You're in a country where everything feels different. The food isn't what you're used to; the people don't make sense. It's sensory overload and you're bewildered by all the things around you -- the language, the music, the faces, the smells.
It's common for newlyweds to honeymoon abroad. It's less common for them to fix kids' bikes during their trip -- but Aaron and Kristen Berlin did just that two days after saying their vows.
It's hard to think about humanitarian travel without picturing Angelina Jolie and other high-profile volunteers. But how much do celebrities contribute to the growing appetite for volunteering away from home and is it all positive?
Natalie Montanaro, 52, a research assistant from the College of Charleston, South Carolina, volunteered for the U.S. Peace Corps and moved to Romania in May 2009.
It only makes sense that music is what brought Jason Mraz to Ghana for a humanitarian mission.
Instead of shielding South Africa's poverty during the FIFA Football World Cup, one travel company says there is not only a desire from visitors to see the country's hardships but to also help out.
When Reza Pakravan embarked on a three-week trip to Madagascar a little over a year ago, he had no idea the African island would continue to play a role in his life long after he left.
Two members of the voluntourism or volunteer holiday industry go head-to-head over the oft-debated benefits and pitfalls of a holiday choice that continues to grow in popularity.
What is WWOOFing? Well, for short, it is your ticket to an incredible farming experience in one of over 50 countries in the world. Think of any country and they are likely to have WWOOF hosts there, ready to take you in with open arms.
Images of oil-soaked birds and turtles have prompted such a surge of interest in helping with the oil disaster response that one volunteer organization had to convert its fax line to a second phone line, and it's still having trouble keeping up with the calls.
When the 2010 FIFA World Cup kicks off on Friday, 18,000 specially trained volunteers will be on hand to help South Africa host football's biggest competition.
I am a huge animal lover and have a real soft spot for primates.
If you had asked me at the beginning of last year to pinpoint Bangladesh on a map, I would have struggled.
When 23-year-old Danielle Miller packed her bags for a holiday in Cape Town, South Africa, sun and sand were the last things on her mind.
The idea of volunteering away from home seems like a win-win to many travelers: a way to experience and help another community at the same time. But without a solid, well-designed program and reasonable expectations, volunteer travel can do more harm than good.
Whether you place the responsibility with Brangelina, Madonna or Meg Ryan, there is no denying the adoption of children from impoverished nations by celebrities and other westerners is becoming increasingly popular.
It's cold and dark and I'm alone in a puny, mildewed tent nursing a blister and some seriously sore triceps. I figure it's as good a time as any to take stock.
When I turn up to an accident most Thais don't treat me differently just because I'm a foreigner. They're just glad someone has turned up to help them.
If you're the kind of person who's happiest spending your two weeks off helping to look after elephants in Thailand or working for free on an organic farm in New Zealand, then perhaps you've been on a volunteer vacation.
Sleeping in the open air under a mosquito net because earthquake aftershocks make being inside too frightening: It's not everyone's ideal way to use up their vacation.