Have questions? See our answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) below!

Look below for answers to frequently asked questions about our trips, about the volunteering experience, about travel insurance, and more. If your question is not answered here, then please contact us and we’ll respond personally and promptly!

Click the expandable links below for answers to frequently asked questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Experience the satisfaction which comes from helping some of the world's greatest landscapes and cultural sites and protecting and promoting biodiversity . Six compelling reasons to volunteer with us are (click to view details):
  1. Extraordinary Destinations
  2. Environmental Impact
  3. A Sense of Accomplishment
  4. Experienced Trip Leaders
  5. Group Volunteering
  6. Lasting Memories of Place and People
We welcome people who are physically fit and who want to volunteer.
Yes! Conservation Volunteers International Program (ConservationVIP®) believes harassment of any kind is unacceptable behavior and inconsistent with our commitment to full access for all persons on our trips. We are committed to creating an environment in which every individual can participate in the activities of our organization without fear of harassment. ConservationVIP® does not promote or discriminate against any person, population group, or organization with regard to categories protected by applicable United States law, as well as other categories identified by ConservationVIP® in alignment with our own policies. These include, but are not limited to race, color, religion, sex, gender expression, physical appearance, language, education background, national origin, age, disability, and veteran status. For a more heartfelt description of our beliefs, please read our June 2020 newsletter, which states that we believe Black Lives Matter.
You must be 18 or older. Your health and safety are very important to us. We work with sharp tools and need to concentrate while using them. We’ve had volunteers in their late 70s — some of whom worked harder than people half their age! The bottom line is, you must determine whether your body — regardless of age — is up to the tasks. For more information about project tasks, check out the Project Details of the trip you’re interested in, or read the trip reports about past projects.
We get a great mix of people on our trips with a variety of motivations. They include:
  • People who want to conserve natural or cultural resources
  • Advocates for Special Places
  • Hikers who want to 'Give back' by repairing trails
  • People who enjoy the sense of accomplishment from working on an important project
  • People interested in working with locals to better understand the local culture
  • Travelers who want to focus on the destination, not the travel arrangements
  • Birdwatchers excited to see new birds in other areas
  • Photographers
  • Outdoor enthusiasts
  • Adventurers looking for fun
No. Prior experience planting vegetation or doing trail maintenance and restoration isn’t necessary. We provide training on each trip. As long as you are physically fit and are willing to learn, we welcome you!
Most trips have one or more couples, but many people come on their own. It is easy to strike up new friendships on the trip.
Teaming with REI Adventures from 2009 until early 2021 allowed ConservationVIP® to grow and expand. With their marketing support, we were able to focus our small volunteer staff on the activities where we have real passion, organizing and managing volunteer activities in the world's greatest landscapes and cultural heritage sites.
Emergency medical and evacuation insurance is mandatory for all ConservationVIP®volunteer trips. In addition to the mandatory medical and evacuation insurance, many volunteers also buy other travel insurance, which covers things like trip interruption or lost baggage. While COVID is causing frequent changes to travel plans, we recommend that you consider "cancel-for-any reason" travel insurance. We do not make specific company recommendations. We leave your choice of company and other travel insurance strictly up to you. See more information about travel insurance here.
We do not want to burden the park or the people who welcome us in any way. This is why we pay for food, lodging, and local transportation. It costs money to arrange the trips. We pay for liability insurance, web hosting, and fees to the various agencies that regulate nonprofits. We work hard to keep expenses down. All of our staff, including trip leaders, volunteer their time. As a nonprofit, we gratefully accept donations, which help cover some of our expenses. The fees you pay cover the rest.
We are not allowed to give tax advice, but for tax guidance we direct our volunteers to Internal Revenue Service Publication 526 (Charitable Contributions), which says:

Generally, you can claim a charitable contribution deduction for travel expenses necessarily incurred while you are away from home performing services for a charitable organization….The deduction for travel expenses will not be denied simply because you enjoy providing services to the charitable organization. Even if you enjoy the trip, you can take a charitable contribution deduction for your travel expenses if you are on duty in a genuine and substantial sense throughout the trip.

