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Voluntourism Goes Mainstream

Volunteering while vacationing are a growing. Travelocity is doing more to bring "voluntourism" to the mainstream by launching a green travel program that gives travelers an opportunity to travel while making a positive impact on the environment. Of course, travelers can do this anyway on ecotours and by volunteering independently, but this green effort by Travelocity illustrates how mainstream volunteer vacations are becoming.

Travelocity's new Travel for Good Change Ambassadors program summary in their own words: "...from environmental work to animal rescue and habitat restoration to humanitarian and homebuilding missions around the world. Travelers can search their collections of volunteer trips and get inspired to do some good of their own. Our partners let travelers search for trips in a variety of ways: a cause that is dear to them, a place they want to visit, or dates they want to volunteer. Or one can simply browse them all and get inspired."

Travelocity also offers CO2 emissions "carbon offsets" to help offset the adverse environmental effects of traveling (the first major online agency to take this step). The upshot is that a tree will be planted on public land (where? that's not clear) if you purchase the offset when booking on the site. And since trees breathe out oxygen and soak up carbon dioxide, you can feel like you're making a small difference while traveling.

Props to any travel company who goes green. Our planet needs it.