But just because you aren't focused on rebuilding doesn't mean you can't help! We have tips on how to turn your regular vacation into one with shades of voluntourism, and we'd love to hear yours, too!
- Shop, eat, and stay local. The money you're already spending will help the economy of your local community much more than it will help the big chains. (No offense to Olive Garden, but the local Italian restaurant will really appreciate your business!)
- Have leftovers from dinner? No time to eat them later? Don't hesitate to give your box of leftover food to a homeless person. Be safe about it, but this is a much better use of your food than throwing it out!
- If you want to spend a day or even a few hours volunteering in the community you're visiting, there are always many options! Most cities have soup kitchens, homeless shelters, food pantries, and more--and everyone is happy to take in volunteers. Do some research before you arrive on places you can volunteer, or check in with a volunteer travel organization for recommendations.
- Clean up after yourself! If you have a picnic, leave no trace. If you bring a six-pack of pop (or other beverages), cut the plastic rings and throw them out. There's no quicker way to say "I don't care" to the community you visit than by leaving your trash around!
- If you're there on the right days, don't be afraid to attend a local religious service. Broadening your mind through your religious perspective is a great way to become a global citizen! Talk to your religious leader or do some research online before you go to discover churches, synagogues, mosques, and more in the area you're visiting. We have friends who were in London on Christmas Eve and went to services at Westminster Abbey! (And be open to attending a service for a faith or denomination you're not a part of! If a religion other than yours is the predominant faith of the area you visit, observing them respectfully is a wonderful way to get to know the culture!)