We all take time off for vacations, but the essence of travel has changed. People are no longer traveling for leisure alone. Now, tourists want to give back when they travel. Service vacations have gone from niche travel to mainstream tourism.
Just twenty years ago we did not have terms like “ecotourism” and “service vacation.” Humanitarian travel agencies help facilitate meaningful journeys, but how is one to know whether the agency they choose to travel with is a reputable one?
It wasn’t until the 21st century that volunteer travel as we know it today came into being. Back then, vacationing to give back was only for a certain kind of traveler. And even then, it was often nothing more than backpackers exchanging their time for lodging or meals. Sure, there were a few organizations working in the space back then, but it was not something that people equated with “travel.”
Today, volunteering abroad has evolved into a booming sector and exists separate from the broader adventure and leisure travel segments. Whether you want to travel solo, in a group, or as a family, there are more options than ever before. Service vacations are not just an activity for the financially secure or retirees, they have gained broad appeal with students and middle-income families.
Service vacations now encompass a wide range of activities, whether you want to volunteer for environmental or social causes. Many of these categories fall under the umbrella of “sustainable tourism.” When researching service vacation opportunities, you may find things like:
These are just a few examples you will encounter as you are looking into a service vacation for you or your family. Now, the question is, how do you find a humanitarian travel agency you can trust? Not all humanitarian organizations are created equal.
Actually figuring out what kind of service vacation you want to take can be daunting. The many options available for different types of humanitarian travel can be almost dizzying. Knowing how to properly research whether an organization is reputable might seem like a tall order. But don’t worry, it’s not.
Consider the following questions when you research where your next service vacation should take you:
There are other factors you must consider, from balancing your schedule to transportation and logistics. But the most important factors are those governing how you choose to give back and who you choose to partner with.
Humanitarian travel agencies have popped up all over the globe and for good reason. They answer the call to provide travel services for those who want to give back when they take a vacation. The problem is, how do you know which ones are reputable? All too often we hear horror stories of people who signed up to volunteer with a company peddling a scam.
To avoid finding yourself, your group, or your family at the receiving end of a travel scam, you’ve got to conduct your due diligence before signing up. Consider the following factors when researching the humanitarian travel agency you want to work with:
While there are certainly other factors, these are the most important. In the end, it is important that you don’t just sign up for a trip because it sounds good to you. Service vacations are not commitments you should take lightly, but as long as you conduct proper due diligence, you can rest assured you have chosen a reputable humanitarian travel agency.