It’s fair to say that most of us want to give back when traveling. But how?
When you visit someone’s home for dinner, you bring along a little something for the hostess. It is, after all, the polite thing to do when someone opens their doors to you and invites you into their personal space. The same premise applies to tourism. Everyday thousands upon thousands of travelers enter foreign countries in an attempt to soak up a new culture and in return they are welcomed with open arms by their hosts. So what do you bring your host when it’s a nation and not a person? Obviously, a bottle of wine isn’t going to cut it. Plus, you want to know that your gift mattered. Here are five ways we’ve helped when away from home.
1) Through my business Best Tools for Schools, I’ve packed a few less outfits and crammed in as many school supplies as I could bring.
2) Instead of exchanging our money back at the airport, we donate what’s left to a local charity.
3) We pack children’s clothing and shoes that no longer fit to donate. Ask at the front desk of your hotel, they will know where to direct it.
4) We visit non-profit tourist attractions that serve the greater good, like The Turtle Hospital in The Florida Keys.
5) We are mindful of the footprint we leave behind when visiting another country and are cognizant of waste. Where possible we have donated to local environmental protection groups.
Recently, however, I attended the TMS Family Travel Conference in Niagara Falls and found two more amazing ways to give back when traveling.
Passports With Purpose
First is Passports With Purpose. This amazing organization was started by a group of passionate travelers in 2008. Since then, they have helped raise money for Heifer International, helped build a school in Cambodia, built an entire village in India, helped build libraries in Zambia and ensured clean water for many through Water.org last year. This year, they are striving to raise $115,000 USD to help buildOn build three new schools in Mali.
Travel bloggers around the globe secure travel prizes and on November 25th, 2013 they will each publish a post about their fabulous donors and the even more fabulous prizes. This is where you come in. You buy raffle tickets for $10 a piece and each of your tickets can be designated to the prize of your choice. Past prizes have included a stay at the Marriott in San Juan, a luxury penthouse in Mexico, and assorted travel goodies. Of course, this year promises to be even more exciting with more travel bloggers participating than ever. Mark November 25th on your calendar now.
Together For Good
A few years ago, I had the pleasure of traveling with Together for Good founder Nancy Schretter in Jamaica. We collaborated pre-trip to bring school supplies with us for a local school. It was not surprising for me to find out then that Nancy ran this amazing website.
Together for Good lists an amazing ninety opportunities in the Caribbean for you and your family to give back while traveling. It doesn’t matter if you’re on a cruise, visiting an island or looking for an immersive voluntourism opportunity, Together for Good can help you find the perfect way for you to give back when traveling.