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Volunteer Travel Trendiness

Voluntourism Goes Mainstream

Volunteering while vacationing are a growing. Travelocity is doing more to bring "voluntourism" to the mainstream by launching a green travel program that gives travelers an opportunity to travel while making a positive impact on the environment. Of course, travelers can do this anyway on ecotours and by volunteering independently, but this green effort by Travelocity illustrates how mainstream volunteer vacations are becoming.

Travelocity's new Travel for Good Change Ambassadors program summary in their own words: "...from environmental work to animal rescue and habitat restoration to humanitarian and homebuilding missions around the world. Travelers can search their collections of volunteer trips and get inspired to do some good of their own. Our partners let travelers search for trips in a variety of ways: a cause that is dear to them, a place they want to visit, or dates they want to volunteer. Or one can simply browse them all and get inspired."

Travelocity also offers CO2 emissions "carbon offsets" to help offset the adverse environmental effects of traveling (the first major online agency to take this step). The upshot is that a tree will be planted on public land (where? that's not clear) if you purchase the offset when booking on the site. And since trees breathe out oxygen and soak up carbon dioxide, you can feel like you're making a small difference while traveling.

Props to any travel company who goes green. Our planet needs it.


As a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, I believe this is an excellent new trend in travel. However, sometimes the cash-costs associated with voluntourism seem (to me) to be inflated.

In the same way that buying "green" or recycled goods should bot be more expensive than buying "regular" items, I don't think the costs for doing good work should increase your vacation. Once travel operators can figure out how to make money AND encourage their visitors to do some good, I think we'll see this trend explode.

Then, all we have to worry about is whether the "good deeds" vacationers are doing are what's best for the locals we're "helping"!

Philanthropic Travel is an alternative to Voluntourism for families who desire an authentic cross cultural connection with locals and the humanitarian outreach projects that enhance those locals lives.

Many travelers prefer not to use their time in a foriegn country while sleeping in spartan accomodations Peace Corps style.

Instead, they are choosing to enjoy the experience, accomodations, ambience and cuisine they expect while dedicating a morning or afternoon to personally connecting with the people their generous tax deductible contributions will support.

Philanthropic travelers have funded in projects like these in Zambia, Burma, Tanzania and elsewhere in the developing world.

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