Frequently asked questions
Why should I choose Saga Volunteer Travel?
There are several aspects which make Saga Volunteer Travel unique. First and foremost, we take the time to understand your capabilities so that we can match you with the most suitable project and channel your resources appropriately.
Unlike some other organisations we don’t spend time teaching you new skills that community members themselves could learn; we prefer to empower local staff and give them the skills and resources to achieve change.
By offering placements of a minimum four weeks we can be certain that your presence is beneficial to everybody. You will be given plenty of support but also a healthy degree of autonomy. This includes giving you a say, wherever possible, in what your project donation should be spent on.
As you’ll see from our volunteer reports, our volunteers often become so involved with the communities they work with that they continue to raise funds and keep contact with new-found friends when they arrive home. Some even return to volunteer for a second or third time.
Finally, as Saga is ATOL and ABTA bonded you have the protection of travelling with a licensed tour operator which will arrange your flights, accommodation and volunteer placement all as one hassle-free package.
Why do I have to pay to volunteer when I am already offering my services for free?
The projects we work with are located in economically poor communities and are extremely short of funds. They do not have the resources required to finance a volunteer programme and all that it involves, such as providing materials and support staff.
Without our volunteers’ generous donation of time and money these projects could not function. But rest assured that your hard-earned money will always reach the community itself and contribute to the well being and development of those who need it most.
I don't have any qualifications – can I still volunteer?
Saga Volunteer Travel is unique in that all our volunteers are able to contribute in a valuable way, whatever their life experience. Regardless of qualifications we will be happy to discuss your strengths with our local project staff to determine how you can help.
How will my money be spent?
The following table indicates how volunteers’ money is used...
|Daily transport, refreshments, regular briefings and local orientation.|
|Project management fees
|Supervision of work including the operational cost of staff, plus a named person who you can contact at any time of the day or night in case of an emergency.|
|Direct contribution to the needs of the specific project - every volunteer is fully informed before they travel as to how this money is likely to be spent and whenever possible are consulted as to what the money should be used for during the placement.|
|Covers the costs involved in the matching process between projects and volunteers.|
|The remainder of the package covers the cost of your international flights, all your meals - including a packed lunch on days when you are at the project - and the services of a Saga representative at your accommodation.|
*Project managed by Saga
How have the projects been selected?
Our close links with the Saga Charitable Trust and Saga Holidays allows us to identify the most suitable regions to be involved with. We then spend time with the people in those areas to establish sustainable projects and agree on the most rewarding work for volunteers to undertake.
The actual benefits for the local community are always our foremost consideration and through our partnerships we commit to providing long-term, ongoing support to the projects.
How can I make sure I'm properly prepared?
All the information and documentation regarding your volunteer placement will be provided by Saga Volunteer Travel and the communities’ own project management teams well in advance of your trip.
If you wish, we can also arrange for you to speak to previous volunteers. All arrangements for your travel will be organised by Saga Holidays.
What should I do about insurance?
Please note, Saga's travel insurance is not included in your booking. Please ensure that you have adequate insurance before you travel.
We now include our highly popular UK door-to-door travel service in every volunteer booking, which means you can enjoy chauffeur-service from your door to your local or international airport.
What is a project management team?
Part of what makes Saga Volunteer Travel unique among volunteer organisations is its relationships with local partners known as the Project Management Team, made-up of professional organisations who work closely with their local communities.
It is their knowledge of, and relationship with, the projects that ensures your volunteer placement is worthwhile for both you and the community.
Will I be working on my own?
There will be at least one Saga volunteer working on the same project as you, and sometimes up to three others. Your placement will also require you to work closely with local staff and volunteers.
What about my safety?
As on any Saga trip your welfare and safety are paramount and all reasonable care will be taken to ensure this. A Saga representative or Project Management Team will be on hand at your hotel and you will be given a named contact and 24-hour emergency number for extra peace of mind.
During your working day you will be in the care of the project management team who will provide you with all necessary advice regarding your safety on the project.
They will also ensure that you have the details of a named contact in the unlikely event that an emergency occurs while you are volunteering.
Do the project staff speak English
Not all of the staff will, but there will be an English-speaking Saga representative or Project Management Team at the hotel and all of our project management teams have English speakers among them.
What can I do in my free time?
Some volunteers like to take it easy at the weekends and make use of the hotel’s leisure facilities, while others take advantage of their location to explore further afield. At most accommodation there will be other Saga customers, and yourSaga representative or Project Management Team will be able to arrange excursions for you and give advice on what to see and do.
What does 'being screened' mean?
If your placement puts you in contact with children or vulnerable adults you will be asked to partake in a screening process. This will require you to register with the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) which will then make checks against their own database and those of individual police forces to determine that you have no criminal record relating to offences against children or vulnerable adults.
The resulting document will be sent to you and us. If you are unwilling to participate in this process, it is unlikely that we will be able to secure a placement for you. To learn more about the CRB disclosure visit crb.gov.uk
What does 'matching' mean?
Our truly different approach is in individually matching the right volunteer to the right project, ensuring that your experience will be meaningful, rewarding and safe for both you and the community.
What will my baggage allowance be?
You are only permitted the same luggage allowance for a typical flight – these limits are dictated by the airlines and we are unable to negotiate them.
Generally speaking, you will be allowed one piece of main luggage with the maximum weight varying from 20 to 23kg, plus a piece of hand luggage. Anything over the allowance will occur additional charges. You will be sent details of the exact amount with your travel documents.
Volunteers often wish to take items that may benefit the project, but we urge you to discuss this with us first. Please bear in mind that items purchased locally at your destination will help support local economic development and employment.
Can I combine my volunteering with a holiday?
Whether you want to stay on at the hotel and enjoy some leisure time before travelling home or wish to see more of the area on a tour or two-centre holiday, we should be able to help. Explore our hotel stays and touring holidays, then contact us for specific costs and availability.
Still have questions?
Call us free on 0800 015 6981 between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday, contact us or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.