Global Village FAQs

Learn more about the Habitat for Humanity Global Village program.

Volunteer FAQs

What does a Global Village trip look like?

All trips vary based on the country and itinerary, but all of them include a mix of work, rest and free time. It is our desire that these trips not only utilize your skills to build safe, affordable houses in places where they are desperately needed, but also give you the opportunity to see another culture up-close and live like a local.

What is included in the trip cost?

Again, costs will vary by location, but fees include a donation to the host community’s Habitat program, in-country transportation, food, accommodations, select activities and travel medical insurance. Trip costs do not include airfare in and out of the country, activities beyond what is outlined in the trip details, visa and exit fees, any associated vaccines or trip cancellation insurance. For more information, see our Payment Policies and Procedures document.

Can anyone volunteer?

We welcome everyone who wants to contribute to our work, no matter your age, background, religion or race. Please note, however, that manual labor is a part of the trip, so all participants should be in good health. If you are under 18, please see our minor policy

How do I bring my group on a trip?

We’d love to have you! However, please be aware that it takes a great deal of planning to bring a group on a Global Village trip, and we recommend at least six months of preparation. Team sizes generally range from eight to 15 people, but other sizes may be accommodated. Please contact us to discuss bringing your group.

I haven’t traveled internationally before. How do I prepare?

Well, the great news is that you don’t need to speak another language or have previous experience to join! You will likely need a passport, but requirements for passports, visas and vaccines vary by country. Visit the volunteer resources section for additional information.

Is volunteering in another country safe?

Habitat has a long history of working in other countries, and volunteer health and safety is our top priority. Our partners in these nations know and live in the area, and help ensure a safe and valuable experience for volunteers year after year. We also regularly follow international travel advisories closely. While we cannot guarantee personal safety, we do everything possible to keep volunteers out of harm’s way, both on and off the work site, and also include travel medical insurance in the trip cost. However, it is up to each individual to assess the host country and trip details for their own comfort level. You must also be willing to follow the Global Village trip guidelines and follow the instructions of trip leaders and in-country connections for the best experience possible.

How much does a Global Village trip cost?

Habitat for Humanity’s Global Village program works to ensure that trips are well planned and coordinated, safe and constructive for volunteers. The ultimate purpose of Habitat Global Village trips is to improve the housing conditions of families around the world and provide volunteers with rewarding experiences and cultural exchange opportunities.

Each Habitat Global Village volunteer pays a program cost that is used in the following ways

Building program

A portion of the program cost helps to further Habitat’s homebuilding work by supporting program coordination and local construction. 

Volunteer logistics

A portion of the program cost covers logistics, including accommodations, meals, local transportation and some local cultural activities.

Volunteer team coordination

A portion of the program cost covers on-the-ground trip coordination by a trip leader and the Habitat host program. Expenses may include on-the-ground staff costs, translators, orientation materials, first aid supplies and a team leader’s expenses.

Health and safety

A portion of the cost covers a travel medical insurance policy and assistance in case of crisis for trips outside the United States. All program costs include a minimal contingency fee for emergencies.

The program cost does not include
  • Participant airfare.
  • Rest and recreation activities beyond local cultural activities.
  • Visa and exit fees (not applicable for all destinations).
  • Trip cancellation insurance. Read our trip cancellation FAQ
More information on payment policies

Payment policies and procedures (943KB .pdf). Read more about tax information.

What is a closed-registration team?

Closed teams are made up of participants who are associated with the same partnering organization—church, school, university, corporation, family, circle of friends, civic club, associations, HFH affiliate or any other type of already-formed group. The team leader is a member of the partnering organization or group.

What is an open-registration team?

An open team is designed to attract individuals who apply to join a GV team via the GV Web site where available trips are posted. Open team leaders may not know any of the applicants personally before the trip. At the time they are selected to join an open team, the majority of open team members have not previously met.

Global Village team leader FAQ

What is the purpose of maintaining a standard budget and itinerary for each project location?

The value of the standard budget and itineraries is three-fold:

  • Standard itineraries help us ensure that all Global Village participants have a meaningful and educational service experience. This allows participants to make serving families and learning about poverty and housing issues the central focus of their trip.
  • The standard budget and itinerary provides a consistent trip model that works best for the host program, allowing them to spend more time on other important tasks.
  • By providing a standard model for each project location, we also minimize the time invested by the leader, host and sending programs in recreating a new trip itinerary and budget for each GV trip. This allows for more time and energy to be used toward expanding Habitat’s work.

