It’s a privilege to travel the world. Whether you’re traveling only once this year, or 100 times, there are many ways you can be more than a vacationer or business traveler. You can pay it forward and leave the place a little bit better than when you arrived.
We’ve rounded up a list of our favorite organizations that help travelers give back. Check them out below.
1. Deliver much-needed supplies
Our friends at Not Just Tourists rely on vacationers to deliver medical supplies to local clinics. All you have to do is sign up to take a suitcase or small bag with you. Not Just Tourists will pack the bag, provide you with the necessary letters and find a clinic close to the area you will be traveling. Don’t worry! You won’t be transporting anything illegal. There is no medication in the packages. Think bandages, gauze, gloves, syringes, etc.
Pack For A Purpose offers a similar service as Not Just Tourists, but this company works with hotels where you can drop off your donation. With Pack For A Purpose, you can also deliver children’s clothes, toys, and school supplies. Browse their list of locations to see if you can help on your next trip.
If you can’t take additional bags with you, Globe Drop helps you to get supplies at local markets when you arrive. The way it works is that Globe Drop has a web app where local charities (schools, health centers, orphanages, etc.) can register. Travelers then find charities that are close to their travel destination and view their wishlist of items. Next is a shopping trip to local markets to find those items and deliver them. It’s a bonus for local economies and you’ll get an up-close look at the culture.
2. Save your hotel soaps
Save the soaps and toiletries hotels place out for you every day. They can be easily donated to local women’s shelters or homeless shelters when you return home.
Alternately, Clean the World can help you get your donated unused toiletries to places across the world. They collect unused hygiene products from individuals or the hospitality industry and deliver the products locally and globally to those in danger of hygiene-related illnesses.
3. Volunteer on vacation
Book your next adventure with a sustainable travel company like G Adventures. Not only does G Adventures offer smaller group-based adventures for many kinds of travelers but they support responsible tourism. Their philanthropic arm, the Planeterra Foundation was created to make sure all travel dollars spent go back into the communities they operate in.
To kick up the kindness, G Adventures gives you the option to donate $3 when you book your trip, or you can donate a dollar-a-day for the duration of your trip.
If you want to get more hands-on in how you help others, book a trip where you can volunteer to help people directly. GoVoluntouring has a database where you can find what you’re passionate about. From saving dolphins in Croatia to helping special needs children ride horses in Mexico, there are opportunities for everyone to get involved.
Do you have other ways you like to give back when you travel? We want to hear your ideas in the comments below.