Volunteer Vacation Primer

By: Manya Chylinski

No longer on the fringes of travel, voluntourism has attracted increasing numbers of travelers looking to learn new skills, meet people, and give back to the global community. In a recent Travelocity poll, 38 percent of repondents said they planned to volunteer while on vacation; thats up from just 6 percent in 2006. "People tell me that a vacation with us is the most meaningful experience of their lives," says David Minich of Habitat for Humanity. Here's how to plan one.

THE EXPERIENCE:

Go with your interests when deciding to work with people, animals, or the environment. Most programs don't require you to have any special skills. Despite the short-term naure of these trips, you may complete a significant task, such as building adobe stoves in an Amazon village. "We're not solving the world's problems," says Globe Aware's Kimberly Haley-Coleman. "But volunteers do make a difference."

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