• “Voluntourism”: Travel with a purpose

    Cindy Nelson
    Vacations are a much needed respite for everyone! But many people want more than the traditional beach vacation or laid-back cruise—they’re looking to add a bit more substance and meaning to their travels. And travel suppliers are taking up the challenge, delivering more complex, sophisticated travel excursions.

    Combining a traditional tour with volunteering opportunities allows you to immerse yourself in the local culture and make a difference. It’s proving very popular with both individuals and families as parents look for culturally enriching programs for their children. Plus, it’s a perfect way to teach them the importance of giving forward!

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    Photo courtesy of Azamara Club Cruises

    What would this kind of vacation look like? Perhaps a traditional family trip exploring our national parks would also include a day of painting cabins. Or a tour of the southern United States could include an afternoon working at a food shelf. Maybe during an exotic trip to South America you could stay in the cloud forest for a couple days to help out with environmental work. Or take a safari to Tanzania and take time off from game viewing to help install a water treatment center! The options are endless.

    Of course, there’s nothing wrong with a nice, relaxing week in the sun at a resort — and vacationing tourists are great for any economy! But for those interested in a more unique vacation concept, you may find that a day or two working to reclaim a beach or helping build a house can create an emotional and unforgettable travel experience.

    Have you ever participated in a “voluntourism” experience? Tell us about it!

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