Can I Volunteer Abroad in 2021? - COVID-19 Travel Update
A common question we are being asked in early 2021 is "what volunteer projects are currently running." As noted in a previous article, COVID-19 and government measures such as lockdowns have inflicted considerable pain in Latin America, both economically and socially. Things have been incredibly difficult for voluntary organisations and non-profits in the region over the past ten months. The purpose this post is not to examine or criticise government policies, or delve deeper into how our partner organisations are struggling through COVID-19, but to give a general travel and operational status update for prospective volunteers. There are three scenarios in play: 1) some projects are currently recruiting volunteers; 2) some projects have suspended volunteer recruitment until later in 2021; 3) some projects have suspended volunteer recruitment until 2022. Sadly, some projects in the region did not survive the tidal wave of COVID-19 and have closed their doors permanently.
So, it is possible to volunteer abroad in 2021. There are a number of Latin American countries where it is now possible to travel (depending on your home location), including Belize, Costa Rica, Mexico and Ecuador. Once you have established where you can travel, you can search for suitable projects in these countries. There are various online resources to monitor current entry restrictions and quarantine requirements for all Latin American countries such as the Skyscanner live map. You should check government guidance on travel rules and restrictions. For example, if you are a UK national or resident, you will have to quarantine if returning from a country on the COVID-19 'red list' at the time of writing. You should be flexible and adaptable to the evolving COVID-19 situation in the region. You might want to consider adopting a 'last minute' mindset with regards to volunteering abroad and purchasing flights rather than following the usual rule of booking far in advance.