.  

How far ahead of time do I need to apply?

We recommend that you apply at least 4 months prior to the date you wish to travel. However, the earlier you apply, the earlier you will be able to reserve your spot on the trip and the project is less likely to fill up before you register. If you are looking to travel in fewer than 4 months, send in your application anyways and we can often accommodate in a much shorter period of time, as long as there is still availability on the project. 

When should I book my flights?

We know that you are excited to start your volunteer project but please do not book your flights until you have received your confirmation email.  Once you have that, you may go ahead and book your tickets.  For more information on getting the best flights, please read our Flights page.  

When is the full payment due?

The remaining balance will be due in full, (minus the deposit fee) 60 days prior to your start date. 

What if I need to change the dates of my trip after I have registered?

This is OK! Registration does not lock you into any one project or start date. The deposit is transferable for any other start date or any other project that we offer for up to one year from your original start date.

What is your cancellation policy?

In the event of a cancellation within 7 days of your deposit, GoEco will return the deposit amount minus a $30 processing fee.  

The following information explains our cancellation policy for the remaining balance of the participation fee, based on the number of days before your program arrival date:

  • 61+ days: 80% of participation fee refunded excluding the deposit
  • 60-31 days: 50% of participation fee refunded excluding the deposit
  • 0-30 days: 0% of the participation fee refunded excluding the deposit

The reason for the reducing scale of refunds is to allow GoEco to refer committed volunteers to its partner organizations and thus maintain a good working relationship. In the event that you do cancel, GoEco will try to find a suitable replacement volunteer to carry out your placement, and the less time before the placement is due to start, the more expense and difficulty we will have in recruiting this person. Please note that in cases where you have already changed the start date of your placement, cancellation fees will be determined based on the original start date of your placement.

Can I volunteer with a group of friends or family? Can we get a group discount?

Yes, we will gladly accommodate for groups or families in many of our programs. Contact one of our representatives to go through your options. Discounts can be given to groups and families of 2 or more people. 

Can I go on more than one program back-to-back?

Yes! We would be happy to arrange a specialized volunteering itinerary encompassing multiple volunteer projects for a well-rounded and thrilling adventure! This arrangement is great for students looking to take a gap year or anyone wanting to take some time off from the routine of daily life and experience new cultures and work environments.  

What are the accommodations like? Can I request my own room?

The accommodations vary from program to program. Some are very rustic with basic conditions but others are more comfortable. Accommodations can range from a room in a furnished volunteer house near the volunteer site to shared rooms at a local youth hostel, and from tents or cabins on a reserve to homestays with local families. Regardless, all of our volunteer accommodations are sure to provide the necessities for our participants. The specific details regarding the accommodations at each project can be found on the project page under "Full Details." 

Private rooms can often be arranged for a single participant or a couple if notified ahead of time and for an additional fee. These arrangements can be made following registration. 

How does GoEco ensure the safety of your volunteers abroad?

We understand the concerns that participants may have regarding international travel in a foreign country. We are here to assure you that your safety while on one of our programs is our top priority. We have 24-hour emergency support in every country to which we send our volunteers. Additionally, each of our projects have staff coordinators located either on-site or nearby the project whom volunteers may contact if they need any assistance or have questions while on the project. 

Do I need travel health insurance in order to participate?

Here at GoEco, our top priority is to provide our volunteers with a fun and safe experience abroad. To ensure the safety of our participants while on their project, we require each volunteer to be covered with travel health insurance for the duration of their stay. 

For your travel convenience, GoEco has teamed up with CareMed International Travel Insurance to incorporate a comprehensive coverage policy for international travel into the large majority of our programs. Please click here to see the schedule of benefits and read the full policy.  Following your deposit payment you will be emailed an Insurance Declaration Form. Once you have sent the signed form and paid the balance of the participation fee, you will receive an insurance confirmation (the insurance will be valid only after you receive the CareMed confirmation).

For programs in Israel, GoEco has teamed up with Harel Insurance Company and Mango Insurance Agency  to incorporate a comprehensive health insurance policy for volunteer travel in Israel. Please click here to read the full policy.  Following your final confirmation you will be emailed an Insurance Declaration Form. Once you have sent the signed form and paid your participation fee in full, you will receive an insurance confirmation no earlier than 1 week before the insurance start date (the insurance will be valid only after you receive the Mango confirmation). 
  • The travel health insurance policy must be issued at latest 7 days prior to departure. 
  • The travel health insurance policy is valid for applicants aged from 3 months – 65 years.  Applicants over this age need to purchase a different insurance plan for an extra cost. 
  • The travel health insurance price, which is included in the prorgam fee is non-refundable under any circumstance.  
  • Please note that travel health insurance is not included in the program cost of every trip we offer. To see if your program includes it, please look in the “What’s Included” section on the project page. 
  • In the case that your program does not include travel health insurance or if you require health insurance coverage for longer than the duration of your chosen project(s), the CareMed policy is still available to any of our participants for an additional fee of USD $3 per day and the Harel Health policy for an extra fee of USD $3 per day. 
  • No insurance liability exists for illnesses and complaints known to the insured person at the time of conclusion of contract, or of conclusion of a follow-up contract, and their foreseeable consequences, or for the foreseeable consequences of illnesses and accidents of the insured person treated within a period of six months prior to the conclusion of contract.

Will I need immunizations prior to travel?

Each country suggests or requires different immunizations for travel. It is best to consult your physician prior to departing for suggestions regarding immunizations for your specific country of travel to ensure that you will be best protected while on your project. 

Will there be time to travel and sight-see while I am volunteering abroad?

Of course! Most of our volunteer projects give ample free time for just this! We understand that you want to explore your surroundings, as well as the diversity of the country you have traveled to, and our projects are flexible to accommodate for this. Additionally, the on-site coordinators are often happy to help you plan out any activities or small trips you want to take while on your placement. 

Recommended By

GoEcoNewsletter