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For Sunday, August 3, 2014

By McClatchy News Services


Here's a website that can help you travel with a passion and a purpose.

» What it does: Makes the path to global volunteering accessible and affordable.

» What's hot: The website's easy-to-search format puts volunteer opportunities right in front of you. It's also incredibly detailed. I feel as though all the I's have been dotted and the T's crossed, including pickup at the airport, orientation, Wi-Fi availability, meal plans, 24/7 emergency service and additional costs. That gives me a lot of assurance, particularly if I'm unfamiliar with the destination (as I was when I looked at volunteering at a football school in the slums of Kampala, Uganda). There are a number of causes to choose from, including children and youth, community development, education and literacy, wildlife, hunger, advocacy and human rights. Prices were surprisingly reasonable.

» What's not: Sometimes I would click on a featured box only to discover that no current opportunities were available. It'd be great if you could filter your search so that only available offers appeared in your results. It would also be helpful if you could search according to the length of volunteer service required, as there often is a minimum. For example, I'd like to fine-tune my search so it yields options that fit a two-week trip. No need to read through destinations that require a three-month commitment if I can't be gone that long.

Jen Leo, Los Angeles Times

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