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Volunteer Travel Trendiness

In addition to Travelocity going green and socially responsible, now a study by Yesawich, Pepperdine & Brown/Yankelovich, Inc. shows how real the trend is for travelers. In the National Leisure Travel Monitor report of 2006, an overwhelming majority of Americans indicated the primary inspiration for vacationing was "spending time with friends and family." No surprise. Family travel is common and visiting with friends keeps us all sane.

Yet a growing number of Americans, 6 percent of frequent leisure travelers, say they have taken a volunteer vacation to support a humanitarian cause during the previous 12 months. And if you extrapolate that percentage out to the overall American traveling public, the numbers are sizeable. Impressive!

No matter how humanitarian I believe myself to be, I'm not part of that statistic. Yet. There are so many volunteer vacations to choose from. And despite war times, a great number of Americans want to make a positive impact on the environment, on health, toward educating kids, and so forth.

Here are the study's "most frequently cited attributes sought in a vacation" - which highly correlate to volunteer vacation destinations.

Considered Very/Extremely Desirable:    2006

Beautiful scenery       84 percent
A safe destination      83 percent
A place I've never visited before       78 percent   
A beach experience      65 percent   
A place I have visited before   62 percent   
A hotel with a casually elegant atmosphere      54 percent   
Participating in activities with children       51 percent   
An opportunity to eat different and unusual cuisine     51 percent