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 fixed3.97%4.14%
15 yr fixed3.05%3.13%
5/1 ARM3.06%3.24%
30 yr refi4.09%4.22%
15 yr refi3.16%3.21%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,751.39 121.12 0.69%
Nasdaq 5,111.73 22.53 0.44%
S&P 500 2,108.57 15.32 0.73%
Treasuries 2.28 0.03 1.29%
Data as of 6:33am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 18.16 0.28 1.57%
Facebook Inc 96.99 1.70 1.78%
Ford Motor Co 15.21 0.53 3.61%
Pfizer Inc 35.76 0.41 1.16%
AT&T Inc 34.69 0.36 1.05%
Data as of Jul 29

Sections

Two big British energy firms unveiled plans Thursday to cut 12,500 jobs as oil prices turn lower again, sparking another round of cost cutting. More

India is set to surpass China as the world's most populous country -- and much sooner than previously thought. More

A study by research institute Data & Society claims Uber uses phantom cars to attract customers. More

Walter Palmer's dental business is effectively frozen after he admitted killing Zimbabwe's protected lion Cecil. More

You can't blame it on the economy anymore. More Millennials now have jobs, but are still living at home. More