How to Take a Volunteer Vacation

Voluntourism is not about martyrdom. It’s about making a difference, even if you’re staying at a luxury hotel. With a growing number of hotels and tour operators offering trips that give back, the experience is more accessible than ever—from stints building houses with Hands On New Orleans and four-week HIV awareness programs in Thailand with the Global Services Corps to helping orphaned children in Kenya with Micato Safaris. But the key to a successful volunteer vacation involves a few basic considerations: What kind of an impact are you looking to have? How will the project you choose benefit the local community? (The latter is of particular concern, since less reputable charities and companies that overstate responsible-travel claims are all too common.) The most efficient and reputable organizations are those whose ultimate goal is to help communities work independently, Travelers who would prefer a relatively simple, low-key project, such as conducting a wildlife survey in Costa Rica, can opt for a hotel program. For a longer trip that involves daily contact with locals, a tour operator or nonprofit may be your best bet. To help you decide where to start, we’ve outlined what to watch for, and how to continue to make an impact after you return home. (more…)

Panama City Beach

Close your eyes and picture yourself lounging in the sunshine on a sugar-white, sand beach with the surf lightly nipping at your toes. The water is a breathtaking aqua blue and so crystal clear that you can see fish swimming and dolphins playing as you look just a few feet out. Paradise awaits for the perfect summer getaway, and you can get there from here in just a matter of hours. (more…)


By: Nancy Baker Faul
Daytona Beach, Florida! What a place to be in the spring and summer. Beautiful white sand beaches that the city officials let you drive your vehicles on. There are numerous restaurants to tantalize your taste buds with all forms of cuisine. Daytona is a place where you can play miniature golf or the “big boy” kind while gazing at the beckoning Atlantic Ocean and tall, stately palms. The World Golf Hall of Fame is in nearby St. Augustine. (more…)