By Nicole Davis
Ever feel as though we’re running out of time to save the environment? Try taking a vacation to solve the problem. In the span of one week you can make a significant change. Volunteer vacationing has become a style of travel so popular, it now has a nickname, voluntourism. We’ve cherry-picked trips that allow green vouluntourists to work in fabulous countries like Peru or Thailand. You’ll be so captivated by your surrounding you’ll hardly notice you’re working.
(Note: Prices don’t include airfare)
Bring Cleaner Energy to a Peruvian Village
Even if you can get away only for a week, you still have enough time to do good in an exotic locale. Kimberly Haley-Coleman understands the average do-gooder’s time constraints, which is why she created Globe Aware in 2000. Instead of two or three weeks of international work, her non-profit offers week-long vacations that include unique projects and side trips in seven fantastic destinations.
In Peru, for instance, volunteers stay in a facility in Cusco where they teach children English and computer literacy. Or they can travel to rural Andean villages, which often lack electricity and running water, to build adobe stoves for cooking – a huge environmental – and health saver since they use only a fraction of the energy of traditional wood fires. This also eliminates carcinogenic smoke exposure, which can be the equivalent of smoking three packs a day.
Like every Globe Aware trip, the extracurricular activities are just as eye opening: Volunteers can visit Machu-Picchu and other ancient sites, as well as explore the cobble-stoned, streets of colonial Cusco.
The non-profit offers other eco-minded vacations too. Like the trip to Laos, where volunteers build wheelchairs from recycled parts for locals victimized by landmines; and a Costa Rican restoration project in a national forest reserve.
Duration: one week
Cost: $1050 to $1390 including accommodations and meals
Before You Go
Before signing up to volunteer halfway around the world, its worth investigating your potential job, the job’s organizer, and your financial concerns. David Clemmons, industry expert and director of volunteerism.org, offers a few pointers.