Everyday Ways to Give Back
Give Back While You're on Vacation
Your heart is full of wanderlust, but your bank account is empty.
Travel the globe (Europe? Indonesia? Yes!) for the cost of airfare through World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. You'll get your hands dirty picking crops or tending livestock, but you can arrange day trips, too. Lodgings aren't luxurious, but, then again, they're totally free.
You're ready to try your first solo vacay.
Sixty-five percent of Globe Aware volunteers are single travelers, so you won't feel awkward showing up alone to construct schools in Ghana or distribute wheelchairs in Cambodia. Each weeklong trip ($1,190 and up) offers three to five cultural excursions, too.
You don't consider it a vacation unless there's a spa nearby.
Why forgo luxury? At the Ritz-Carlton, call the concierge a few days ahead of your trip to ask about devoting a day to volunteering. Visitors to Washington, D.C., can head to the DC Central Kitchen and help feed the homeless; travelers in Shanghai can pitch in at a local school.
You're all about hiking somewhere beautiful.
Hit the trails with the Sierra Club at the Virgin Islands National Park on St. John ($1,125). You'll hike and snorkel to your heart's content for seven days, while also helping to maintain walking paths and clear beaches for turtle nesting. Trailblazing experience isn't required, but good boots and sunscreen are!
You're into mingling with the locals.
Grab a mosquito net and head to Guatemala for nine days with Habitat for Humanity ($1,310 to $1,450). You'll build houses and take your Spanish beyond "Una cerveza, por favor." Some trips are BYOSB (bring your own sleeping bag), so be ready to rough it.
The beach is calling your name.
You can flaunt your new bikini and save the dolphins on an eight-day trip to Greece with Earthwatch ($2,575). You'll board a research vessel to track dolphin pods. The early outings mean time later for the beach and a little ouzo. —Amanda Woerner