You might be thinking, “What is voluntourism?” Voluntourism is a combination of volunteering and tourism. It’s a popular form of travel that allows you to contribute to sustainable development while exploring a new culture.1 When people refer to voluntourism, they often think of international travel to developing countries. However, there are ways to incorporate service into any trip you go on, domestic or international. Below are just a few of the ways to create a more meaningful trip.
Dedicate one day to service.
- If you have time in your vacation schedule, take a full day to give back to the local community. Is there a nearby food bank or meal packing center you can volunteer at? Is there a homeless shelter or soup kitchen that needs helpers during meal times? Helpful tip: Look at the local Catholic church’s bulletin to see if there is any service events happening while you are in the area.
Incorporate volunteering into your sightseeing.
- If you are visiting a park or local attraction, bring a small plastic bag with you to pick up trash. When asked at the register if you would like to donate, do it! Throughout your trip, you might be surprised at the simple ways to add in service.
Support local businesses.
- When you support local businesses, you in turn support the community that you are visiting. As Stacy Mitchell explained, “Compared to chain stores, locally owned businesses recycle a much larger share of their revenue back into the local economy, enriching the whole community.”2