Devote part of your trip to service with hotel and outfitter "outreach programs"
If you’d rather devote only part of your vacation to a cause, there are other, less demanding ways to give. Check out the many philanthropic programs offered by hotels (both high-end and chain brands) and travel companies, including opportunities for guests to volunteer. According to the International Ecotourism Society, a Washington, D.C.–based nonprofit, more than 66 percent of American travelers believe that hotels have an obligation to protect the environment and support local communities. The concept isn’t entirely new—eco-lodge Lapa Rios in Costa Rica, for example, has offered travelers the chance to volunteer for almost a decade. Ritz-Carlton recently launched Give Back Getaways (givebackgetaways.com), a program that invites guests at 62 properties to help with projects ranging from research at Dubai’s Hutta Dam to river cleanups. Fairmont (fairmont.com/environment) and RockResorts (giveandgetaway.com) have also instituted outreach programs at properties worldwide.