For many of us, New Year’s resolutions center on saving money, doing good for others or even traveling more.1 But what if all of those resolutions could be met simply by taking part in one of several voluntourism efforts across the globe? For those unfamiliar, voluntourism is a spin on tourism, where travelers participate in charity work as part of their trip.
The trip may be low‐cost and you’ll spend a pre‐determined time period helping others with specific needs such as education, rebuilding or even professional endeavors. How’s that for checking all the resolutions off your list? Check out our top picks for voluntourism destinations in 2018:
According to a study by Statistica, some of the poorest people in the world live in India and it’s the second‐most populated country. With a population of more than 1.32 billion and nearly one‐third living on less than $1.25 per day, there’s a clear need for volunteer efforts throughout this region and a number of voluntourism programs have sprung up to answer the call. From gardening and construction to teaching and health management, here is a list of the best voluntourism experiences in India via Conde Nast Traveler.
Following the impacts of Hurricane Maria in September 2017, Puerto Rico is still in the midst of its rebuilding efforts. Approximately one‐fifth of hotels have yet to reopen and some attractions remain closed for now. Tourists are still welcome, though, and Travel & Leisure recommends that visitors who wish to help in recovery efforts bring an extra suitcase full of supplies (dry foods, hygiene products) or contact local hotels to learn about volunteer efforts.
The 2017 Atlantic Hurricane season devastated numerous locales across the Caribbean and the southern U.S., and when Hurricane Harvey made landfall, Texas sustained record‐breaking damage. Though the storm was months ago, the rebuilding efforts are still underway in some parts of the State. Samaritan’s Purse is spearheading local recovery efforts to rebuild houses in some south Texas towns, such as Rockport – an effort that is expected to take two years. Read more about volunteer support that is still needed.
With more than 1.5 million people living with HIV/AIDS, 38 percent of the population living on less than $1.25 a day, and nearly half the population under the age of 14, Uganda is also a top destination for volunteers. Though voluntourism projects are many, help is needed with early childhood education as well as HIV/AIDS education, prevention and treatment.
Devastating wildfires hit southern and central California at the end of 2017 and recovery is still underway with plenty of opportunities to help the affected communities bounce back. Visit California, a nonprofit organization, stresses that the best way to help after the tragic fires, is to keep travel plans in place and visit! Whatever California destination you select, the continuation of tourism to the state will help return the area to a sense of normalcy, but if you’re visiting Southern California specifically, consider the numerous volunteer opportunities listed at VisitVenturaCA.com.