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Giving Back When Traveling

As restrictions are slowly lifting and our way of live is returning to normal, I’m sure you have a wish for wanderlust whether that be a weekend road trip near home or a month-long excursion across the globe. Our mission to bring opportunity to underserved communities leads us to remote villages that can provoke feelings of guilt for our own privilege. Although we practice budget travel ideals, we’re not blind to the fact that life in our country lends itself to opportunities not afforded to many.

Our work is not done out of pity—in fact, the villages where we work at some of the most joyful places we’ve had the pleasure of visiting. The way of life in the homes of our makers is to appreciate what they have instead of wanting for what they don’t. If enriching your own life by experiencing new cultures is something that speaks to you, consider traveling with purpose for your next trip so you can also enrich the lives of others.

Staying north of the equator
Costa Rica is a beautiful country rich in beautiful coastlines where you can stay with local families, volunteer with children, work on an agriculture conservation, and even volunteer to do light construction work to build community structures. In your downtime you can enjoy the delicious local cuisine (their national dish is a colorful stir-fried meal of rice and beans), play in the surf, and visit the cloud forests of Monteverde.

Heading to South America
Ecuador is nestled high in the Andes mountains, and its capital city of Quito is surrounded by a mix of rural and urban areas. Your time can be volunteered to assist with light construction and structure development within the city or with projects to support street children communities. While you’re here, be sure to explore the Galapagos Islands, historical colonial towns, and vibrant street markets.

Traveling farther
Zambia, located in southern Africa, boasts rugged terrain, diverse wildlife, parks, and safaris. Travelers can dedicate their time to working at a wildlife conservation, private game reserve research, teaching, child- and elderly care, medical needs, and activities in community centers. You’ll quickly integrate with the relaxed, local way of life during the day, and can enjoy weekend activities like sunset cruises and visiting the world wonder of Victoria Falls.

Is your wanderlust calling you somewhere else? You can give back at nearly any destination imaginable. Have you considered:

  • Donating supplies. Pack with a purpose and leave some needed items behind once you start your trek back home, school supplies and clothing for children are seen often on wishlists.
  • Donating time. Volunteering just a few hours can make a big difference. Consider cleaning up a waterway, helping a village construct a first aid center, or walking dogs at a shelter.
  • Shopping consciously. Instead of picking up cheap souvenirs made elsewhere, shop thoughtfully and purchase some local art instead.
  • Exploring thoughtfully. Hire local tour guides instead of traveling with a large company. There’s no better way to learn from indigenous people and explore local culture than from the people who live in that community.

As you look to plan your travels for 2021, 2022, and beyond, consider a conscious getaway the whole family can take part in. You’ll get to explore the world and get a new perspective by immersing yourself in a different culture.