Voluntourism: What It Is and How You Can Do It Responsibly

Have you ever wanted to do some good while on vacation? Volunteering while traveling is known as “voluntourism,” and it’s an amazing way to satisfy your wanderlust, immerse yourself in a new culture, and dedicate time to a cause close to your heart. Here, we present some of the many ways you can give back via “voluntouring.”

Helping Others

Feed those in need by scoping out local soup kitchens or homeless shelters while you’re traveling. You can offer your services in the kitchen, as a server, or as part of a cleanup crew. Be sure to immerse in the local culture and have candid conversations with those around you. You could also help build shelters, affordable housing, disaster relief efforts, and more with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity’s Global Village program.

Helping the Environment

Help protect Mother Nature by teaming up with a conservation program. Not only will you learn about environmental issues, but you’ll also have the opportunity to meet people who share your passion. For example, you could team up with Ocean Conservancy and head for the coast to clean shorelines and raise awareness about litter and plastic pollution. If you are always counting down until the next time you can hit the trails, consider teaming up with the American Hiking Society, where you’ll meet new people as you work as a steward in the American wild.

For Families

If you’re traveling with your family, check out organizations such as Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms, which connects farmers to families willing to volunteer their time on a small farm, or Give Kids the World, an organization that makes critically ill kids’ dreams come true.

Other Ways to Give Back

Pack for a Purpose is an organization that works with hotels and touring companies worldwide that provide travelers with a list of items they can bring to designated drop-off sites.

Before You Do…

We would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge some of the criticism that the voluntourism industry faces. Before you embark on a voluntourism excursion, think about why you want to participate in one in the first place. Do you genuinely want to help others or the environment? Is the organization that you are volunteering with reputable and respected? (We recommend International Volunteer HQ and A Broader View). Are you actually making a difference in the place where you are visiting? Asking yourself these questions is an important step.

Have you participated in voluntourism? Share your experience with us in the comments below!

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.