31 Ways to Combine Travel with Giving: The Half-Way Mark

December 16, 2011 at 5:14 am Leave a comment

by Becky

As we reach halfway through December, we are also halfway through my challenge to call out 31 realistic ways to combine travel (and love of travel) with charitable giving and volunteerism (love of the world around us), as I first described here. The series is playing out on Twitter — follow @BeckyOnTheRoad and search the hashtag #31travelgiving to see the ideas.

For those of you traveling to destinations in the developing world, there are countless ways to impact the community around you for better.  You can deliver clean solar lights to families in villages without electricity. Teach children in Guatemala. Wash rescued elephants in Cambodia. Don’t see your passion there? You can search the United Nations World Volunteer Web for a project that suits you at your destination.

But for many of us who are staying closer to home or not traveling any time soon, there are easier ways to make a difference. My favorites I’ve profiled so far include:

  • Donate your spare frequent flyer miles to charity. The airlines make this easy, and you can use the miles to support (usually your choice of) organizations that help get sick children and adults to the medical institutions that can provide them care. (In the case of American Airlines, you can choose to donate miles to help get wounded US military veterans home to their families, as well.) Here are the links for the major airlines in the US that have frequent flyer miles charity donation programs.
  1. Delta
  2. United & Continental
  3. American
  4. US Airways
  • Consider supporting the Air Charity Network, which uses a national network of pilots to transport financially needy patients to hospitals for treatment, using their own aircraft.
  • Like to run? Runners’ World’s Race Finder tool helps you locate races and run/walk events at a destination. Then show up to support the cause, whether it’s to visit the merchants and hear the stories of the organization the run is supporting, or to slap some sneakers on your feet and go the distance.
  • Planning a vacation for fun? Bidding For Good donates proceeds from your bid on travel packages go to support non-profit organizations.

I still have 16 days left of ideas to share on Twitter. What’s your idea for pairing travel with do-gooding for the world around you? Do tell!

Thanks, and happy holidays to everyone. May your travels be safe and your hearts be warm, wherever you are.

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