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FILLING THE GAP; From hatching turtle eggs to empowering women, there is no shortage of rewarding projects all over the world to suit volunteers of all ages.

Byline: BRIDGET MCGROUTHER

do you know a destinati on Bridget should feat ure? conta ct he r at b.mcgrouthe r@SUNDAYMAIL. CO.UK FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER @BSMCGROUTHER

Mind the gap Gap years are proving increasingly popular either for school leavers who want to broaden their minds before going to college or uni; more mature travellers during retirement or anyone who wants to take a career break or give something back. There is no better holiday feeling than to know you've really made a difference. Here is my top choice of holidays with the feel-good factor.

The world is your oyster Over the last three years, Oyster Worldwide (oysterworldwide.com) have found animal welfare projects are the most popular for gap years. One of their top volunteering initiatives is Turtle Conservation in Costa Rica.

Volunteers help protect the endangered species by safely hatching turtle eggs and spreading awareness in the local community.

Power to the people Volunteering Journeys (volunteeringjourneys.com) runs women's empowerment projects, mainly in India. These rewarding initiatives offer the chance to help to improve the lives of females by teaching subjects such as English, numeracy and computer skills, while enjoying experiencing the country. Lasting from two to 12 weeks, holidays start from around PS599 (not including flights).

A wild time How exciting would it be to take a Wildlife Conservation Internship in South Africa? Interns spend 24 weeks in the savannah, learning how to protect endangered animals. Or work with elephants in Thailand to improve welfare conditions of these intelligent animals. These are just two of over 100 sustainable development projects offered by Global Vision International (gvi.co.uk).

Lessons in life Voluntary Service Overseas (vsointernational. org) runs education, health, food, training and farming projects in 24 countries from Papua New Guinea to Zimbabwe. Volunteers of all ages are needed with experience in everything from teaching to business, engineering and IT. Over twofifths of its volunteers are in their 50s or 60s and two per cent in their 70s.

Earning trust I've been privileged to visit projects run by the Saga Charitable Trust (saga.co.uk) in various countries such as a school in St Lucia, a children's camp in India, community health and education in Zambia and nursery in South Africa. Saga Holidays offer a range of trips for people over 50 keen to volunteer on holiday.

Back up Founded in 2012 by two British backpackers, TruTravels (trutravels.com) offers group tours for fun-loving young globetrotters across Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Indonesia. For first-time travellers, the firm also provides an innovative support service with starter packs, an SOS line and 24/7 advice for those continuing solo on their adventures through South-East Asia.

Seven nights in Costa Blanca costs from PS305 B&B (a saving of up to PS228 pp) at the four-star Kris Bonalba Alicante from Prestwick on 27th Sept 2017. Visit loveholidays.com or call 0203 870 6844.

Departures Marbella Oct 4, from Glasgow, 7 nights half board at 3* Marbella Park, from PS395pp.

Salou Oct 10, from Glasgow, 7 nights half board at 3* Playa Park, from PS335pp.

Majorca Oct 23, from Glasgow, 7 nights all inclusive at 4* Sentido Cala Vinas. from PS399pp.

www.holidayandflightcentre.com or call 01698 425 444.

Benalmadena Sep 16, from Glasgow, 7 nights self catering at 3* Vista De Rey, from PS297pp.

Magaluf Sep 23, from Edinburgh or Glasgow, 7 nights half board at 4* HSM Atlantic Park, from PS497pp.

Salou Oct 1, from Glasgow, 7 nights half board at 3* California Garden, from PS337pp. Paphos Nov 19, from Edinburgh, 7 nights all inclusive at 3* Hotel Crown Resorts Horizon, from PS457pp. | www.barrheadtravel.co.uk or telephone 0141 222 2223.

Saddle up for own Tour

UPDATE Yorkshire hosted the Grand Depart of the Tour de France in 2014 and the next year the Tour de Yorkshire was born. Visit ridetheroutes.co.uk to tailor-make your itinerary with downloadable maps and bike-friendly accommodation. From challenging climbs to tranquil country lanes.

Set sail from Ireland Celebrity are the first major cruise line to homeport in Dublin. Celebrity Eclipse offer mini season sailing from April 30 until June 7, 2018. Itineraries include Ireland & Iceland; Norwegian Fjords and a British Isles and French Open cruise. celebritycruises.co.uk

Extras special service Holiday Extras help make flying less stressful by offering UK airport hotels and parking, British and worldwide airport lounges, car hire at thousands of destinations and insurance. To book extras and upgrades, visit holidayextras.com or call 0800 1313 777.

Piste of luxury Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts are opening its first luxury property in a European ski resort at Megeve. It includes 55 stylish rooms, a spa, and two-star Michelin Restaurant. See fourseasons.com/megeve

Drinks are on bus Guests can drink in the city sights on a two-hour bus tour of Bristol while sipping gin cocktails and speciallycrafted tonics. Foozie have teamed up with local distillery 6 O'Clock Gin to give people the chance to see Bristol in a whole new way. A Prosecco bus tour has also been launched. See foozie.co.uk

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REWARDING Bridget with some of the young people she met in Zambia
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 10, 2017
Words:862
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