Tag archives for voluntourism

Some people look for the pool. Others head to the concierge. Me? The very first thing I do when I arrive at a hotel is stand in the lobby and take a visual 360. Can I tell what country I’m in (or even what continent I’m on) from the décor, the staff uniforms, the architecture?…

When I left home to travel around the world, I was driven by a desire to give back to the communities I encountered along the way. It’s been five years, and I’m still going. Over time, I’ve grown more and more convinced that the most positive way travelers can ethically and sustainably discover the developing world is through DIY voluntourism.

A plethora of recently published articles have panned “voluntourism” as little more than salve for bleeding-heart rich folks. The problem is, it’s rarely that simple.

Voluntourism– a trip that incorporates community service like building a school, cleaning up a river, tagging endangered species in the Great Barrier Reef–is a popular phrase in travel’s vernacular. But in the world of do-good tourism, there’s a new player in the game: the traveling philanthropist. Sailer, conservationist, and adventurer Robert Pennicott may not refer to himself as one, but his latest adventure– Follow the Yellow Boat Road– is travel philanthropy at its finest.

Looking for an escape from the daily grind? Take it slow, and you’ll avoid needing a vacation from your vacation. Destinations like Cosenza (Italy), Havana (Cuba), and Siwa (Egypt) are sure to give you that back-in-time feeling you need to wind down from the modern world. [Lonely Plaanet] Websites like Couchsurfing.org have changed the way…

Shelley Seale writes about a foundation in Siem Reap, Cambodia where tourism and education come together to offer a brighter future to local children.At the age of 14, Ponheary Ly died and came back to life. At least, that’s how she describes it. The year was 1977, and the Khmer Rouge was on its deadly…

Contributing Blogger Cathy Healy clears her schedule every year so she can be sure to attend the International Education and Resource Network’s (iEARN) conference, an opportunity for educators to learn more about online storytelling and cultural exchange. BARRIE, Ontario — I arrived in this cool Canadian lakeside resort town near Toronto with educators from 40+…

Traveler intern Daniel Bortz talks with his cousin, who returned last month from volunteering in Swaziland and Southeast Asia, combing through photographs from his journey. Jordan Weitzman, a 25-year-old lifelong Baltimorean, left his Charm City roots behind in January to embark on a four-month adventure. A first-time global traveler, Weitzman ventured to Thailand, Laos, Vietnam,…

Traveler intern Marley Gibbons shares the scoop on a new tour out of China. What better way to get to know China than through hanging out with its most iconic creatures? Planeterra, a non-profit that organizes trips for travelers interested in supporting development in the communities they visit, now offers an experience with a different…

One-on-One with Tony Hawk

His name is synonomous with skateboarding, and despite not being on the competitive circuit for a number of years, Tony Hawk has become a sort of alternative sport emissary to the world, traveling widely to put on skateboarding exhibitions and to promote his charitable foundation. One of his greatest pleasures is traveling with his own…

Sabina Lohr is back from Israel, where she volunteered on an archaeological dig. Read about her adventures in Oman here. I once commented to an Israeli friend about the impossibility of seeing everything that his country holds.  “In Israel every rock is thousands of years old.  And every rock has a story behind it. So…

Plant a tree in the rainforest. Provide clean water for a river community. Deliver school supplies to an Amazonian school. By traveling with International Expeditions, not only will you experience the rich cultural and biological diversity of the world, but your trip will also help ensure that future generations can experience it, too. IE, a…

Serve and Save at Hotels in DC

Grand Double Double with Sleep Sofa suite at Carlyle Suites Hotel Great hotels are all about service: Can we fluff your pillow? Turndown your bed? Book you some theater tickets? But a few hotels in DC are redefining service and asking guests to pitch in. The Serve America and Stay in DC Package, offered at…

Top Ten Volunteer Vacations

Need a rewarding getaway this summer? About about 100 getaways? Author Pam Grout has gathered a wide selection of fantastic–and fulfilling–trips to choose from in her book The 100 Best Volunteer Vacations to Enrich Your Life. Here are some of her favorites, with the full book excerpt here on Traveler’s site. Want the whole book?…

National Trails Day This Weekend!

Planning on hitting the trails this weekend? Why not do some good while enjoying the great outdoors? This Saturday, June 6th, is National Trails Day, so there will be ample opportunities to repair and/or hike your favorite trails, learn more about hiking and hiking gear, dedicate new trails and get to know other hikers in your…

Hunter Braithwaite finds more that great surf along the Costa Rican coastline. Costa Rican roads are a cruel joke played on Americans, I thought, teary-eyed, as I clutched my forehead, which had just bounced off the windshield of our rented SUV. Why did this happen? What did we swerve to miss? Oh, the usual –…

Fact-checking our upcoming April edition of Smart Traveler on voluntourism put me in touch with African Impact‘s Jolene Harris, the company’s South Africa and Mozambique destination manager and marketing assistant. We chatted about African Impact, the volunteer work it facilitates for travelers to Africa, and what makes it special. First off, can you please tell…

Trash Travels

Contributing Writer Cathy Healy sorts out how one person’s trash can turn into the trip of a lifetime. The Pope flew into New York on the same day that Adi Carter was flying out, so TSA was tense. Two guards called her over and started to search her luggage. “What’s this?” demanded one guard, pulling…

Tour Guide: Homeless World Cup

Scotland wins the Homeless World Cup 2007 in Copenhagen For those who can’t wait for the soccer World Cup in 2010 in South Africa, there’s a different type of World Cup going on this year Down Under. This year, Melbourne is hosting the annual the Homeless World Cup, an international event featuring 500 footy players…

DIY Voluntourism

When we asked for your voluntourism experiences reader and travel blogger Anna Etmanska sent us a note about her do-it-yourself voluntour trips. Intrigued, we asked her to tell us a bit more about breaking out of the organized tour. I know voluntourism has recently become more trendy, but even I was surprised when a recent…

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“Don’t follow the crowd. . . Go Differently” is the motto of a sustainable, responsible tour company offering volunteering trips and “ethical holidays” to Bali, Bhutan, Cambodia, India, Laos, and Thailand. For example, an ethical holiday to the North Andaman in Thailand would include sleeping in a homestay, learning sustainable fishing practices, helping your hosts…

IT Voluntours

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The combination of travel and service work, or voluntourism, is hitting the mainstream—catching the attention of college students, professionals, and, get ready for it…Travelocity. The online travel agency has recently launched Travel for Good, partnering with several nonprofit organizations to make it easier for travelers to access volunteer opportunities around the world. Travelocity is a…