Frequently Asked Questions
Keeping you safe!
The well-being and safety of our volunteers, students and interns is our top priority. We are closely monitoring the situation with the World Health Organization and are following the instructions of the official health authorities where our projects are located. In addition, all local staff are taking extra hygiene precautions and educating the volunteers as well as the community on these matters.
Volunteer programs are now open!
Please click on the following link to see the list of programs that are currently accepting volunteers, under strict local health and safety guidlines.
List of volunteer programs that are currently open
Flexible booking policy
We have been able to revise our previous cancellation policy and can now allow volunteers affected by the travel restrictions to reschedule their trip to any start date in 2021 for no extra cost. Read our full policy here.
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 legitimate?
Yes, GoEco is a well-known volunteer tourism company. We send over 2000 volunteers to placements world-wide each year. If you have any doubts, please see our Reviews & Awards 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.
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 been operating since 2006 and has placed more than 15,000 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
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. 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 required once applicants have successfully completed the initial phone interview and meet the requirements. This will kickstart the approval by the local team and reserve your placement on the program.
Our deposits have a 100% flexibility guarantee. In the event of any schedule changes down the road, your deposit is valid to any program on our website for 2 years.
For full details on our deposit and payment policies, please refer to 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
- 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 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!
When is the full payment due?
Your balance payment is required either 60 days from the date of your deposit payment or 60 days before your project start date, whichever date is earlier.
Registration and Flights
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. Once you have decided on your preferred project, 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 will automatically update. Next, click on the green “Apply Now” button and fill out the form. Once completed, press the “Submit Application” button.
2. At this stage your request 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 request to the operations team, who will then proceed to secure your placement.
3. Usually, your placement can be confirmed in less than 10 days, following these steps:
• Within 48 hours you will be sent a link to your online application- submit this right away.
• If your project starts within 60 days of your registration, we must receive your balance payment in full before moving forward with your trip planning.
• Upon receipt of your completed application, we will communicate with the local field team to confirm your placement.
• Once confirmed, the operations team will send you a confirmation email with all of the details about your project and the next steps required to plan for your trip.
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.
What is your cancellation policy?
Our policy is all about flexibility. If you have a schedule change, we offer free postponements. If your goals, interests, or internship requirements have changed, we offer free program switching.
If you need to cancel your trip, here is our refund and flexibility policy:
- Deposit: Although the $350 deposit is not refundable, it is 100% flexible to be applied towards any program on our website in 2 years as a GoEco credit.
- Advanced Notice: Your balance payment (the full program fee minus the non-refundable deposit) is fully refundable provided you request the refund with 31 days notice or more before your scheduled start date.
- Last Minute Notice: Any cancellation with less than 31 days notice is considered last minute and the full trip payment is non-refundable. In the event that you need to cancel your trip last minute due to an unforeseen even or emergency, the full trip payment is saved as a GoEco credit for your specific program to be used used anytime in 1 year. Extensions for more than 1 year are available upon request. Trip cancellation insurance is also recommended for non-refundable emergency cancellations.
- Diving programs: GoEco diving programs are not able to offer the same flexibility to postpone for free for any last minute emergencies no matter the reason. They are subject to the full cancellation policy of the local dive centers and therefore 100% of the fee is lost if a cancellation is done with less than 31 days notice. Make sure to purchase a comprehensive travel insurance which covers cancellations for all GoEco diving programs. This will ensure you’re covered for any last minute emergencies or changes.
- Changing Programs: If you cancelled your trip with advanced notice of 31 days or more, you’re free to use your credit to any program on our website. A last minute cancellation with less than 31 days notice means that a change of project location is no longer possible. Your credit will be saved on-site for the same GoEco program to use in the future for up to one year.
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.
All volunteers need to also pass a national criminal background check to qualify for a GoEco program.
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?
It is the sole responsibility of the participant to ensure that he/she has a valid passport and appropriate visa for travel. For more information, click here.
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.
Health and Safety
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. GoEco requires all volunteers to pass a national criminal background check in order to qualify for our programs in advance. 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?
GoEco considers the safety and security of each of our participants as our top priority, and insurance is important to have in the event that something unexpected happens such as a personal injury, a flight issue or related scenario. For this reason, travel medical coverage is mandatory for the duration of your placement abroad.
Please choose the insurance provider that best suits your needs. For your convenience, we have compiled a list of reputable insurance providers which offer various policies including travel medical and/or trip cancellation:
While GoEco partners with the three companies listed above, you should make a free and fully informed decision to select any insurance provider that best suits your needs.
Will I need immunizations prior to travel?
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.
Can I volunteer with a group of friends or family?
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?
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.