Travelers today have a host of options if they want to travel for a cause — a style to fit anyone with a desire to travel for good. Melinda Johnston of LUX World Travel, a company that specializes in personalized travel with an emphasis on sustainability and philanthropy, shares five great types of travel to create change one vacation at a time.
With the world getting smaller and traveling getting more “personal” than ever, the well-seasoned traveler is looking for something more than tourist-filled plazas and resorts. The modern day traveler wants to experience the places they visit hands-on & many desire to also make a difference. With the perfect blend of service, community and raw experiencing of local spirit, travel for a cause is the answer for all globetrotters with heart.
A vacation with a cause touches all levels of mind, body and spirit, while providing true cultural immersion and contributing to greater good. Independent tour operators are popping up to provide travelers with philanthropic travel itineraries that allow meeting regional natives, participation in ceremonies, and giving back either in dollars or volunteered time. This is travel for a cause.
Opportunities for Global Trekkers
Today traveling for a cause has expanded with different styles to fit all timeframes, ability to contribute and preferred purpose. Here are some of the common options to inspire your global heart and soul:
Philanthropic Travel: This traveler has more money than time. Travelers stay in luxury accommodations, and are given hands-on opportunities that dive deeper into the native culture, & experience regional projects in action. These custom-made trips are one-of-a-kind and itineraries will feature local gourmet food, fine wines, and private guides for events or ceremonies.
Philanthropic travel has proved to be a wonderful way to bring potential donors in and up-close with the people most in need of help. With such close interaction, many times philanthropic travelers becomes an organization’s valuable supporter and continue to campaign for the cause after the vacation is over.
Volunteer Travel: Meaningful vacations allow a budget conscience traveler to give-back by participating in work programs in a wide assortment of activities as wildlife rescue, well digging, home construction, health camp aid and providing education to local communities.
This is a common way for young students in high school and college to travel while learning more about humanitarian issues. Volunteer trips abroad are a way to become part of foreign community & culture and experience life from a different perspective. Volunteer travel projects, common in the summer, exist for from one-week getaways up to 3 months.
An example of volunteer travel is the Peace Corp. Although this requires a 27-month commitment, those desiring profound cultural immersion and service opportunities, this is a life-changing opportunity. This type of program provides a unique chance to live in another country and working on projects from healthcare and the environment to business development.
Teaching Abroad: Imagine spending your summer teaching English in Spain and learning to cook or surf in your free time! These types of programs are easy to find and you’ll get paid for your teaching but ensure you choose a respected company that has done their research on their projects and your accommodations.
Charity Travel: Charity climbs or charity adventure events such as races, biking challenges and trekking tours are part of the growing industry of adventure travel. With adventure trips that range from dude ranches to sky-diving, this type of vacation is also an excellent source for corporate travel and team building. Conscious business owners might consider planning a trek, or adventure tour instead of the standard hotel and board-room type gatherings for staff and executives.
These trips give back big time, as the traveler actually has to raise money, or be “sponsored” at entry levels generally in the $500- $2500 range just to participate. This is great for causes like Hope Lodge of the American Cancer Society or for Breast Cancer fundraisers, since 10 participants automatically raise up to $25,000 for the local chapter of that non-profit organization.
Vacations that Give Back: Choosing a conscious tour operator or travel agent who willfully donates a portion of the proceeds back to a non-profit organization of choice is another way to travel for a cause. This type of vacation planning when used on a large scale can generate a massive amount of fundraising cash for organizations since the agent donates 10% or more back to a cause. For example: if a group has 100 members who all take at least one vacation a year, with an average cash back return from the donating agency or tour operator, the group or charity just earned $10,000 for the year.
Today, anyone can book their vacation on the Internet, but by becoming aware of conscious travel agencies, tour operators and travel for a cause opportunities, you will find the same vacation, at the same price, that now has a positive impact for the entire planet.
photo credit: lux world travel