4 min Read
Eco-Voluntourism: The next generation of family-friendly travel
April 2, 2013
4 min Read
April 2, 2013
While writing an article recently, I was introduced to the concept of Eco-Voluntourism. Much like the variety of “sweat-equity” type vacations, Missions, or active disaster response volunteer opportunities (think rebuilding and recovery after Hurricane Sandy or the Earthquake in Haiti), Eco-Voluntourism is the next generation of conscientious, earth-friendly travel.
From Carbon Credits to staying in eco-friendly hotels to sticking to the principals of reduce, reuse, recycle, there is a growing roster of exciting “green” opportunities to allow you to see the world, learn about a new culture or environment, and all while helping or protecting the planet.
The website EcoVolunTours.com best describes Eco-voluntourism as going beyond Voluntourism which traditionally involves offering some man hours to provide “much-needed services while offering a very personal cultural exchange, creating long-lasting ties between foreign tourists and local community members” and taking it a step further to “minimize the environmental impact ….(and)…in addition, at least some of the volunteer opportunities are selected to contribute positively to the environment.”
But traveling to such far-flung places with limited resources and access is not for the faint of heart. Any time you travel with kids you really need to do your research and think about what you as a family hope to get out of this type of a vacation. I am an advocate of really involving kids in the research, planning and preparation, and if there is a lot of resistance before you go, then this is not the type of vacation to push on them. And ‘not now’ doesn’t mean never, consider putting off this type of trip until the kids are older or more willing to participate.
In researching this option for our family, I came across quite a few really good resources. The folks at www.greenyour.com outline tips on what you need to know and how to prepare to become an eco-voluntourist. To start, I’d suggest having a family meeting and ask yourselves:
For a more detailed list of questions you can check out www.travelanthropist.com
Whatever your goal – simply greener travel or lending a hand – there are options for every budget and accommodation preference. Once your family gives you the green light, here is a list of the top 7 family-related Eco-voluntourism websites: