How to Travel Making a Unique Difference

by | Oct 2, 2018

With summer officially over, some of us are turning our focus to the holidays that are swiftly approaching. But for the planners amongst us now is the prime-time for planning next summer’s adventures.

In a recent travel blog called Multi Briefs, I read an interesting statistic about millennials and travel. “81 percent of millennials volunteered in the destinations they visited, 78 percent donated cash, and 83 percent gave in-kind to help with local development, according to those polled in a study from Tourism Cares.”

These are stunning numbers. Born between the early eighties and well into the late nineties these men and women today are between the ages of 20 and 36. Without knowing the real stats, I sense they travel more than my generation (late baby boomer) did at that same age.

They travel because they love to know more about what’s right around the corner, on the next continent, or quite literally want to travel to every continent. It makes them happy.

And happiness is highly associated with a higher purpose according to the 2010 benchmark study on happiness from the Stanford Business School.

Millennials not only travel to see the sights but they also travel to experience the culture – the community of another. They are drawn to opportunities to volunteer, making a difference at their destination and along the journey.

What can we learn from this generation? We can trust our instincts to make a difference wherever we find ourselves.

We can join them in their excursions to volunteer in the community of others.

Here are a couple of ways to learn about short-term volunteer opportunities:

  • Give a Day Global – International one-day volunteer opportunities
  • Moving Worlds – Volunteer opportunities in 55 countries including the USA
  • Habitat for Humanity – International and local build projects in 40 countries
  • Olivia’s Basket – Local and international short-term teams of volunteers. (Photo above was taken during a recent “All Ladies Team Home Build” in Mexico with Olivia’s Basket.)

Moving Worlds even provides an opportunity for professionals to share their specific skill-set through what they describe as “experteers.”

I have one more suggestion for you to consider.

But first, a question: How familiar are you with the parts of your community where you don’t live or work and seldom travel? Consider a planned travel destination with a group of friends or co-workers to a part of your community seldom traveled. Getting to know a different part of your community might provide unexpected opportunities for making a difference without traveling very far.

I am the first to admit that giving in this way is not right for everyone. Before you decide to branch out and book an international trip with a volunteer opportunity or an excursion into a part of your community you don’t know much about, do the exercise in Giving Fingerprints.

If you find you are attracted to courage, hard work, innovation, possibility or risk, then plan a trip – here or abroad. But do the exercise first, so you know for sure those values truly matter to your unique giving style.

There are many ways to give your time, talent and resources. Make your giving count by doing it in your unique way.

How have your travelteered? What difference did you make?

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1 Comment

  1. Dorothy Franks

    Thank you Dawn for sharing this information!!!

    This is a subject that I discussed with my daughter and her group of 32 during a recent tour to SE Asia in celebration of her 50th birthday. The idea to include a “Service or Chatitable Purpose” for their group’s annual travel was embraced by all. We are presently in the process of developing the plan.

    This is right in time!!!

    You are awesome…


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