Healthcare volunteers take a group photo with students during a medical outreach in Kenya

Seven things to consider when volunteering abroad last minute

If you are considering a last minute volunteer opportunity, let us prepare you. We'll take you through everything you need to prepare beforehand.

By Jen Southern | 29th May, 2019
Updated on 28th July, 2023

Summer is fast approaching and you have no plans...Gasp! Shock! Horror! Don’t be that person who “wings it” while your classmates are vacationing or hustling with a summer job. It’s not too late to apply for a volunteer project or internship abroad this summer!


We have plenty of High School Special Projects and Flexi Trip Projects for you to choose from. We may be biased, but we’re sure you’ll leave with stories that outrank every one of your friends. And the bigger bonus is that these stories look great on university and job applications!

Projects Abroad volunteers add the final touches to a playground in Jamaica

When it comes to the logistics of a short notice trip, we can get things organised pretty quickly on our side. In theory, you could be in a new country within a week of applying. However, in practice, this is dependent on a few factors. Ideally, we’d recommend you give yourself 3 months to prepare, but 4-6 weeks will also give you plenty of time.


‘It’s great helping our volunteers and interns plan last minute trips! It can all seem very overwhelming, but I help them decide on a destination and project that’ll best suit them. I love being able to take all that stress away and help them make a last minute trip possible!’, says Holly Hubble, Project Expert.


Now, as much as we want you to sign up as a volunteer or intern ASAP, the timing is dependent on a few aspects. These are the things you need to consider before you apply:

#1 Passport

This is probably the most important aspect to consider before signing up for a last minute volunteer opportunity. Do you have a valid passport? And how long is it still valid for? As a general rule, passports should have at least six months of validity when travelling.


If you need to apply for your passport or your current one needs renewing, find out how long this process will take. You can then have a chat with our Project Experts about the best dates for your trip. Once you have the time frame, you can start preparing for your trip!

#2 Visas

The visa process is something that’ll play a big role when you decide what country you travel to. Visa policies are different all over the world, and some take longer to apply for than others. Visas are quite often a travellers biggest annoyance. But this doesn’t have to be the case for you.


If you are in a time crunch, we’d recommend countries that offer visas on arrival. We’d recommend the following countries to make your life easier:


  • Argentina
  • Botswana
  • Cambodia
  • Costa Rica
  • Ecuador
  • Jamaica
  • Kenya
  • Mexico
  • Nepal
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • South Africa
  • Tanzania


Luckily for you, we have an in-house visa team who’ll be able to advise you. So if there is a specific country you had in mind, and you aren’t sure about the visa process, they’ll talk you through it.

Projects Abroad staff taking a group photo during a community day in South Africa

#3 Flights

If you are still unsure about what country you’d like to volunteer or intern in, then take a look at flight prices and availability online. Some countries can be expensive to fly to at short notice, so this might help you narrow down your choices.


Our Project Experts are happy to advise you, however, we always recommend you take the time to do your own research. Google Flights or Skyscanner are great places to compare flights.


On the other hand, if you don’t want the hassle of booking your own flights, our Travel team can arrange your flights for you. This is especially helpful if you want to join a last minute international trip. It is one less thing for you to organise.


“We look for the best flight options for you so that they suit your plans in terms of route and price. We book flexible tickets, which are date changeable. If you need to change your travel dates for any reason, we can do so for a fee.”, says Terri Peters, Senior Flight Sales Consultant at Projects Abroad.

#4 Vaccinations

Once you’ve decided what country you’d like to go to, we recommend you visit your doctor or a travel clinic. They’ll be the best people to advise if you need any vaccinations or medications before departure. Some vaccinations might need two administrations at least four weeks apart, and others may provide instant protection.

Projects Abroad volunteers measure the blood pressure of children in Sri Lanka

#5 Parental Consent Forms

If you’re 18 and under, this is something for you.


Although this may only seem like a minor hiccup, we understand that some parents travel for work, even over the summer holidays. To ensure you are able to get a parent to sign a consent form, make sure they are home to sign it in the weeks or days leading up to your project. Simple as that.

#6 Criminal Record Checks

If you’re 18 and over, you’ll need a criminal record check to work with children. This specifically applies to volunteers joining our Childcare Projects. Your Volunteer Advisor will help you apply for this. It usually takes between 2-4 weeks to get, so we recommend you leave enough time between application and your project departure date.


If time is not on your side, we’d recommend projects that do not require this check. Our Conservation, Medicine & Healthcare, and Building Projects are often deemed the best last minute volunteer projects and internships abroad.

#7 Project Payment

With any of our volunteer projects or internships, you’ll pay a deposit when you apply. This is deducted from your total project fee. The final balance of your project fee is usually due 4 weeks before your departure date.


However, as a last minute volunteer or intern abroad, you’ll be asked to pay the balance as soon as you are accepted.

With this list in mind, there’s nothing stopping you from going for it. Will we be seeing you this summer?

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Want to know more about last minute volunteering abroad?

Get in touch with our Projects Experts. They'll be happy to answer any questions you may have.

08 7130 3970

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