Giving Back: Voluntourism

On today’s We Hear, let’s talk about how
to book and enjoy your vacation time while also giving back. We’re talking
about volunteer vacations. Vacations are a time to de-stress and come back
renewed. It’s important to step away from your daily grind. The question is, how
best to do that? The trend of people booking vacations that also include an
element of volunteering or community service or “voluntourism” is on the rise.
So how do you go about booking one? I had the chance to connect with travel
consultant Courtney Regan, who is also one of the original cofounders of Give
A Day Global, a company that connects travelers with one-day volunteer
opportunities all over the world. She gave me four pointers for those who
are looking to do some good while they take time off from their daily lives.
Number one: the first thing you need to do is decide on the most obvious
questions. Figure out your where and your when first, as in where in the world do
you want to go and for how long do you want to travel? There are opportunities
worldwide and pinpointing exactly how far you’d be willing to travel is key.
Trip sites can be relatively easy to access, perhaps to Central America,
or they can require more than a few days journey, such as Southeast Asia or Africa.
Farther flung locales require more travel time, so deciding how long you
want to be away is key. There are projects that fit into any schedule
ranging from a 1-day commitment to several days or weeks of immersion into
a culture. Number two, Courtney recommends really thinking through the what, as in
what type of work are you prepared to do? If you’re planning a trip for a family,
the best opportunities might be helping at a local school
or working on a sustainable farm to help water and care for the land. For example,
Courtney’s organization, Give A Day Global, can arrange for families with younger
volunteers to visit schools, as literacy helpers and you could spend the day
reading and playing soccer with kids. Individuals or a group of adults might
enjoy working with locals on construction projects. For example, the
organization Me To We offers a trip to India where you’ll spend time helping
villagers build new classrooms and community structures. It’s important to
decide what you can get involved in physically and go from there. Third on
our list is to do your research. While there are tons of websites all over the
internet offering packages geared toward the voluntourism traveler,
Courtney recommends asking lots of questions before choosing an
organization to help you get started. Aside from Me To We, which I just
mentioned, other reputable organizations include, UBelong, which offers
opportunities that last from one week to six months. Omprakash, which connects
individuals directly to social impact organizations in over 50 countries
worldwide. And Cross-Cultural Solutions, an organization dedicated to improving
children’s lives all over the world. And of course, Courtney’s own company Give A Day
Global is a wonderful resource that helps volunteers choose the right
opportunities and works with partners in places like Costa Rica, Peru, Nicaragua,
Thailand, South Africa, and Cuba. And the last recommendation to help you plan
your volunteer getaway is really all about being a good global ambassador. So
number four is don’t bring gifts. After you figured out where you’ll be
going, what you’ll be doing, and have booked your opportunity, you might be
tempted to pack extra socks or slippers or t-shirts for the locals that you’ll
meet. Courtney’s advice is: don’t. It’s best to not assume what an organization
needs and do not come bearing gifts. You’re kind-hearted gesture of 20 pairs
of rubber flip-flops might end up harming the ecosystem at your
destination or perhaps your organization really doesn’t need those Hanes t-shirts.
Resist the urge to bring anything at all or at least ask first. That’s it for this
week’s We Hear. As always push the both notifications and also follow us on
Instagram and Twitter. Travel savvy and see you next time! Hey there, I’m Paula Keung, editor in
chief and host of Travel Savvy TV. Thanks for watching us on YouTube. Don’t forget
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12 thoughts on “Giving Back: Voluntourism

  1. ✨ Hello hello TRAVEL SAVVY ✨ oOOOoh ! I really love your travel tips [email protected]! Thank you for sharing your great video with us✨
    We have not saw new video from you, since few month, I hope you are ok 🌸 I wish you to have a very nice week end 🌸👓[email protected] video👓
    🍾🍷🍇 Greetings from La France in Europe 🍾🍷🍇

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