Giving Tuesday may have come and gone, but don’t let that limit your ability to give back through travel. There are a number of ways you can help those less fortunate whether booking hotels, taking time to volunteer while on vacation or donating rewards miles that may be nearing expiration. Take a look at six easy ways your travels can benefit others this holiday season and beyond.
1. Give When You Book Hotels. Book your next hotel room through StayFaster, which lets you pay after you stay and cancel reservations with one-click, and use promo code GIVE at check-out. When you do, StayFaster will donate 6% of what you pay to the charity of your choice. You must choose one of 13 charities by 12/10, but you can use the above code to give back through 11/1/15.
2. Donate Unused Miles. Got miles to spare? Then consider a mileage donation to TripIt, an online travel organizer, which has partnered with Make-A-Wish for the second year in a row to collect miles that can be used toward dream trips for sick children working with Make-A-Wish. Many airlines, including United and JetBlue, also let you donate miles to charities directly through their websites.
3. Support Passports with Purpose. ‘Tis the season for the annual Passports with Purpose travel blogger fundraiser. Simply donate $10 for a chance to win any one of a number of prizes, including two Orlando Explorer Passes (from me!), a five-night Ski & Stay package at Killington, and more. All donations benefit Sustainable Harvest International.
4. Leave Room in Your Suitcase. Before you embark on your holiday travels, leave a little extra space in your suitcase. Fill it with gently used shoes or a coat to donate to a local shelter or a new, unwrapped toy to take to a drop-off center in your destination, suggests Hotels.com. If you’ll be staying in a hotel, collect the toiletries and bring them back to donate to a shelter near your home.
5. Take Time to Volunteer. Many travelers either have a mile-long list of things they want to see and do or they’ve committed to lounging on the beach each day. Either way, try to take a half-day to do good for the community in which you are staying. Whether taking a trip to Universal Orlando or one of the Beaches resorts in the Caribbean, you won’t have a hard time finding family volunteer opportunities.
6. Buy Travel Gifts that Give Back. From bags to bikes, look for travel-related gifts you can find online that give back, whether by donating a portion of the proceeds to a charity or by providing economic opportunities to the local people who make the products. For example, Global Goods Partners sells a variety of gifts handmade by women in some of the poorest countries in the world.
How do you give back through travel? Let me know in the comments section below.