Conservation Volunteers International Program is a 501 (c)(3) qualified charitable organization. We try to structure our trips to ensure that participants are given the opportunity to contribute in a genuine and substantial sense throughout the trip. Please see your tax advisor to confirm the appropriate tax treatment for your trip expenses.
We all have different capacities for physical work, so we offer a variety of tasks. You choose the one(s) that suit you, and work at your own pace. We trust you to take a break whenever you need it. We want you to have happy memories of your trip, and return as fit and healthy as when you arrived — if not more so!
Our trip descriptions include an itinerary, which will give you a general description of activities you can expect on the trip. Please note, however, that every trip is unique. As volunteers successfully complete conservation and restoration activities, new activities or new areas can be targeted on subsequent departures. Because local conditions and the Park’s needs continually evolve, detailed plans are often finalized or revised after the group arrives and the trip leaders review the conditions at the site in light of the capabilities and special interests of the volunteers. Just prior to each trip, volunteers will be given updated information that includes details about where their specific group will be based, and an outline of the activities which are planned. Although we do our very best to adhere to that schedule, the itinerary is also subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control, including weather. A detailed discussion of specific activities will take place daily on the trip. Our volunteer trips offer the opportunity to experience the Park in a unique way not available to the average tourist. Our trips are a good fit for adventurous travelers who are comfortable with a flexible itinerary and truly want to make a difference.
No, unfortunately. The trips involve complex logistics. Trip leaders need to focus on organizing the work and handling logistics for the group. If you can’t stay for the entire trip this time, we hope you will sign up later when your schedule allows.
Plentiful, nutritious, and as delicious as possible! Food choices are dictated by the trip. The restaurants around Machu Picchu are able to take advantage of plentiful fresh fruits and vegetables, while the refugios in Torres del Paine do a remarkably good job of preparing food which must travel great distances to reach this end-of-the-world location.
Yes. Our trips generally offer non-meat options. If you are vegan or have food allergies, please talk to us about your restrictions before the trip.
No. Each trip begins and ends at the meeting place specified for the trip (Punta Arenas, Cuzco, Yosemite Valley, etc.) You are responsible for getting yourself to and from that meeting site.
Please read the details of our disclosures below regarding responsibilities and cancellation.

Management and Responsibilities Disclosure
The responsibility of Conservation Volunteers International Program, Inc., a California non-profit corporation, 501(c)(3), is strictly limited; Volunteer Project participant agrees that maximum liquidated damages shall not exceed the Volunteer Project price. ConservationVIP® is responsible only in the capacity for making arrangements for the Volunteer Project services offered, including hotels, transportation (whether by motorcoach, boat, train, airplane or any other means), guides, porterage, and meals from various suppliers (collectively Suppliers). The itineraries shown are subject to revisions, including substitution of hotels, activities and routes. If a service is not provided, and ConservationVIP® is unable to substitute a service of similar value, ConservationVIP’s liability shall not exceed the actual cost of the services not provided. ConservationVIP® does not own or operate any of these Suppliers. The Suppliers are not agents, servants, employees or joint ventures of ConservationVIP®, but are Independent Contractors providing travel services to ConservationVIP®.

Questions about Transfers from REI Adventures

For 11 years, ConservationVIP® teamed with REI Adventures. REI co-branded some of our popular trips, providing marketing, registration and pre-trip communications. This allowed ConservationVIP to grow and expand because we were able to focus our small volunteer staff on the activities where we have real passion, organizing and managing volunteer activities in the world’s greatest landscapes
REI Adventures decided to refocus their travel experiences to the US and discontinue all international travel effective May 2021.
ConservationVIP will now be your one-stop source for registering, information, and leading our volunteer travel trips. Travelers can expect to have the same high quality travel experience they have always had on our volunteer trips. ConservationVIP has always been responsible for arranging the volunteer trips which REI helped us to market. We arranged the travel logistics and the volunteer projects and we led the trips, so the trip experience will not change.
Unfortunately, no. They refunded the deposits to people who previously signed up for an international trip. Because of confidentiality concerns, they did not pass on the registration information to ConservationVIP. That means You will need to contact ConservationVIP , identify yourself as previously booked through REI Adventures, and then rebook through ConservationVIP.
Travelers who previously booked a volunteer trip through REI Adventures and want to continue on these trips please visit the destinations page on our website.
  • Select the trip you were signed up for and click the RESERVE MY TRIP button.
  • Fill out the simple form with all pertinent information that is requested.
  • We will then follow up with you as soon as we can.  We appreciate your patience as you wait to get a response from us. Our group of Volunteers is responding as quickly as possible.
  • If you have additional questions or need more information, please call the number just below the Reserve My Trip Button.
We prioritized travelers who previously signed up through REI Adventures and who contacted us to let us know they wanted to travel on the trip. So, if you were previously confirmed with REI, and you sent us the form to tell us that you still wanted to travel on the trip, you should have received an email from ConservationVIP, telling you that we know you want to go on the trip. After confirming the REI transfers, we opened the trips to other travelers on a first come, first serve basis as usual.
Absolutely Yes! We understand that your travel plans were very important to you, and receiving the cancellation news from REI was a big disappointment. We will do our best to make it as easy as possible for you to move your reservation from REI to ConservationVIP.

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