“When they are here, something else happens: They fall in love with the people,” says Banda, President of African Travel. “Now I have a connection to the country I’m visiting. Now I want to give back, I want to tithe my time to uplift the local community through experiences like implementing clean running water or visiting a local school. And that is what keeps people coming back.”
There are plenty of ways you can combine giving back with traveling. From the African savanna to the Alaskan bays, here are 10 ways to experience the world and leave more than just a footprint behind. For each journey, AAA Travel Advisors can help you plan a vacation that gives back and gives you AAA Member benefits.
1. Build for the future in Kenya
Have an unforgettable experience in Maasai Mara, a national reserve in southwestern Kenya. Through the Me to We program, immerse yourself in the community and help to build a new school, participate in bringing water to the village—a daily activity for mamas in the community—and learn the art of traditional Maasai beading, which is an important source of income for families. Further explore the Maasai way of life through a guided hike, a market visit and a school tour.
2. Save sea turtles in the Yucatan
Escape to an all-inclusive resort on the northeastern shore of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and help protect the sea turtles while you’re there. Turtle Conservation Camps at the resort help monitor nesting sea turtles and their eggs along the crystal clear coastlines of Riviera Maya. You can participate with sea turtle adoption programs operated in alliance with Flora, Fauna & Culture of Mexico and the Travel Foundation.
3. Tread thoughtfully in Peru
Explore the capital city of Lima, the mountains of Machu Picchu and the waters of Lake Titicaca in Peru. Fully immerse yourself in the land of the Inca, knowing that a portion of your trip cost goes to the TreadRight Foundation. This nonprofit initiative of AAA travel partner The Travel Corporation helps financially support a weavers group in Peru that promotes the sale of textiles and employs hundreds of people.
4. Help school children in Africa