Why are we not including R&R in the standard itinerary and budget?

The purpose of the Global Village program is to “support the overall mission of Habitat for Humanity by working in partnership; providing cross-cultural experiences, mobilizing volunteers, building sustainable relationships and generating resources, in the hope of creating long-term advocates for affordable housing.”

The goal of the program is to provide a meaningful volunteer service experience for both the volunteers and hosts. We have listened to feedback from past participants who wanted more time spent on construction and education activities, and our standard itineraries now help us ensure building and education are at the heart of each GV trip and the planning process. There will still be plenty of opportunities for in-town cultural excursions during the evenings and weekends on many trips. Removing R&R from the budgets also ensures that money raised goes toward building efforts, helping us all to be good stewards of donors’ money.

Can I still do R&R?

Certainly. We recognize the value of and encourage international exploration. Team leaders who want to do extra traveling can contact agencies or tour companies that can provide additional and separate support for planning R&R activities. If a team leader elects to create an optional R&R trip for the team, your Web flyer will note “consult with team leader regarding optional R&R plans.” If a team leader creates an optional R&R plan, all funds will need to be paid directly to the tour or travel agency, not to the team leader or to Habitat for Humanity.

Volunteers do have the option to extend their trip independently.

Can a team leader request a shorter or longer itinerary?

Yes. While we encourage team leaders to us the standard budgets and itineraries, created in partnership between the U.S. sending program and the host country, your Volunteer Engagement specialist can work with you to adjust the itinerary for your group as necessary.

What does the standard budget include?

The budgets include the costs of the team traveling to and from the host program once in country, as well as their daily expenses while working with the host program. Standard budgets include expenses for a mobile phone, first-aid kit and a 10 percent contingency fee.

The standard budgets are based on a minimum of 10–12 participants, including the team leader, unless otherwise noted.

This range does not include team leader costs, but team leaders may incorporate their costs into the budget. The team leader may pay or fund-raise for all or a portion of his or her expenses or incorporate some or all of his or her trip cost and air fare in the team budget. The team leader needs to complete Part 3 of the budget form if he or she plans to incorporate his or her costs in the team budget.

How were the costs determined?

We have worked to make trips as affordable as possible, while also ensuring that budgets will cover the team’s costs and donation. Budgets were developed with input from both the U.S. sending program and host program. Some trip costs are higher than in the past because of a number of factors:

  • In-country costs in most locations have increased due to inflation and higher fuel prices.
  • All trip costs include a donation to the national program. The host program sets this donation amount.
  • Many of the budgets are based on a lower minimum team size of 10 (nine participants paying for one leader’s trip cost). This varies based on the minimum team size requested by the host program.
  • All budgets include a 10 percent contingency due to fluctuation in the U.S. dollar and other unpredictable expenses.

Please know that we value the financial commitment you and donors make toward these trips, and kept this in mind as the budgets were created.

Can I have a co-leader?

If team leaders wish to co-lead, they will need to review the budget with the Volunteer Engagement specialist to determine the subsidy for co-leaders. Team size, location and trip cost are all factors that impact the subsidy amount. Co-leaders can fund-raise for both trip cost and air fare.

How often will the standard budgets be reviewed?

The budgets will be reviewed on a regular basis. Particular adjustments will be made if there is a drastic change in the value of the U.S. dollar or a significant increase in the in-country expenses.

How do I explain to participants why team leader costs are included in the budget?

Global Village team leaders offer their services as volunteers to HFHI and to each team member. Team leaders, approved by Global Village and supported by HFHI’s Volunteer Mobilization staff, are responsible for planning all aspects of the GV trip. Global Village team leaders put an incredible amount of time, energy and knowledge into furthering Habitat’s mission around the world and helping facilitate safe, meaningful experiences for thousands of volunteers. Team leaders are not paid for their work, but leader expenses may be incorporated into the team budget.

How do I submit a trip proposal form?

Once you have researched this catalog and thought about what kind of trip you want to lead and which area you would prefer to travel to, you will need to submit a GV Team Proposal Form. The form is located online, and can be filled out and submitted electronically. You will be contacted by a GV support specialist within one week of submitting your form.