4 Ways to Vacation for a Cause This Year

4 Ways to Vacation for a Cause This Year

By Puja Disha Bharwani
The key to unforgettable travel? Make your vacation about more than relaxation.

Many travellers nowadays want more than just mindless escape, especially Indian travellers.

In a recent Abbott survey, 10% of Indians listed “giving” as among the top three things that made them fulfilled in life. Combine philanthropy with travel and adventure, and you’ve a recipe for an unforgettable vacation. Here are four ways to get started.

1. Hiker to helper

After the recent devastating earthquake in Nepal, tourism in the country was drastically affected, while a number of Sherpas — the lifeline and support for mountain climbers in the Everest region — lost their lives. 

Mark Brown, an expedition consultant behind VLM Adventure Consultants, says clients now want more than just to summit a mountain in Nepal — they want to raise funds for villagers while doing it.

Brown recently organised a winter ascent on Nepal’s Island Peak mountain, at 6,189 metres high, during which his private clients helped raise funds for the Himalayan Guides Sherpa Memorial Fund. To date, they’ve raised over US$20,000.

2. Connect with believers

One way to raise funds for a listed charity or specific cause is fundraising website GoFundMe, a handy platform for everything from funding volunteer trips, to raising money for troubled communities.

Competitive types, take note: certain adventure races and stunts can only be entered if you’ve raised sufficient money first — a nice game-based twist to the great adventures.

3. Running to cure kids

The Angkor Wat International Half Marathon lights up Siem Reap every year. Put your stamina to the test as you trot through temples dotted along the ruins of Angkor Wat.

As a benefit, the internationally-recognised race raises funds for the victims of mines and Cambodian children in need.

Aditya, who participated in the run with his wife, says proudly: “The fact that the proceeds from the race go to the Angkor Wat children’s hospital is an added bonus — and I understand that many runners also donate blood to the hospital while they are there.”

4. Go local and luxurious

Instead of staying in an anonymous chain hotel, pick a boutique or smaller local hotel that better represents the native culture and helps provide locals with essential career skills.

Hotels such as the COMO group, or Nikoi Island have tie-ups with local NGOs and artisans, with proceeds directly benefitting them.

“I was very impressed with Nikoi Island, in terms of having a local feel and supporting the local community,” says recent vacationer Sophie Mathur.

“Their staff are all from the area and have been trained by the resort. Food was sourced locally, supporting local farmers. And there was an effort to educate guests about the culture of the area, and its flora and fauna,” she explains. “I really felt more like a traveller and less like a tourist.”

Ready to mix wanderlust with a sense of purpose? Then pack your bags, get giving and enjoy a trip you’ll never forget.