Working holidays

By | Category: Travel rumblings

My parents used to tell me stories of holidays spent in the Kent hop fields helping out to bring in the crops as they ripened. It was a way of making some extra money, being out in the sunshine and helping farmers who otherwise wouldn’t have had the labour they required.

Today, such holidays are largely things of the past. Seasonal workers from Eastern Europe fill that gap as British people seem unwilling to do the work.

As the popularity of taking a year off between school and university grew, some people didn’t just travel but went and undertook volunteer work in overseas countries. For this they raised money and the volunteer or charitable group for which they worked provided board and lodging.

Volunteering abroad to help people, groups or destinations less fortunate than ourselves has now travelled in another direction. Instead of you finding the fare, some organisations are charging a lot for you to help them. A holiday in Africa can now cost you £1,000 for a fortnight. For that you get a flight plus bed and board but you are expected to put in a full day’s work as well. Those expenses that the charity faces in having you help out are now being paid by you. In addition, you are also paying on top for the privilege of being there. The difference now is that instead of stayed in shared accommodation you will probably have something a bit better and – in some instances – en-suite and four star equivalent accommodation.

To many people that is of no concern. They are happy to help and happy to pay.  Some may feel aggrieved.  Just as charity shops compete on the high street with retailers, could some of charities and organisations be on the verge of competing with small, niche holiday companies?

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