A lot of people are interested in doing good while on vacation, but aren’t ready to dedicate their whole trip to volunteering—and that’s okay! If you’re interested in adding a Travel For Good component on your next trip, the following opportunities promise to leave you feeling good, knowing that your travels have made a positive difference in the world.
Be a Flight Volunteer for an Animal Rescue Group
International rescue groups in the Caribbean, Asia and Central America export dogs to homes eager to adopt them in Europe and North America. To that end, they need independent travelers to help them make the connection. Some dogs travel in crates as checked bags; others as carry-ons. It’s an easy, rewarding way to end a vacation: In most cases, the rescue org handles all the paperwork and covers all the expenses. They’ll meet you at the airport with the dog and all necessary supplies, and assist with check-in. You simply meet the waiting family at your destination airport with the precious cargo, and your job is done. Two well-known groups that do this are SXM Paws in St. Maraten and Cartagena Paws in Colombia.
Take a Hike and Clean a Trail
This is as easy as it gets: Bring along a trash bag on a hike and then register your activity with CleanTrails.org. If you want to get more involved, the group has suggestions on its website for how to be an “advocate,” “ambassador” or “leader” in the movement to eliminate waste from trails on public land.
Bring Supplies to a Needy Group at Your Destination
Connect with Pack for a Purpose to devote five pounds of your luggage weight allowance to school supplies, gardening tools, medical equipment, or other items needed by an organization at your destination. Just select your destination on the group’s website (there are options in Asia, Africa, North America, South America and Europe), then click on your hotel or tour operator to see a description of the projects they’re working on, and the supplies requested. There might be a request for surgical gloves for a hospital in Mongolia, or paint brushes and glue sticks for a community arts initiative in New York City. Drop the supplies off at the property when you arrive, and they’ll take care of the rest.
Make a Day of it
Give a Day Global is a San Francisco-based nonprofit that connects travelers with one-day volunteer opportunities with vetted organizations in Latin America, Asia and Africa. Options include assisting wildlife workers in monitoring and tagging sea turtles in Costa Rica and teaching English in a Cambodian classroom.
Say Aloha to Maintaining Hawaii’s Ecosystem
Headed to Hawaii? The Pacific Whale Foundation’s Volunteers on Vacation program links visitors to Maui with environmental service projects that range in commitment time from two to seven hours. Volunteer to work alongside certified naturalists to remove invasive plant species at Haleakala National Park (Bonus: free transportation to the volcano’s summit) or help the Coral Reef Alliance revegetate stream banks in the scenic West Maui Mountains.
Make Your Florida Theme Park Vacation More Meaningful
Give Kids the World Village is a nonprofit resort in Central Florida that provides week-long vacations to children with critical illnesses and their families at no cost. The resort relies on area visitors as young as 8 years old to fill roughly 1,800 volunteer shifts a week for everything from scooping ice cream and greeting families at the airport to donning character costumes and photographing guests around the park.
For more simple ideas to Travel for Good, explore 6 Helpful Tips for Planning a Voluntourism Trip.
Travelocity’s Travel for Good™ program aims to inspire travelers to give back in ways big and small throughout their journeys. To learn more about the program, get involved in a local community or start planning your next Travel for Good trip, please visit Travelocity.com/TravelForGood.
Travelocity compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site; such compensation may include travel and other costs.