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'Voluntourism' Helps Families Give Back While On Vacation

BOSTON (CBS) - The holidays are a big time for travel and a new trend is helping families give back while enjoying their vacation. It's called 'voluntourism' and it is now easier than ever to get involved.

Kim Marie Evans loves the concept because she wants her children to learn something from their vacations. "Exposing them not just to the hotel pool and the kids club, but exposing them to the local culture, to the children and getting them a chance to really get to know the locals changes their opinion of what the world is like," she said.

Her teenage daughter also likes the idea. "You got your time to relax, but you also did something that was very meaningful and actually got something out of your vacation," she said.

According to Anne Banas, editor at Boston-based, there are a lot more opportunities available today. "Traditionally, travelers who were attracted to voluntoruism were people with a lot of time, say college students or retirees. Now with a lot more drop in opportunities for short-term experiences with voluntourism, pretty much anyone can get involved," she said. "Sometimes it's as simple as reading to the local school children, donating school supplies or even helping out at local soup kitchens or making repairs," she said.

Helping out at a local school in Jamaica was a great experience for Kim-Marie and her daughter. "You get to take home very different memories than if you had spent all of our time at the resort," she said.

Experts say volunteer opportunities are usually fairly simple to find. Your resort or a local tourism board should be able to help.


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