Travel Better

Expedition 2020: Nepal

This will be our 4th Expedition and this time we are going to the roof top of the world! Come with us to Nepal for 10 full days of volunteering with dogs, visiting UNESCO World Heritage Sites, hiking through terraced fields and taking part in the most wonderful of days: Kukur Tihar. That's right, we will be in Nepal for the blessing of the dogs! We will be arriving in Kathmandu on November 10th 2020 and staying for 10 full days!

Included: carbon balancing, all accommodation, meals, in-country transportation, access and admission to all UNESCO sites, fully guided day trek, full volunteer fees and donations to dog rescue centres. $2495 Canadian.

Want to learn more about Expedition Nepal?

AEI empowers animal lovers, students, professionals, and adventure seekers to travel and make a difference by volunteering with animals.

Our exceptional experiences are safe, ethical and unforgettable. Join our team of international volunteers and explore the world while doing what you love. It doesn’t matter who you are, we will help you make a difference.

Tired of competition? Join forces to change to the world!

It can seem sometimes that our world is geared towards competition. Throughout our education, during our quest for the perfect job, while searching for the perfect apartment, in the workplace - it can feel like everyone is pitted against each other. And this can create a culture of scarcity. We can begin feeling like we need to fight for what we want, or settle for something less and feel not so great about ourselves.

In my life I have experienced these feelings first hand. Unfortunately, veterinary medicine is a fairly competitive field. For me this meant I was competing with my university classmates for a spot at vet school. Once in vet school I was competing with my classmates for placement opportunities in my field. My interest has always been in wildlife conservation, and it seemed we were constantly told that there weren't enough spots, not enough opportunities, not enough jobs. 

This feeling of famine can make us close ranks, stop sharing, focus on our own best interests.

But what if we turned this idea on its head - began to look at the world from a place of plenty. What if there was more than enough for everyone?

This is the philosophy that was behind the founding of Animal Experience International. We set out to create a space where people are encouraged to participate. Where there are opportunities for all! Everyone can get involved! There is no shortage of places you can visit and ways in which you can help! 

Creating a culture of bounty means we are collaborating and creating together. We are sharing and joining forces to make the world a better place. When we remove the pressure of competition and the fear of failure, we see people soar, their hearts open, the possibilities become endless. This is where true growth begins, true innovation, true change making. 

Join us at Animal Experience International and embrace collaboration and abundance. You can make a difference today!


Poachers are just a symptom of the toxic problem.

So many of our programs have hired on ex-poachers as conservationists. Typically poachers don't hate animals, they just love their families more. The illegal pet trade, palm oil plantations, illegal bush meat trade and urban development all lead to marginalised people turning to poaching to feed themselves, their families and sometimes their addictions. Poachers are just a symptom of a much bigger problem that we must address. We can address it by supporting locally lead conservation and animal welfare programs who hire people in their local communities and provide meaningful work. Care2 just highlighted an amazing conservation program that hired an ex poacher to help hornbills.

Next time you think about poaching and how horrific it is, continue thinking that BUT think about why it exists. It exists because of poverty so the best way to stop poaching at it’s source? Invest in the community, invest in people.

Family Travel Matters

How can you encourage a heart for empathy and compassion than volunteering with your kids? How can you reconnect with your grown up siblings than travel? How can you make memories that will last a life time with your grandkids? Traveling and volunteering of course?

AEI programs are safe, ethical and authentic. We go to the placements first to make sure! We have you volunteering directly with animals, scientists and experts in the local community so you know you are helping the animals you and your family members love so much. The best news? All your food and accomodation is sorted! That’s right, these are all inclusive trips so you just have to focus on the animals!

Want to learn more? Read our interview with the Family Travel Association and see why family travel matters so much to us!

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A Podcast Just For You!

What makes AEI different from other social enterprises who are owned by women and have a dozen awards for their benefit to the community and the environment? Well... we are actually the only one! Listen to our story and what our founder has to say about being 'successful'. 

