Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

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

Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed4.02%3.99%
15 yr fixed3.16%3.18%
5/1 ARM3.31%3.40%
30 yr refi4.06%4.01%
15 yr refi3.18%3.20%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 19,756.85 142.04 0.72%
Nasdaq 5,444.50 27.14 0.50%
S&P 500 2,259.53 13.34 0.59%
Treasuries 2.46 0.08 3.23%
Data as of 1:58am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 23.09 0.14 0.61%
Ford Motor Co 13.17 0.14 1.07%
Chesapeake Energy Co... 7.72 0.12 1.58%
Twenty-First Century... 28.21 -0.43 -1.50%
Apple Inc 113.95 1.83 1.63%
Data as of Dec 9

Sections

Even Carl Icahn, one of President-elect Donald Trump's biggest cheerleaders on Wall Street, thinks the post-election exuberance in the stock market has gotten a bit out of hand. More

Republican leaders keep saying Obamacare is hurting the economy and killing jobs, but there's scant evidence for it. In fact, a number of studies show that the economy has been growing. More

Facebook admits it messed up more ad metrics than previously thought, potentially eroding its trust and relationship with marketers and publishers. More

The Los Angeles city attorney is suing four major retailers over claims that they deliberately inflated the original price on some items that misled customers into thinking they were getting a better deal. More