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Which Expedition is right for me?

Raleigh International offers various Expedition lengths at three different times of the year to cater to different preferences and commitments.

How long should I go for?

Each option has its unique features, and the choice depends on individual goals, availability, and personal circumstances. 

There are three different sections to a Raleigh Expedition programme – we call them ‘Phases’. We have a community project phase, an environmental project phase, and the adventure leadership phase. Depending on the Expedition you choose, you can experience all three phases or something shorter.

No matter which Raleigh Expedition you choose, or where and when you choose to go, you will have an experience like no other, shared with like-minded people in your age group from the moment you arrive.


This is the longest Expedition option that provides volunteers with the most extensive and culturally immersive experience.

It is the only Expedition that includes all three phases lasting around 19 days each including: an in-depth community project, environmental and conservation project and an Adventure Leadership Trek. This option is ideal for those who are really wanting to get stuck in, fully commit to self-development and experience all three phases. This is a truly unique and immersive experience.  Embarking on a 10-week expedition is a transformative adventure that can change the course of your life.  

It’s 70 days of pushing your boundaries, 1,680 hours of making a lasting impact, and countless moments of self-discovery. In these 10 weeks, you will forge bonds with like-minded individuals from around the world, connect with communities in ways you never thought possible, and uncover strengths within yourself that you never knew existed.

On this Expedition you will fully immerse yourself in the culture, the challenges, and the triumphs of the incredible communities you’ll serve. It’s an opportunity to leave a legacy that will be remembered long after you’ve returned home. So, if you’re seeking an adventure that will redefine your limits and you’re yearning to make a profound impact, then the 10-week Expedition awaits you.

Good to know: If you choose the 10 weeks, it’s our longest Expedition and so there’s no chance of that leaving early. No FOMO here! It’s also the only Expedition that you can experience three full project phases.


A 7-week Expedition offers a substantial experience but in a slightly shorter duration. On this Expedition you will engage in two phases lasting around 19 days (instead of 3 phases in the 10-week option).  

You will be assigned to one meaningful project: either community or environmental. You will also take part in the Adventure Leadership Trek.  This option may be suitable for those with moderately limited time but want to experience the full benefits of a 19-day leadership trek.  

There are also two 7-week date options in each cycle, so this is also a great choice for someone looking for more flexibility!

Good to know: if you are on a 7-week option, it is sometimes possible to extend your stay to 10 weeks. Each cycle volunteers choose to extend their Expedition to stick it out till the end with their new Raleigh friends! This depends on availability though so to be safe book the 10 weeks before you arrive!


The 4-week summer Expedition is a shorter, more condensed experience. It allows participants to engage in a community or environmental project (around 19 days) and then a shorter Adventure Leadership Trek (around 5 days).  

A key difference between the 4-week option and the 7/10 week is that you only experience the Adventure Leadership Trek for 5 days.  

It’s a popular option in the summer for individuals who have limited availability and are looking for a summer experience, such as students during their summer break. 

Good to know:  On a 4-week programme you are assigned either the community or environmental project; both are impactful and sustainable projects. There are two 4-week options to choose from.  

Best Expedition length for different age groups

School leavers/Gap Year takers

If you have just finished your A-levels and are taking a gap year, the 10-week Expedition is a no brainer. Contribute to two amazing projects and fully immerse yourself in the culture and experience. However, if they you have limited availability, the 7-week summer Expedition is still an excellent choice.

Read more about Gap Years

University/College students

The 4-week summer Expedition in August may be the most suitable option for a student looking for a meaningful summer experience. You can gain valuable experiences without taking an extended leave of absence from your studies. If you have a free summer before your first year of university, a Raleigh Expedition is your chance to build confidence and skills that will help you with the next chapter in your life.  

What time of year should I volunteer?

We recommend booking your place between 6-18 months in advance to ensure you get the place you want, organise flights, medical forms, kit and vaccinations and give you time to raise the money. You have to sign up 3 months prior to the Expedition start date.  

February – April
(most popular)
Starting your gap year early allows you to develop important life skills, such as budgeting, navigating new environments, and problem-solving, from the beginning of your journey. Gain the tools and confidence to continue with the rest of their year out and you can also make friends to continue your travels with.

June – August
Firstly, if you’re looking at the 4-week option then this only runs in June-August – so that’s easy! If you want an extended summer experience then this Expedition is the one for you.

October – December
If you are taking a year out and need a bit more time to plan and raise the money, then cycle three is a great option. Ending your year in December with an Expedition provides time for reflection and processing all the experiences you’ve had during the year before transitioning back to your regular life.

What will the weather be like?

Whether you’re a sun-seeker or you prefer the cooler climate, your experience of our Expedition countries will likely be different depending on when you volunteer. So it’s good to be in the know about what to expect from the local climate.

Green map vector of Costa Rica

Costa Rica

  • December to April: Dry season/Summer. Enjoy clear skies and warm temperatures.
  • May to November: Rainy season/Winter: Expect sunny days and afternoon rain showers.
Learn more about Costa Rica projects
Green map vector of South Africa

Kruger, South Africa

  • The climate in Kruger is generally considered to be subtropical with hot weather throughout the year but there are two distinct seasons:
  • October-April is summertime. Virtually every day will be hot and humid, most days will be sunny with heavy rain in the early evenings.
  • May- September is winter in the southern hemisphere. The cooler months and temperatures can be chilly in the evenings and early mornings.
Learn more about South African projects

Ultimately, the best time to go and the ideal Expedition length depend on individual preferences, time constraints, and your specific goals.

Consider your own situation and what you hope to gain from the experience when making your decision. If you need any support you can reach out to our friendly team.

Chat with the Raleigh team

Need more information about Expedition?

Book a call

Not decided yet and need help? Arrange a call with us at a time that works for you and we’ll answer your questions.

Join an online info event

Have your questions answered, meet other volunteers and find out what Expedition is really like from an alumni.

Download a guide

Find out all about Raleigh International and Expedition in our helpful information guide.