A do-good vacation

By Jen Haley, producer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- If herding to and from photo spots with a busload of tourists or lounging your day away beneath a scorching sun isn't necessarily your idea of vacation paradise, there are more meaningful vacation options available.

An increasing number of people are combining volunteerism and travel. There are projects you can participate in across the country and around the world. For example, you can teach English, help to renovate a castle, construct a school or clinic, or join an architectural dig.

But before signing on, make sure you research the programs thoroughly. Find out about accommodations, ask questions about the kind of security that is in place, ask who you can contact in an emergency and how family members can get in touch with you while you're on assignment. You want to sign on with a company that has experience and a solid reputation in the voluntourism area.

Even though you're volunteering, you still have to pay your way. A few programs may pick up the cost of your airfare and lodging, but costs vary widely and you could find yourself with a larger bill than you bargained for. And make sure to take time into consideration. Many international volunteer projects last from one to three weeks. But others can last for much longer. You'll want to inquire about language training, health insurance, including emergency evacuations and any special excursions within the program.

Here are some places you can go if you're interested in volun-cationing:

Talkback: Are you considering a summer road trip? To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed3.94%4.13%
15 yr fixed3.04%3.08%
5/1 ARM3.55%3.40%
30 yr refi4.02%4.17%
15 yr refi3.10%3.14%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,614.81 215.14 1.31%
Nasdaq 4,419.48 103.41 2.40%
S&P 500 1,941.28 37.27 1.96%
Treasuries 2.21 0.03 1.24%
Data as of 3:17am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Apple Inc 102.47 2.71 2.72%
Bank of America Corp... 16.60 0.34 2.09%
The Coca-Cola Co 40.68 -2.61 -6.03%
Regions Financial Co... 9.26 0.10 1.09%
Yahoo! Inc 40.18 0.90 2.29%
Data as of Oct 21

Sections

Yahoo was in the spotlight Tuesday as it released its third-quarter results, its first earnings release since the Alibaba IPO. More

Startups focusing on "ag tech," or agricultural technology, are gaining the attention of farmers and investors More

Foreign workers, lured by false promises of good jobs and benefits in America, soon find themselves enslaved in plain sight as victims of labor trafficking, a report from the Urban Institute finds. Here's how it can happen. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.