Listen to the newest episode of The School for Humanity Podcast to learn more about AEI and why travelling ethically helps us, you and the planet!

Social Enterprise Apps to Change Your Life- and the World!

People are always asking us about our favourite travel hacks, tips and products. We love talking about our favourite things and today we wanted to let you know about 2 apps that have changed our life and we think will change yours!

First is Random Acts of Green! A Canadian social enterprise also owned by a woman! How badass is that? Random Acts of Green is an incredible community that not only celebrates those green heros and sheros out there, but they also launched an app! The app is downloaded for free and is the #1 green behaviour promoter you can use today! After setting up a profile, you log in your green acts! Anything from buying carbon credits to hanging your laundry up to dry. Everything has a score that goes towards your daily green points. Once you have enough points you can redeem them to get discounts on great green products like steel straws and bamboo toothbrushes. Things you need anyway and are GREAT to have in your carry on. It never hurts to just keep a tooth brush and a straw in your carry on at all times, then you never forget one at home. Our founder Nora downloaded the app and she loves it, not only to track all her green acts but to read articles about how to make even more green choices! Upcycled Christmas decorations? You are on…

Check out Random Acts of Green and download the app today! Here are some screenshots!

If you watched our insta story last Wednesday you would have seen that we love Cupanion and their brand new #FillItForward Campaign. We originally heard of the Canadian company Cupanion when we saw their hilarious kickstarter video. We became backers and have been OBSESSED with our bottle and the Fill It Forward campaign every since. Here’s how it works: you download the free app and order some #FillItForward stickers. Every time you fill up a bottle or mug you scan the bar code sticker. It registers that you are keeping yourself hydrated, keeping single use plastic out of the landfill AND (here is the kicker) it raises money for clean water projects around the world. Easy! All you have to do is keep hydrated. We are terrible at keeping ourselves well hydrated while travelling and this has made it SO easy. We just look at the app and know it’s time for more water and it’s time to donate again. Staving off jetlag through proper hydration and helping raise more for clean water programs has never been so easy.

Check out Cupanion and download the Fill It Forward app today! Here are some screenshots!

What are your favourite travel and green lifestyle apps? Let us know so we can use those, too!

Adventures are in the speed bumps

Imagine you are going on the adventure of a lifetime to volunteer with a sea turtle conservation group in Australia. Everything is in place. Your pick up from the airport is all arranged - you know exactly where and when to meet the shuttle. You have accommodation at a local hostel and they have all your arrival information and are expecting you. The organization where you will volunteer is all set up, and you know exactly where to meet the group on your first day of volunteering and at what time. How exciting! And then at the last minute disaster strikes. One of your many flights has a gate change and you miss your connecting flight! Your new flight has you arriving in Australia a full day after you planned to get there. Your flight is boarding, you're hurrying to get on the plane and you have no time to make any changes to your many arrangements.

What do you do?!

If you have booked your travel adventure through Animal Experience International, you simply relax. A quick email to the AEI Coordinator, and you will know everything will be taken care of for you. Your shuttle will be re-booked. Your hostel will be notified that you will be delayed. The people meeting you from the sea turtle organization will be informed and a new arrangement will be made for you. You can get on your flight and relax, knowing everything has been taken care of for you. Animal Experience International is a registered travel agency. Not only are we animal lovers, we are also travel counselors and travel managers and active members of the Travel Industry Council of Ontario. Booking through AEI gives you peace of mind - knowing that you can sit back and enjoy your trip.

Including all the bumps in the road that make travel an adventure - not an inconvenience!

"Why is that monkey in a cage?"

monkey in a cage

I was recently talking to someone about our work at Animal Experience International, when she stopped me to ask why the photo I was showing her was of a spider monkey in a cage.

Did AEI support caging wild animals?

