VolunTourism: Traveling for Good

VolunTourism is a relatively new concept, as defined by Voluntourism.org:

“VolunTourism is a combination of the words volunteerism and tourism. It integrates the best of travel and tourism – arts, culture, geography, heritage sites, the natural environment, and recreation – with the opportunity to serve and enhance the destination – its people, places, and things.”

Research shows that the concept of volunteering and vacationing together has grown in appeal in the wake of September 11, Hurricane Katrina and the Southeast Asia Tsunami of ’04.

Large corporations are also jumping on the bandwagon. My mom recently went to Mississippi to work with Habitat for Humanity to rebuild homes for those who lost everything during Hurricane Katrina. 

VolunTourism is also becoming more viable because it allows flexible scheduling. Instead of having to commit to months or years in the Peace Corps, it’s now easy to find an organization that can arrange a great opportunity for just a few weeks.  And even short-term experiences can be valuable.

Our trip was coordinated through Global Crossroad but there’s a vacation with a purpose out there for everyone: from teaching English, wildlife conservation, health-care, to rebuilding and rehabilitation centers.

Why are we doing it?  We think it’s a wonderful way to bond and have a fun, meaningful holiday and give back to the local community we are visiting while getting up close with these children in need.  It also lets us really “get into” the destination, rather than just see it from a tourists point-of-view.  We hope to make a difference while exploring the world and enriching ourselves in the process.  Now that’s an adventure!