Recently, Travelocity announced the relaunch of its “#travelforgood” grant program. The program awards three philanthropic travelers with a $20,000 voluntourism trip to any destination of their choice, along with a $10,000 donation to the winner’s non-profit.
Of course, international volunteering has been critiqued before, and unfortunately, many of the critiques boil down to two simplistic opposing views: either “all international volunteering is bad” or “It can’t really hurt, can it?” But evidence does suggest that international volunteering can be done well, and enough research has been done that prospective volunteers can make informed judgments.
And yet, many well-intentioned travelers still attempt to #travelforgood without actually creating social change. Based on my fifteen years of research in this sector as a professor, and my work with the service-learning organization globalsl.org, here are some common mistakes to avoid: