Traveling to new places is nothing short of amazing. The sights, the cultures, the new foods, all of it introduces not only to new parts of the world, but to new parts of ourselves. Each time we travel we discover something new and special within our own internal worlds. When our travels lead us to a greater purpose, and we help others in our adventures, it reminds us that we are all connected to one another. Across the globe, spanning the oceans, we are bond to each other by the ties of humanity. All over the world we can find adventures that support others, and here are 9 ideas for trips that give back.

Help End Gang Violence

Panama City – In Latin America, where gang violence has been a longstanding problem, Fortaleza Tours is giving reformed gang members the chance to support their families while maintaining a peaceful existence and safe neighborhood. Partnering with the The Westin Playa Bonita, these ex-gang members take travelers on an exclusive tour of Casco Viejo, the heart of UNESCO World Heritage Site. Travelers will get to explore one of the oldest cities in Panama and even enjoy a treat from a pop bar along the tour. It is a great way to see Panama and help decrease gang violence.

Pack for a Cause

pack for a purpose 1Galapagos Island – In the Pacific Ocean, the Galapagos is a major attraction for travelers around the world. Ecoventura has a whole line of eco-friendly yachts to take explorers to the Island in luxury and style. Along the way, guests can join Ecoventura’s partner Pack with a Purpose and give back to the local community. Travelers will pack a 5 lb bag of supplies from a requested list and give their pack to the captain. From there, the Captain will drop off the supplies at the Alejandro Alvear School and the New Era Galapagos both of which support the education and arts of area children. 

Support the Women

Guatemala – Lake Atitlan is well known for its three volcanoes and the Mayan villages that surround it. Along the shore is a boutique hotel, Casa Palopo which works to give back to the indigenous villages like San Juan La Laguna. The hotel offers boat tours to this particular town where travelers will get a glimpse of the extensive art galleries and weaving cooperatives. San Juan La Laguna is also known for its progressive female empowerment. There is strong encouragement for women to develop their own business to support themselves, and education programs teach young women how to avoid unwanted or early pregnancies. The tours from Casa Palopo help boost the local economy and initiatives for women.

Keep the Tradition of Ancient Weaving

Peru – In Cusco, the JW Marriott El Convento Cusco  was once a 16th century convent. Today it houses Inca and colonial walls as well as archaeological ruins for guests to observe and the original columns and arches from the Saint Augustin Convent. In addition, the hotel has an open courtyard where visitors can experience ancient Andean Textile weaving. Local weavers come to the courtyard and provide demonstrations of the Andean weaving tradition. Guests can purchase the woven goods directly from the weavers to help support the ancient tradition.  


Find a Purpose in Travel

Fathom has started impact travel which begins in the Spring of 2016. There are round trip journeys from Miami to the Dominican Republic and Cuba. In these trips, travelers will work alongside residents in existing programs that help families and communities strive. It is a chance of a lifetime to immerse yourself in a new culture and devote your time and energy to change someone’s life as well as your own. It is a completely different kind of travel.

Save the Donkeys

donkey sanctuary aruba

Aruba – Hundreds of years ago, donkeys were brought to Aruba as a means of travel. However, with the arrival of the automobile these animals nearly became extinct on the island. This led to the Donkey Sanctuary to help care for the few remaining animals. The Aruba Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino work with the sanctuary and offer travelers the chance to support the donkeys by donating $10 to help volunteers care for them. In return, travelers will receive a backpack or purse for their donation as a perfect souvenir. People can also  adopt a donkey for the year by donating $200 which will allow for a donkey to receive plenty of food, water and medical care. Today there are 130 donkeys thriving at the sanctuary, and your donation could be a wonderful way to help care for a forgotten animal.

Create Positive Change with Travel

Crooked Trails is a non-profit organization determined to create travel opportunities that create a positive impact. They create trips for everyone including families, independent adventurers, and even those in retirement. Each trip is meant to make travelers more aware of  the history, culture, and ecosystems of their destination while engaging them in activities meant to provide support and help. You will find trips in Africa, South America, Central America, and Asia. It is a completely new way to explore the world and give to others.

Protect Florida Marine Life

Sandpearl Resort_Courtesy of Clearwater Marine Aquarium_Winter

Florida – In Clearwater Beach, the beautiful Sandpearl Resort works with the Clearwater Marine Aquarium to protect a variety of sea life including Winter and Hope, the stars from Disney’s Dolphin Tale 1 and 2. Visitors to the resort can go to the Aquarium and learn all about these animals and how they can provide support. Through donations, volunteering, and fundraising, guests can help keep these marine animals fed, healthy, and safe.

Traveling and Volunteering

The Relief Riders International is a travel company that plans horseback journeys in remote areas of the world where riders will provide humanitarian support to locals. It is truly an adventure that will take you out of your comfort zone and into some of the most beautiful and desolate areas in the world. As a participant you can help people that would otherwise have no means of support while you experience the world through a brand new lens.

Take a trip that will change lives around the world and leave you with more than just photos for your scrapbook.  


  1. As crazy as it sounds, I never thought of traveling to give back! What a great idea! I’m not knocking disney, but I would much rather spend my money on a vacation like this, than to an amusement park!

  2. This is a great point, I think about giving back at home but I’ve not thought about doing so while traveling. That is probably a better way to teach my kids.

  3. I love this and believe in all of the above. Marine life is especially close to my heart and giving back is something I look forward to in the years to come. Love Winter.

  4. I traveled to Tanzania with a group called “The Giving Lens” in 2013. I did feel like I helped make a little bit of a difference and also got to see so much more than if I had just stayed at a hotel and gone on a safari.

  5. How often do you get a chance to take a trip to give back?
    To be totally honest with you I don’t think we ever have… what an eye opener that’s for sure! Normally we travel to escape. I am going to have a chat with my hubby about this.

  6. I love the mission of these trips. My kids love dolphins so I can see them enjoying a volunteer vacation down to Florida. All these trips are a beautiful example of saving our world.

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