When you plan a vacation, either an international trip or travel in the USA, there are many ways to give back. First, drop any preconceived notions you may have that you are on a mission. Giving is as much of a joy as being on the receiving end. Share your talents, but also be open to learning. Share yourself, and also be willing to have an authentic experience in a unique community. Have fun! Nothing connects people like laughter—it is the universal language.
Extend your vacation time to include a week, a weekend, or a month in the destination of your choice, and give back when you travel! Feel free to ask your Authentic Vacations travel expert to include a giving back experience. Here are some of our favorites:
Natural Resource Preservation
One of the most satisfying aspects of this travel is cleaning up spots around the world that are overrun, at one time of year or another, by tourists. You may choose to clean up a beach or the ocean. You can go on a kayak trip that is also a clean-up operation. Take a kid-friendly trip on back country trails and garden or plant in national forests.
Glorious Italy has countless ways to give back, and who wouldn’t want to extend their time in that most beautiful of Mediterranean countries? You can support English teachers in classrooms, or become a marine research assistant and watch whales and dolphins. Volunteer with the Archaeological Heritage project, and you collaborate with a team of local archaeologists—fabulous!
Help the migrant community while experiencing the countryside outside Rome. You’ll help with seasonal chores while enjoying the best in fresh, local food. If you’re a music lover, consider becoming part of a music education program for kids. This program is about the joy of playing together and social integration.
You want to go to Iceland for a first-hand experience of the most interesting geo-thermal activity in the world. Great! Extend your vacation and give back to this extraordinary country and culture. In the south of Iceland, you can work in a geothermal greenhouse, preparing organic medicines and taking part in organic agriculture.
Throughout the country, there are chances to focus on environmental education, sustainability, beach clean-ups, and seed collecting. Work with international volunteers and expand your horizons.
Ireland has an exceptional number of ways to give back while travelling. Extending your travel there is not only a dream, it is easy. Immerse yourself in meaningful travel by helping people with special needs. Be part of a sustainable farming project, assist in an arts center, or teach at a rural school.
You can also make a positive impact by supporting local artists with marketing campaigns. Ireland has a rich tradition of loving the land, and this is your chance to join the sustainable farming movement. Get involved with gardening, animal husbandry, and yogurt making at eco-farms. Volunteer at farmer’s markets or a farm café to help with the business side.
For those who feel the desire to give back while travelling, Ireland is a perfect place for first-timers. The people are friendly and there are zero language barriers.
THE UK, including Scotland
© Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust
Extend your Scotland vacation and see the country through entirely different eyes. Consider volunteering at a Husky Ranch and experiencing off-the-grid living, dog care, and dog mushing. Or, take off into the wild Highlands and help conserve native wildlife!
You might also want to set sail on the Hebridean Sea in a research vessel to assist with dolphin and whale monitoring. Thrilling. The information that you help gather will be used to ensure that marine life is protected into the future.
The United States
If you want to travel locally, there are plenty of opportunities to give back on your USA vacation. Work in an Everglades wildlife and nature reserve. Volunteer for hands-on work with abandoned and rescued horses. You may also work with an amazing team that uses horses for therapy with special needs kids.
In the Rocky Mountains and the Northeast, there are also opportunities to work with neglected horses. In Arizona and the Southeast, choose to work with wildlife, plus exotic wildlife, for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. And, if you really want to get wild while giving back, consider volunteering on a Husky ranch outside Fairbanks, Alaska.