Voluntourism: Baby Boomers Volunteer for their Vacations
Baby Boomer Voluntourism is a volunteer vacation which includes some activities that are focused on furthering a charitable cause for which the participant receives no remuneration.
The types of Voluntourism are diverse, from low-skill work cleaning up local wildlife areas to providing high-skill medical aid in a foreign country. Volunteer vacations appeal to the Baby Boomers who typically share a desire to “do something good” while also experiencing new places and challenges in locales we might not otherwise visit.
During the 1990s the travel industry developed niche products and firms to provide volunteer vacations to those who had no previous experience with a cause, and to cater to the increasing number of Baby Boomers looking for more from a vacation than just relaxing and for one that produces a real “life experience”.
Baby Boomers Volunteering for Health and Happiness
Today Show: Volunteer Vacations
The first edition of “Volunteer Vacations” by Bill McMillan features over 200 non-profit organizations which facilitated such service opportunities. According to the Travel Industry Association of America, more than 55 million Baby BOomers and other Americans have participated in a volunteer vacation, and about 100 million more are considering taking one.
Cross-Cultural Solutions – www.crossculturalsolutions.org
This non-profit organization offers a wide variety of volunteer opportunities in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe. Volunteers work in hospitals, schools and orphanages and on small-business development programs. Costs vary for trips, which typically last three weeks, but count on spending about $2,000, not including airfare.
Earthwatch Institute – www.earthwatch.org
Choose from 130 volunteer research and conservation expeditions in about 50 countries, including the United States. Volunteers assist scientists and wildlife experts in some of the world’s most beautiful spots with animal observation, excavating and mapping, among other projects.
Passport in Time – www.passportintime.com
Volunteers can work with archeologists and historians on more than 200 projects, arranged by the U.S. Forest Service, around the United States. Assist with excavations, surveys and lab work in America’s national forests. There is no fee to participate, but volunteers are responsible for their own transportation, food and lodging.
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