The New Travel Trend: Voluntourism

Shira Lazar enjoying the view in Patagonia, Chile
Shira Lazar

(CBS) NEW YORK So you want to get away and try something different, but you're also on a tight budget. Well, summer is not over yet! Be a socially responsible traveler and try voluntourism. Here's some of my favorite sites that will help you organize your travels, so you can hit the road and give back to the community while you're at it:

1) Jaunted.com has some great domestic ideas from rebuilding a trail in Vail, Colo., to working with the National Wildlife Federation to help wildlife effected by the BP Oil Spill.

2) ResponsibleTravel.com has thousands of listings for a more sustainable vacation which respects the environment and local inhabitants. Responsible Travel is searchable by budget level, region, country, and even type of holiday and activities. Travelers are encouraged to review the tours they take, so you can also see others' feedback on the trips you might be interested in.

3) Ecotour Directory currently lists 95 different eco holiday and responsible travel options, searchable by continent.

4) TrekAmerica hosts tour programs focusing on appreciating and respecting the natural environment throughout North America. You get the opportunity to experience some unique environments while simultaneously having a positive impact on the land.

5) Charity Guide's Volunteer Vacations offers a number of 1-4 week vacation options from helping at children's clinics to preserving wilderness trails to teaching math to kids in developing countries.

6) Global Volunteers is a clearinghouse of volunteer international service programs. While you do have to front your own travel costs, they offer assistance qualifying for discounts or fundraising the cost of your program fee.

P.S. Take note- you can be a "voluntourist" any time of the year. Giving back has no time limit! Have fun and be a global citizen!

  • Shira Lazar On Twitter»

    Shira Lazar is the Host and Executive Producer of CBSNews.com's new weekly live interactive show and 24/7 news hub, "What's Trending".

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