Frequently Asked Questions
What is GoEco? Tell me more about your organization.
GoEco is an organization devoted to providing enthusiastic and philanthropic volunteers from around the world with exciting and meaningful experiences abroad, while giving much needed assistance to communities which suffer from harsh circumstances and benefit greatly from the services of our volunteers. To read more about how GoEco began and expanded to what we are today, take a glance through our About Us section.
Why do I have to pay to volunteer?
GoEco partners with numerous admirable organizations across the globe that are dedicated to supporting poverty-stricken communities, at-risk animal populations, and ecological efforts in their local regions. Taking on volunteers to help with such efforts incurs a variety of expenses which the communities themselves cannot support. Therefore, a participation fee is required from volunteers to fund these initiatives.
The expenses mentioned above provide food and housing for volunteers, training, supervision and safety precautions including full travel insurance coverage for the volunteer, as well as certain costs included in running the projects successfully. 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.
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
- Travel insurance coverage
- 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 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 aspects. 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 determine d 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 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 aspect 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 which he/she will be traveling to. 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.
It is the sole responsibility of the participant to ensure that he/she has a valid passport and appropriate visa for travel.
What is the application process?
There are two parts of this process, your application and your registration, throughout which we are available to help with any questions or concerns that come up.
First, you must complete our online application form for the project you are interested in. This can be done by clicking “Apply Now” on the specific project page. Once you fill out your personal and contact information we ask for a monetary deposit to complete the application. This is to ensure that you are serious about volunteering with us so that we can move on to the registration phase. After you have provided the deposit your registration is pending. Flights and travel arrangements should not be made until a final confirmation email has been received from the operations manager.
Following completion of the application, you will be contacted by our operations manager with some paperwork to fill out as you await official acceptance by the on-site coordinators for the specific project that you chose. Once you have received confirmation of your acceptance and have filled out the appropriate paperwork, you will be in close contact with our operations manager to complete your registration. This involves providing all the necessary documentation for the project, booking your flights, and receiving the specific information and instructions you will need to ensure a smooth travel and volunteering experience with us.
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 is the full payment due?
The deposit is due with your application, which comes out of the total cost of the project. The remaining balance will be due 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 cancellation, GoEco will retain your deposit fee. The following information explains our cancellation policy for the remaining balance of the participation fee.
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 applied with regard to 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 range from program to program. Some are very rustic, basic conditions, where others are more comfortable. Some will be in a furnished volunteer house near the volunteer site, where others may be in a local youth hostel or in basic cabins on-site. 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 at 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 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 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. The policy is tailored to the needs of our volunteers and accommodates for the diversity in length and type of volunteer work that our programs offer.
To see which projects include travel insurance, look for "Travel Insurance" in the "What's Included" section of each project page. If your project does not include travel insurance in the project cost, you can always purchase it at an additional fee.
For more details on what is covered by this plan, you can read through the full CareMed policy here.
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.