How to Give Back When Taking Your Next Vacation

“It’s better to give than receive.” Acts 20:35

I believe that travel should make the world a better place and that it’s our responsibility to give back. Sure traveling is an escape from the realities of your everyday life; but, does that mean you don’t help out others whenever you can.

Lend a Helping Hand

Have you heard of the term Voluntourism? This is a form of vacationing that involves participating in charity and volunteer work while away from home. It is a concept that has become an increasingly important part of the travel experience for many people. Travelers give their time and help out in the countries they are visiting. It is an experience that not only helps those in need, but it provides the traveler with a very personal and rewarding local experience. Whether it’s a whole trip dedicated to helping others or elements of volunteering that you add to your vacation take a look at your voluntourism options.

A great option for those not wanting to spend their whole vacation volunteering look into hotel outreach programs – Four Seasons, Ritz Carlton’s Give Back Getaway Program and Sandals Foundation’s Reading Roadtrip are but a few that offer guests a chance to volunteer for a day at local communities.

Supporting Charities

Obviously, if you are feeling generous and have the funds, you can donate money to any number of charities. But, did you know that you can also donate frequent flier miles and hotel points that you have earned to charities as well? One of my favorite charities to contribute my miles and points to is makeawish.com. This beautiful foundation makes it possible for those who are battling critical illnesses to see and do things they normally would never be able to do. Your extra miles and points could help a child sick with cancer travel to their dream destination.

Microloans

There are countless organizations where you can contribute a relatively small amount of money by Western standards and change someone else’s life immeasurably. Microloans help entrepreneurs in developing countries start or expand small businesses. Organizations like Kiva allow you to lend to people they profile around the world.

Support Local Businesses

Depending on where you’re going, you can have a far greater impact by simply deciding where to shop. Shop or eat at a multinational chain, and your impact is much less than shopping and eating at small, family-run stores and restaurants.

Donate Your Leftover Change

At the end of your travels, you can donate any leftover change you have to UNICEF’s Change for Good on your plane ride home.  Currently, ten airlines participate in this charity. However, if you are unable to hand over your unused foreign change while on your flight, check out UNICEF’s website for instructions on where to send your change.

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