Help | Smaller Earth US


The FAQs below provide an overview of all of our programs. If you have any specific questions about a program that you are interested in, get in touch or request a call back and we'll be happy to assist you.

Application Process and Availability


Program Costs


Preparation for your Trip


On Program - What to Expect


Application Process and Availability

How can I apply for a Smaller Earth program?

Click the "Apply Now" link on the program page. Once it is completed, a Smaller Earth Team Member will be in touch to advise you of the next steps.

Is there a selection process?

Yes, a completed application form is required for all programs. The application form includes questions to check your availability for each program, as well as find out a little more about you. Going through this application is essential for your safety and enjoyment, as well as the ultimate success of the project.. Once your application has been submitted you will be contacted by a Smaller Earth team member for a brief interview. These are usually conducted over the phone, at your convenience.

Do I need to have experience?

Not necessarily. Some programs require specific experience in the area of work, whilst others will provide full training at the outset. Please refer to the program description for details of any required skills or experience.

When should I apply?

This depends on the type of program you have applied for. Most volunteer programs can be processed in about two weeks. For Work & Travel or Internship placements, there are a few more boxes to check (because of things like visa restrictions etc), so they can take a little longer.   In general we recommend to apply as early as you can, so you can prepare for the amazing experience ahead.  Check out the 'Essentials' section of any program for advice on when to apply.

Are there programs available year round?

Most volunteer programs run throughout the year. Some Work & Travel programs are seasonal, though this will be immediately clear from the program name. For specific details on availability please refer to the “Dates Section” of each program description on our website.

How do I obtain a police background check?

Please contact your local police office to inquire how you can apply for a police background check in your country.

Do I need a visa?

This depends on your country of origin and the location of your program. Please contact a Smaller Earth Team Member if you have specific questions about visas that are not answered as part of the program description.

Do I need insurance?

Travel insurance is an essential part of any travel program, regardless of if your country has a reciprocal healthcare agreement. Proof of insurance will be needed before you depart for your program.

Are there any medical restrictions?

All Smaller Earth participants must have a qualified Doctor or General Practitioner review and sign a form qualifying them for the role they are applying for. Marine projects may require a diving medical assessment as well.

Do I need to undergo a full medical examination?

Not always. It is most often sufficient for your doctor to tick "not examined" against each examination category on the Smaller Earth medical form and simply complete the required information and sign the form.

Can I fill the medical form in myself?

Yes, but it must be checked and signed by a licensed medical professional.

Program Costs

How much does it cost?

Costs vary between programs. Costs are dependent upon our partner’s requirements, requests and geographical locations. By viewing the dates and costs page on your chosen program you can have a glance at all the costs of projects, expeditions and courses.

Are there any extra costs?

Again, this is dependent upon your chosen program. Most programs and courses include all your food, accommodation, training, project equipment and global support unless stated otherwise (see your program home page for more detailed information). Additional costs can include (but are not limited to): flights, airport transfers, insurance and living expenses.

How can I pay for my program?

We accept Visa, Mastercard, Maestro and Solo. You can pay over the phone or through the "Make a Payment" link from your Smaller Earth online account. If you are unable to pay by credit/debit card, please contact a Smaller Earth Team Member for alternative options.

Preparation for your Trip

What support and guidance can I expect?

Top notch! Smaller Earth prides itself on its working alongside partners of the highest calibre. On all expeditions and projects you will be working directly alongside staff with the experience and skills to make your expedition as fun and rewarding as possible. As well as this there is 24-hour telephone emergency support available.

Can I arrive earlier than my program start date?

For many programs, you definitely do this - however it will be on your own expense. Please contact the Smaller Earth office if you would like to arrive prior to your scheduled arrival date so we can advise you further.

Who will arrange my flight?

It is your responsibility to arrange your own flight for the majority of our programs (though some programs include round-trip flights). However, we work closely with STA Travel to obtain highly competitive flight prices for our participants. Please speak to one of the Smaller Earth team for further information.

Which airport should I book my flight into?

This depends on the program destination. Please check details for your specific program.

Who will meet me at the airport?

On most programs you will be met by one of our partner representatives at the airport when you arrive. Please check the program pages for further details of where to arrive and ask your coordinator to explain the arrival logistics if you have any further questions.

On Programme - What to Expect

Who is responsible for the me whilst on my trip?

The Health and Safety of all Smaller Earth volunteers is one of our main priorities. We have strict systems and procedures in place for the selection of partners we work alongside, as well as for the day to day managing of participants in the field. Smaller Earth receives regular information from our partners in the field ensuring we are always up-to-date with local and regional developments.

What happens if there is an emergency?

Our partners, staff and field representatives are fully trained to deal with any type of emergency and all our projects have a named contact within Smaller Earth to communicate any issues quickly and efficiently.

What are my responsibilities?

It is your responsibility to comply with tasks assigned by the program’s coordinator/supervisor and to follow all instructions given. During your stay we ask that you contribute constructively and behave responsibly.

Will I be placed with other international participants?

For the majority of our programs you will live and work alongside other individuals that have travelled from overseas to make a positive impact. On Work & Travel/Internship programs, it is possible you will be more immersed in local culture and encounter less travellers.

How long can I go for? Can I extend my stay?

This varies according to the program you apply for. Some volunteer programs have just a 1-week minimum, whereas Work & Travel programs will require you to commit significantly longer (at least 2 months). Volunteer programs can be extended as long as there is availability. This can be arranged through your expedition leader or field coordinator or through the Smaller Earth office. Work & Travel/Internship programs will have visa restrictions on how long you can stay in the country, so check your individual program details.

What is the accommodation like?

On Volunteer programs, accommodation will often, though not always, be more basic than what you would expect on a tourist holiday or guided tour. For detailed information on accommodation, check out the program specifics.

What is the food like?

Again, this depends on the program you participate on. All volunteer programs will provide healthy and nutritious food throughout your stay. On Work & Travel/Internship programs you will often be responsible for your own food, so it's as good as you make it!

What happens if I have special dietary requirements?

Of those that provide food, nearly all Smaller Earth locations can provide for special dietary requirements. For those that cannot, information will be displayed on the program homepage. However, it is important that you inform us about any dietary restrictions prior to booking so we can double check you can be accommodated.

Are all the projects run by Smaller Earth?

All our programs are run by our extremely experienced partners, whose highly skilled and well-informed staff will be on hand to offer their full support throughout the duration of your trip.

Do I need to be physically fit?

Most locations require a moderate level of fitness especially if you want to get the full amount out of your time there. If high levels of fitness are required this is highlighted on the program homepage.

Will I have any free time?

The majority of programs will allow for ‘some’ free time, this can vary from one day a week or a full weekend, depending on the type of work you participate in. It is important to note that the needs of the program will always come first. See the program homepage for examples of some itineraries.

Can I travel before / after?

For most programs, Yes, you can! Many volunteers arrive early to start exploring or join a Smaller Earth program half way through a longer trip round the world. The projects help volunteers acclimatize before you head off and further your travels. As mentioned above, most Work & Travel/Internship programs will have a specific deadline on when you will have to leave the country.