This was an important question, and a topic I am also passionate about as a wildlife veterinarian. I do not want to see wildlife kept in captivity if they can be living their lives free in the wild. The spider monkey in the photo was actually being housed at a wildlife rescue centre in Guatemala. This is an amazing organization that works tirelessly to rescue wild animals that have been captured as part of the illegal wildlife trade. When animals are confiscated from smugglers or from people using them to entertain tourists, they need somewhere to recover from their terrible ordeal. Some require medical attention. Others need supportive care. And orphaned babies need to be raised until they are old enough to care for themselves. While at the rescue centre, the animals are housed in enclosures that keep them safe, while protecting the humans that care for them.

So yes, they are in cages - but only temporarily. The goal is always to release them back to the wild. Staff and volunteers work hard to make the animals’ experience at the rescue centre as comfortable as possible. The wildlife are provided with environmental enrichment, places to hide and an enclosure set up that allows them to carry out their natural behaviours. The animals are moved to larger and larger enclosures as they begin to heal, and contact with people becomes less and less. For this spider monkey, he will eventually be housed with other spider monkeys in a large enclosure deep in the forest of the rescue centre and will see people as little as possible to minimize his exposure to humans. One day these spider monkeys will all be released to live their lives free in the jungle.

Gibbon Island in Thailand

Gibbon Island in Thailand


AEI also supports several wildlife sanctuaries that provide a safe home for animals that cannot survive in the wild, and therefore cannot be released. Our elephant and wildlife sanctuary in Thailand is an excellent example of an organization working to provide a dignified and comfortable home for rescued, non-releasable animals. Their enclosures help to protect the animals, and are as large and natural as possible to ensure the animals are comfortable. Take for example their gibbons that cannot be released for one reason or another. These amazing primates are given an island to live on, separate from the main centre and are even fed remotely using a pulley system so that they are very rarely in contact with people. They are allowed to live as naturally as possible without human interference.


It is a sad reality that wild animals need to be kept in captivity at times in order to help or protect them. AEI supports organizations that house wildlife on a temporary basis, as part of a rescue and rehabilitation program. If providing long-term sanctuary we ensure that the best possible care is being offered the animals and that their lives are enriched and natural behaviours are encouraged. This is something that is very important to us - because wild animals deserve to be kept wild.

Want to volunteer with us in Guatemala or Thailand? Check out our program pages to volunteer anytime during the year (animals need help all year round and so we send volunteers all year round). Want to volunteer in Guatemala WITH us? Why not sign up for Expedition Guatemala? Take part in the rehabilitation of wildlife with your own two hands and understand the amazing work that is being done, first hand. 10 days volunteering with wildlife in February, sign up today!

Introducing bite sized animal volunteer experiences!

We now have 1 week programs available!

You spoke, we listened! While we would love to all have months and months every year to go volunteer with animals, sometimes that just isn't feasible. Our jobs, families and lives are jam packed already. So what can we do to help even more people help animals: Introducing 1 Week Experiences! 

Over the next few days we will be rolling out new prices for our partners that can take volunteers for 1 week experiences. It won't be all of our programs, some have so much training that 7 days is just not enough to get the full experience, but there will be quite a few that welcome shorter term volunteers. 

This not only means a smaller investment of time, it means a smaller investment in fees. We won't be cutting any corners, the programs still receive donations, you still get travel insurance, your in-country travel is still carbon balanced and you still get to have one of the most amazing trips of a lifetime! Hopefully these amazing experiences will fit into your life just a little better. 

What programs will you be able to take part in for one week? Sea turtle conservation in Costa Rica, flying fox rehabilitation in Australia, dog rescue in Mexico, elephant recuperation in Thailand, baboon care in Southern Africa and many more! Check out the website and take a look!

Remember, we also run short expeditions once a year for those who want to volunteer on a program in a group! In 2019 we are going to Guatemala to volunteer at a wildlife centre. Our volunteer coordinator will be taking people to northern Guatemala so they can safely and humanely volunteer with toucans, wild boars, monkeys and more! No experience is required- all the training is on the ground. 10 days in Guatemala, what a way to live your dreams!