10 News, Tampa Bay's and and Sarasota's CBS station, recently looked at volunteer travel and volunteer vacation trends and their growing popularity.
Volunteering on vacation is a fast-growing trend
You can help others while seeing the world is a new trend!
Author: Jenny Dean
Published: 11:00 AM EDT April 25, 2019
Updated: 11:00 AM EDT April 25, 2019
TAMPA, Fla. — A vacation often means rest and relaxation, but more and more people are looking at traveling as an opportunity to help others and give back.
"I've been up the Amazon River, I've been to Vietnam, Romania, Guatemala, Haiti, several places in the United States, Puerto Rico, all over the Caribbean," said Don Germaise.
Germaise is a familiar face to many in Tampa Bay, but this former TV reporter's life has changed a bit.
"In the TV business you see the best and the worst the world has to offer, and at some point, it just occurred to me: I just gotta do something to make the world a better place," he explained.
He now travels the world, volunteering his time to help others.
"Here's the best part about a volunteer vacation, you're not stuck at a dumpy hotel doing tours that everyone else does," Germaise said. "You're meeting regular people, living with regular people and helping regular people all over the world."
Travel Writer Joe Miragliotta says that's exactly why more people are spending time volunteering on vacation.
"Travelers, especially millennials like myself, are becoming more socially conscious when it comes to choosing where they go," Miragliotta said. "They want to connect with the communities and causes they really care about."
He recently took some time out of a trip to San Francisco to help out at a local farm.
"Here, volunteers are growing healthy foods for the community, and they give it right back for free; and you know you can tend the vegetable gardens, help clean the orchard -- lots of fun activities," Miragliotta explained.
And, volunteering doesn't have to take up your entire vacation. You can do it for a few hours or even a few days. It's all up to you.
For Don, one of the most rewarding parts is the people you meet and lives you touch.
"With a kid...when you do something as simple as giving him or her a pencil when they never had a pencil for school, the look in their eyes is so incredible," Germaise said. "It's like they got an iPad for Christmas. It's the greatest feeling in the world."
He is currently planning volunteer vacations this year to Costa Rica, Romania and Vietnam. When he's not traveling, he spends his time volunteering five days a week right here in Tampa.