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Meaningful Travel

Many who are sick of the one week all inclusive at a non-descript Caribbean resort are investigating options in volunteer travel, otherwise known as meaningful travel or voluntourism.

Meaningful travel is a growing trend in the U.S., according to the Voice of the Traveler survey conducted by the Travel Industry Association and Synovate.

Twenty-four percent of travelers said they were currently interested in taking a volunteer or service based vacation. Interest was strongest among baby boomers, with the largest share of those interested falling into the 35 to 54 age range.

To show that there is growth in the meaningful travel trend, nearly 22 percent of travelers said they were more interested now in taking such a trip compared to five years ago.

The gamut of volunteer travel opportunities is huge. You could work in Africa on construction, development and conservation projects. You could care for people suffering from AIDS or work to build a school or orphanage. If you’re an animal lover, working with Sea Turtles in Costa Rica to ensure their preservation is another example of volunteer travel opportunities.

Some people engaging in volunteer or meaningful travel stay abroad for an extended time period. Perhaps, these travelers are looking to work on a foreign language, develop or use skills that will help in future employment or would like a new, challenging experience.

Beyond the satisfaction of helping others, there are added perks to volunteer travel. For example, you will probably get inexpensive room and board and it is a rare opportunity to become involved at a grassroots level. You will get to know the locals and you will come back filled with rich experiences and the knowledge that you made a difference.

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