VOLUNTOURISM, A FAIRLY NEW TERM, refers to tourism that includes a volunteer or philanthropic component. Its popularity continues to grow thanks to heightened awareness about environmental issues. LGBTQ+ travelers are among those who find an increasingly diverse array of options, making it easy to take part in gay-friendly, eco-friendly, volunteer-oriented vacations that prove both enjoyable and rewarding.
REI Adventures, a company that promotes inclusivity and supports events like the LGBTQ Outdoor Summit, offers a series of volunteer vacations in a number of far-reaching destinations. Participants can help repair and maintain trails in places like Yosemite, Alaska and Patagonia; assist with archaeological restoration and the removal of invasive species at Machu Picchu; and work to preserve sea turtles in the Galápagos Islands. REI reports registration surged some 40 percent over the past year.
Hands Up Holidays offers what it calls “luxury voluntourism” options in several destinations popular with LGBTQ+ travelers. In New Zealand, for example, visitors work with penguin conservation programs; in Thailand, groups work to protect elephants and their habitats; and in San Francisco, participants help to restore native plant and animal habitats.
The state of California, in fact, offers a surprising number of voluntourism options in or near gay-popular vacation destinations. At Catalina Island, travelers can join voluntourism programs with the Catalina Conservancy, which offers everything from one-day to week-long experiences that include beach cleanups and native planting initiatives. Scuba divers can even join an unde rwater cleanup that removes trash from Avalon Harbor.
Travelers looking to combine volunteer activities with pampering might consider heading to Miami Beach, where The Palms Hotel & Spa has a two-night Do Good, Feel Good offer. The program includes participation in beach cleanups in partnership with International Coastal Cleanup, an organization that collects millions of pounds of trash every year with the help of nearly 800,000 volunteers. The hotel offer also includes a daily breakfast buffet, a stand-up paddleboarding lesson and a $50 per-person credit at the Aveda spa. After all, there’s no reason you shouldn’t feel good after you do good.
Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts invites travelers to celebrate the holidays at any of its properties in Riviera Maya, Mexico. There is no time like the present for you to experience a stay at one of these luxury resorts.
There’s no better time to plan the vacation you’ve been missing. Step aboard with your better half, your friends or the whole family and reconnect, reunite and rejoice with 25 percent off cruise fares for all guests. We’ll also help everyone get there with 25 percent off airfare from 20 major gateways across the country or $100 savings per person on flights from all other gateways when you book your air travel using Flights by Celebrity.*
After a two-year hiatus from in-person sporting and outdoor recreation events, the seaside, car-free town of Las Catalinas in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, recently announced the return of the annual Tri Las Catalinas, an off-road, multisport triathlon, Feb. 15–18.
Experience the beauty of Alaska and save 60 percent off cruise fares on your second and fourth guests. Plus, drinks, WiFi and tips are all included.
Plan a célébration spéciale this holiday season with a stay at a historic French chateau in the Loire Valley. If pipers piping and dancers dancing are part of your dream holiday experience, set your compass for Château de Chambord, where 100 twinkling Christmas trees set a festive tone for Renaissance music and dancing, storytelling, performances, workshops, themed activities and more. Guests can sip mulled wine and nibble on sweet indulgences, or peruse the shops for authentic, artisanal Chambord products crafted from the estate’s own natural resources.
For the 12th consecutive year, Global Traveler recognizes the best of the best in the industry, naming 2022’s Airline of the Year and Hotel of the Year.
Considering an autumnal adventure or Thanksgiving trip this year? Well, with walkable cities, cozy pubs and lots of seasonal festivals, the island of Ireland is calling. And if you need more reasons to Press the Green Button and go, take a look and see what awaits you on the Emerald Isle …
What a year 2022 has been for travel! It’s not an understatement to say travel rebounded and surged following the pandemic, and airlines, hotels, travel providers and more are ready and waiting to serve the masses returning to the beautiful art of traveling. As such, we celebrate and award those who do it best as we announce the 2022 winners of the GT Tested Reader Survey awards, our 19th year honoring the best of the best in the world of travel. Our countdown to year No. 20 begins now.