Are you itching to see the world but want to do some good at the same time? Volunteering while traveling, or “voluntourism,” is an increasingly popular pastime that combines vacation travel with volunteer work. As you plan your next trip, checkout these meaningful ways to give back to the communities you visit while traveling.
- Make a Difference at Local Schools
Leave a little extra room in your luggage and pack items that can be used by local schools and clinics in your destination. Pack for a Purpose works with hotels and tour companies across the world, providing a list of items that you can bring to a designated drop point at your hotel or arrange for a pick-up.
Want to have a more hands-on experience in the classroom? There are many opportunities to volunteer at schools while traveling, whether it’s teaching a language, helping students with homework or simply reading a book to the class. No matter what you do, you’ll leave a lasting impact on the community and its youth.
- Protect the Planet
Looking for a way to show some love to Mother Nature? Consider volunteering with a conservation program. This will give you the chance to learn more about environmental issues and provide the opportunity to come together with others who are also passionate about the planet.
Beach cleanups are a fun and easy way to protect our shorelines and raise awareness about litter and plastic pollution. Visit Ocean Conservancy to find a cleanup location near your destination or download its app, Clean Swell.
- Feed Those in Need
It’s easy to get caught up in our daily routines and take something as simple as a warm meal for granted. Volunteering at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter in the city you’re staying can be an eye-opening experience that supports those in need.
When volunteering, be sure to not only offer your cooking skills, but also your genuine compassion by way of warm conversations. After cooking the meal, take the time to sit with those in the shelter to talk, smile and laugh with the community.
- Find a Farm
Whether you want to learn how to grow your own food, connect with like-minded individuals or simply get a glimpse into what it’s like to be a farmer, volunteering at a farm is a great way to give back while you’re traveling.
WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities for Organic Farms) is an organization that links volunteers with organic farmers and growers to promote cultural and educational experiences and support the growth of sustainable communities. With flexible stay dates and farm hosts on every continent, you can experience life as a farmer wherever your travels may lead.
We’d love to hear about ways you have incorporated being a tourist AND a volunteer while on vacation. Share a photo with us on Facebook or Instagram (tagging @InspireKindActs) to inspire more ideas about how to support communities when traveling!