Giving back while traveling is something every globe-trotting wanderer should consider as often as they possibly can. Sure, we all need that beach holiday where our worries are left behind once you board that airplane but that doesn’t mean that you can’t add a little meaning to your vacay. A trip in which you volunteer to help the local community with some of your time (and money) adds a whole new dimension to travel.
There are endless opportunities all over the world where your time — and labor — can make a difference. Natural disaster relief, fresh drinking water, education, and building homes only scratch the surface of how you can help while you’re on the road. The eight programs below offer a great place to start if you’re looking into volunteering during your next trip around America or abroad. Spend a few days volunteering and then the rest of the time enjoying that beach or climbing that mountain you’ve been looking forward to tackling.
Think of these voluntourism opportunities as a deep introduction to a new place where the cultural exchange goes both ways and a chance to help protect the earth and its residents.
Spend A Week Volunteering On The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation With Re-Member
The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is the most socio-economically depressed community in the United States. Life-expectancy is lower on the Pine Ridge than it is in Iraq, Somalia, and Yemen — places embroiled in wars. That’s all been compounded by devastating floods this spring that have left thousands stranded without access to basic necessities like food and water. In short, this place needs your help.
Re-Member runs weeks-long working vacations that focus on a cultural exchange. Volunteers work on the reservation — building everything from outhouses to wheelchair ramps on houses. The week also gives people a chance to connect with the Oglala Lakota and get a handle on what life is like in America’s poorest community.
One week costs $575 and includes all housing, food, and transportation while on Pine Ridge. Trips run between March and October every year.