As you tick off your bucket list of travel destinations, do you ever feel like there’s still something missing?

Sure staying at a fancy resort, or bungee jumping off some break-neck cliff can be awesome, but what about using your travel experiences to lend a hand? Giving of yourself can feel amazing and with so many opportunities to give back, travelers can take their pick.

Unfortunately, in the last decade natural disasters have rocked countries to their cores, and as citizens pick up the pieces, travelers can take time out of their vacation schedules to aid those affected.

Volunteer travel allows you to do just that, and finding an option that best suits you is as easy as turning to Google for a list or . . . many. When you’ve decided on a volunteer-related or charitable cause you want to work with, reaching out to organizers is often pretty simple and they welcome the help.

Haitian children.

Since the catastrophe that was the Haitian earthquake (2010), volunteers from across the world continue to flock to the island’s shores in order to provide aid in various ways. There has been rebuilding, medical care, and more provided for this disaster-stricken nation and with this help, the country has begun to show some signs of revitalization.

Also in 2010, when the American Gulf coastline experienced the major oil spill, volunteer services were provided to help deal with this manmade disaster. You see, while natural disasters are an obvious reason to reach out to the global community, manmade disasters, poverty, and civil unrest, result in situations that leave individuals homeless, without food or clean water, and destitute.

So what can you expect as a volunteer? Often you’ll have free lodging for a while, not a glamorous set-up as this isn’t your usual “bask in the sun” vacation, but a place to relax after a long day. Next you’ll be assigned a particular area and job, and sent where your help is most needed. You can try many jobs while on your volunteer vacation, and if you find one you’re best at, focus your efforts there. Jobs can include: rebuilding and/or restoring structures, distributing food, water and other necessary items, and rehabilitating animals.

Be prepared to get your hands dirty, roll up those sleeves and dive into volunteer travel!

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