Travelling for a Good Cause and Combining volunteer work with travel has boomed in the last decade, and most people refer to it now as ‘voluntourism’.
If you’re visiting the UK anytime soon, there are a lot of opportunities to give back to the community while enjoying the country.
The UK’s is a stunning place to visit, and you can explore it on foot as you participate in a charity event.
Travelling for a Good Cause in the UK
Coach Magazine’s list of notable charity walks for 2018 and 2019 spans many unbelievable sights in the country.
In London, for instance, you can join the Thames Path Challenge in September.
The event will use different routes along the River Thames, and you will see sites like the Royal Botanic Gardens and Windsor Castle.
Over 300 charities are involved in the project, including Diabetes UK, Alzheimer’s Research UK, and Make A Wish Foundation.
If you want to explore outside of the city, look into the series of charity hikes organised by Macmillan Cancer Support.
One of the events treks through the Lake District, which Travel to Europe previously noted as a highly-recommended destination due to its remarkable vistas.
There are other expeditions that you can dedicate to charity such as the Lake District 24 Peaks Challenge where participants try to reach 24 peaks in 24 hours.
Macmillan Cancer Support also organizes hikes in Wales and Scotland particularly in the Wye Valley and the Trossachs National Park, respectively.
Both areas have no shortage of dramatic landscapes.
For sea lovers, the Marine Conservation Society holds an annual beach clean up.
The BBC states that 2014 was their most impressive run yet, with 275,000 pieces of litter collected from over 300 beaches in the UK.
Rubbish is an ongoing international problem and the British coastline is not exempt from it.
Rubbish eventually ends up in the sea which marine life unwittingly consume, while some animals, like small fish, may get trapped in objects like discarded plastic wrappers.
Many tourists also can’t resist going on shopping sprees while on vacation.
Instead of frequenting high streets, however, you can scour charity shops.
They have second-hand designer clothes, books, toys, and more.
Either a portion or all of the proceeds go to campaigns such as child protection, education, feeding programs and medical missions.
Charity shops are scattered across the country, and especially in major cities like Belfast.
This is a great jump-off point to the rest of Northern Ireland’s countryside charm.
After your retail therapy, you can rent a car and hit all of the must-see spots such as the Giant’s Causeway, Mourne Mountains, the glens of Antrim.
Of course, you can also do it the other way around: explore the island then visit charity shops for souvenirs before you fly back home.
Things to remember when Travelling for a Good Cause
When travelling for a good cause, the Huffington Post provides a few pointers to remember to ensure that you’re getting involved in responsible and ethical work:
• Work with well-respected non-profit organisations and not companies that use volunteerism as a marketing ploy
• Beware of scams like ‘orphanage tourism’ which use children as tourist attractions
• The longer the involvement in a community, the better and more sustainable
• Plan your travel around the organisation’s schedule
• Don’t be afraid to ask the charity how they’re spending your donation, and survey the local community if the impact of the volunteer work is actually promoting their welfare
• Don’t post pictures of children on social media
• And lastly, fully immerse yourself in the community
Living like a local not only provides a more authentic experience, it also enriches your perspective of the world and encourages you to give more.