What does it mean to travel with a purpose?
Travelling with a purpose supports sustainable, long-term economic growth. It is a growing travel trend, especially to destinations in the developing world.
Adding meaningfulness can make a journey infinitely more rewarding and fulfilling and has the ability to turn a mere ‘holiday’ into a truly life-changing experience. It can open your eyes to another side of a country, its people, and the challenges they face.
There can be a range of opportunities that include volunteering and even becoming more socially and environmentally conscious about local projects and cultures. These can have some immensely rewarding effects on you personally if you can spend time listening to stories from the locals and contribute to fantastic causes that need our help and support.
A very direct way you can travel with a purpose is to volunteer at a local non-profit organisation. This is a great way to get off the beaten path, interact with the local community, and give back. Volunteer projects range from educational programs with children, working with wildlife, feeding the hungry to teaching English, or other practical skills. Travellers with a medical, dental or nursing backgrounds can volunteer their skills at a clinic at the destination they’re visiting.
Volunteering at your travel destination gives you first-hand exposure to some of the challenges that residents face and allows you to see things from a perspective that differs from the typical tourist one. Often times, travelers discover that the most memorable and favourite part of their trip was their volunteer experience.
If volunteering is not your thing, you can try to help the local economy financially or by supporting local community projects.
There are incredible projects that you can support such as women and youth empowerment and development programs, environmental conservation projects, education and health programs and facility improvement schemes.
This can be through thoughtfully selecting family-run accommodation like B&B’s, restaurants, locally run businesses and projects that sell products whose proceeds support a number of well-known women’s, children’s, health, animal, and environmental causes and institutions.
The Amaco team frequently attempt to include these sort of things into our programs. We look for opportunities to visit local communities in the destinations we visit on our trips and give participants the chance to experience purposeful travel in a first-hand way. We firmly believe that opening up opportunities to expand perspectives and conversations can deepen and enhance the whole travel experience.
Below are some of our favourite programs and projects for purposeful travel experiences.
Their mission is to positively impact communities around the world by assisting travelers who want to take meaningful contributions to the destinations they visit. Pack for a Purpose will supply lists for destinations on their website and are provided directly by the local community-based projects that receive and use the supplies, enabling travelers to make an informed decision and to take items that meet the needs of those who will be using them.
Koto’s motto is Know one, Teach one. Started by Jimmy Pham in 1999 KOTO is a not-for-profit social enterprise that empowers at-risk and disadvantaged youth in Vietnam through its holistic hospitality training program and incredible restaurants you can visit in Saigon and Hanoi.
KOTO also has the capacity to accommodate more than 200 trainees per year. The centre in Hanoi s a four-story building fully equipped with facilities such as campus, classrooms, canteen, library, computers for the trainees who often have no-where else to live.
World Youth International has more than 30 years’ experience in providing amazing volunteer opportunities for people abroad and develops meaningful partnerships with in-country organisations to deliver successful development projects.
They work with local partners to support projects in areas of health, education, WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene), agriculture, and livelihoods. They take a ‘hand up, not a hand out’ approach to development, which means they support local communities to implement projects that build their capacity to generate their own income and improve access to basic services long-term.
Do you support any overseas charities or causes? We’d love to know more about them and what inspired you to get involved.