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Community Footprints. Source: www.ritzcarlton.com

Getaways that give back

Holidays don’t have to be all about you. These days it’s easier than you think to combine an unforgettable experience with the gift of giving. Regardless of your age, creed or budget, there’s a charitable getaway out there that’s sure to provide the perfect mix of feel-good work and play, both at home and away.

Conserve our country’s history and wildlife

TCV volunteers at work. Source: www.blogs.tcv.org.uk

TCV volunteers at work. Source: www.blogs.tcv.org.uk

There’s no need to jet off to exotic locations when there’s plenty of work to be done on our doorstep. Why not head for the south coast and get to work cleaning up our stunning shorelines? Or scoot up to Scotland and help to rebuild castles steeped in centuries of history? Various projects across the UK provide memorable country escapes that simultaneously preserve our rich heritage and environment. And they cost a lot less than feeding elephants in India!

The Conservation Volunteers work with thousands of helpers across the UK to provide community support and conservation efforts. Whether your creating a much-needed outdoor space or bringing people together to promote social cohesion, their varied activities aim to improve wellbeing, combat loneliness and enhance employment prospects.

Head to http://www.tcv.org.uk/ for more info.

Go Wwoofing

wwoof

Wwoofers at work. Source: www.wwoofinternational.org

WWOOF, or Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms, is an organisation born out of passion. Wwoofing is not the most relaxing holiday so it’s best to rock up with a genuine interest in what you’re doing. That’s learning about organic agriculture and sustainable living practices and taking part in regular, hands-on farm work.

WWOOF UK holds a list of organic farms, gardens and smallholdings, all offering food and accommodation in exchange for practical help on their land. Farming experience isn’t necessary, but a positive can-do attitude sure is!

For information on becoming a Wwoofer head to http://www.wwoof.org.uk/ or http://wwoofinternational.org/ for overseas opportunities.

Promote intercultural understanding in Iceland

SEEDS Iceland. Source: www.seeds.is

SEEDS Iceland. Source: www.seeds.is

Founded in 2005, SEEDS Iceland is an Icelandic non-governmental, non-profit volunteer organisation designed to promote environmental protection and awareness through work on conservational, social and cultural projects within Iceland.

While they do offer long-term volunteering opportunities, SEEDS are perhaps best known for their two to three-week “workcamps”. Groups ranging in size from five to 30 participants undertake a specific project that could be anything from building new hiking trails to reforestation. In 2015 SEEDS organised 140 projects located in every corner of Iceland; and hosted over 1200 international volunteers from 50 different countries.

Visit https://www.seeds.is/ to attend a 2016 workcamp.

Combine luxury and charity at the Ritz-Carlton

Community Footprints. Source: www.prnewsonline.com

Community Footprints. Source: www.prnewsonline.com

The Ritz-Carlton’s Community Footprints program allows for big-hearted travellers to combine luxury accommodation with helping out in the city you’re visiting. Guests join hotel employees for a half-day of volunteering in the local community. Activities vary depending on the destination and its needs, but you could find yourself doing anything from turtle conservation to teaching children.

You could be providing meals to Moscow seniors or kayaking through the Floridian Everglades preserving its ecosystem. The helpful hotel brand also gives members the chance to donate their reward points to charitable causes.

Find out how you can get involved at http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/community-footprints

Splash some cash meaningfully with the Getaway2Give Collection

A 4-bed hacienda in Los Cabos. Source: www.g2gcollection.com

A 4-bed hacienda in Los Cabos. Source: www.g2gcollection.com

Distinguished travellers with a heftier budget can easily combine charitable efforts with some of the world’s most extraordinary holiday properties. Getaway2Give calls itself a destination club that transforms lives through the power of experiences and contribution. The members only group gives you access to some of the planet’s finest holiday homes, and includes yacht rentals, private residences and luxury hotel suites.

Its aim is to raise $1 billion every decade by offering punters the chance to support multiple charities through travel. It offers accommodation in almost every continent and even has its own “voluntourism” program in Central America. It costs $15,000 to join but half of that goes straight to charity. Five percent of every night booked also goes to their partnered charity organisations which include YMCA, Unicef, Make-A-Wish, The Red Cross and the Guide Dog Foundation, to name but a few. So far, Getaway2Give have donated close to $4 million to worthy causes, so for luxury travel without the guilt it’s sure to be worth every penny!

Visit http://g2gcollection.com/ for a full list of dreamy destinations on offer.

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