We love sharing our knowledge and are always happy to spend time answering whatever questions you may have so if you can't find what you're looking for here - or can't be bothered to scroll through it all, just send us an email instead...
What is the situation with regard to single supplements?
We really WISH we didn't have to charge any extra but most of the hotels we use charge per room rather than per person and there really isn't any way around this... What we CAN assure you is that we never make any EXTRA profit on single supplements and only charge you exactly what we are charged direct from the hotel.
What kind of clothes should I bring?
In most of the countries we visit, temperatures are warm (or even hot) all year round so in general, summer clothes are fine. Evenings can get cooler, especially in mountainous areas so it's probably a good idea to bring a sweater just in case... you'll probably need it on the plane too!
Mosquitos can be a pain (even where malaria isn't a risk) especially at dusk so a long sleeved shirt and loose, long trousers are always useful for covering up and can also be used for modesty when visiting temples and other religious shrines.
If you're planning on doing any real jungle trekking, you'll probably appreciate a good pair of comfortable trainers/shoes/boots although TEVA-style sandals are usually just as good and mean that your feet will dry out more quickly when they get wet (and they almost certainly will!) When not doing so much walking, flip-flops or light sandals are the best choice for both men and women especially as footwear is almost always removed when entering buildings in Thailand - so you'll appreciate having something that is easy to slip on and off.
In the rainy season, a proper raincoat is probably a useful addition to your bag and doesn't take up much space. Alternatively, a foldable umbrella can be handy when participating in more sedate sightseeing or flitting from hotel to restaurant...
Note: these are general guidelines only. For more specific information about the area and time of year you will be visiting (including cultural considerations), please see our country dossiers or drop us a line and we'll be pleased to advise in more detail.
I'm vegetarian - is this a problem?
In a nutshell... almost never! Perhaps surprisingly for a Buddhist country, Thai's are not ALL vegetarians but the concept is very well understood throughout India and much of South East Asia(far more so than in some European countries) and you should find a wonderful range of delicious dishes on offer...
Generally speaking, avoiding dairy products is not too difficult either as there is very little milk/cheese used in most Asian cuisine and although eggs are used, it is possible to find dishes which don't include them.
Who is your "typical" client and am I too old/young?
There really isn't one. If you're 17 or 70 that's fine. American, Canadian, Japanese, English, Australian or wherever you come from – that's fine too. If you thrive on meeting people, experiencing excitement, culture and the environment then you will enjoy your adventure.
What about bringing the children?
Our insurance requires us to specify that anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a responsible adult ie. someone OVER 18, however, other than that children of ALL ages are very welcome on ALL of our trips - including the volunteering projects. In fact, we would go so far as to say that we positively encourage you to bring the kids because since (especially with offspring of our own!) we already know what an amazing experience this can be for them.
All that said, we do trust that you know your own children and their capabilities... if they start whining over a 10 minute car journey then you may be expecting too much if you think they'll cope with an overnight coach journey (although kids can surprise you when they're somewhere new and interesting, so you never know for sure!) If you'd like our help/advice in assessing which trips might be best for you and your family, please do let us know. We've tested most of them with kids in tow so we'll be pleased to offer you the benefit of our experience!
Why do I have to pay to volunteer?
Occasionally we get asked why volunteers should have to pay to participate in a particular project when they are already volunteering their time and efforts...
Of course, there are some charities who can afford to pay and/or provide accommodation for their volunteers but unfortunately, most of the projects with whom we work are small, local NGO's (non-governmental organisations) operating on a non-profit basis and receive little or no external funding so when we provide volunteers, it is essential that all costs are covered as well as providing vital income to the project itself.
In practical terms, this means that the price we charge has to include -
Administration - whilst we do everything we can to keep admin costs to a minimum, there are still essential office expenses to be covered both here in the UK and in Thailand including advertising (otherwise no volunteers!); staff to handle enquiries/bookings; ongoing liason/development with projects to ensure that both local and visitor needs are being met; and, of course, local staff to offer orientation/provide support to volunteers throughout their stay.
Food and accommodation - usually provided by local families/small hotels. Volunteers' payments for these services are a valuable source of additional income and help to ensure that not just the project but also the local community in general will benefit from your visit.
Project donation - probably most important of all, a percentage of your fee goes direct to the project to help with the ongoing daily expenses as well as future development plans. Whether it's used to buy food for the elephants, school supplies or a tank of petrol to reach the next village, most of our projects simply wouldn't survive for long without this kind of financial support.
In summary, by volunteering with Go Differently, your assistance will be two-fold – one through your volunteer work and two by providing much needed financial support to the project you visit.
As a footnote, it may also be worth adding that whilst there are undoubtedly some charity-supported projects who have the funds (from other sources) to subsidise their volunteers... it has also been pointed out to us on more than one occasion that there are also quite a few larger, profit-motivated companies who charge a lot MORE than we do!
Whilst we appreciate that this kind of option is not for everyone, we hope this at least goes some way to explaining the situation and if you have any further queries on this, please don't hesitate to let us know.