Get Your Spring Break On and Give Back with Ecotourism and Voluntourism

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The sun is shining, the weather is warm and we’re dreaming of Spring Break. But before you pull out the white t-shirts and tequilla shots, both organic natch, it’s worth looking at some alternatives. Sure a self indulgent trip to Bermuda to lounge in the sun would be lovely, but we’re a multi-tasking society so is there a way to add value to our travels?  Is there a way to kill two desires with one vackay? Enter in Ecotourism and Voluntourism.

As Anna Gorman writes for Ask the GreenMan “Ecotourism focuses on low-impact travel and activity in a natural environment, while voluntourism is more about traveling to a destination and volunteering for a cause.” This essentially means you can have your vegan fair trade muffin and eat it too. You can go to tropical destinations, enjoy the wildlife, natural beauty and make a positive impression on the place.  Check out the International Ectourism Society for more great ideas!  FYI Guess who were voted as the world’s worst tourists? Yeah, that’s right- Americans. Ruh roh! 

You can be a voluntourist by giving back to the community you visit at a school, or community center. There are also trips designed specifically towards great causes like helping children, animal welfare, health care, environmental protection or community building. See more about how to make your trip count here.

And our friend the Travelocity Roaming Gnome awesomely has the Travel for Good where they give tips on voluntourism, green transportation, and a green hotel directory.

You can always make small steps for greater greeness when you travel. Simple things like re-using your towel and declining fresh linens everyday make an impact. Turning off the AC and lights, paperless billing, and eating at local restaurants with local cuisine are all ways to be an ecotourist. Let us know some of your travel green tips!

If you feel like getting your volunteerism on tomorrow in D.C. you can join Vanilla Erin at the Capital Area Food Bank!