If you are looking for other ways to give this holiday season, we’ve curated a list of some of the best charities for travel lovers. The holidays are always a time for giving. Many people often search for a charity to donate money to as the end of the year approaches, so it is fitting that a global movement has emerged for charity. Giving Tuesday started as a hashtag on social media in 2012 and has since grown to encourage people annually to spread generosity through volunteering, giving to charity, and reminding people to give back.
Giving Tuesday – Travel Charities
Giving Tuesday has become a nice balance to counter the excesses of Black Friday, American Thanksgiving, and Cyber Monday. There are hundreds of charities around the world giving to underserved communities in travel destinations that you visit who are worthy of your dollars. The tourism business may have a lot of negatives, but the growth of the travel industry has also had a positive impact.
The travel industry is thinking more about its impact on local communities and wildlife, from its economic impact to supporting local businesses to its environmental impact. There is a long way to go, but these organizations are making a difference.
This list will help you get the creative giving juices flowing for this Giving Tuesday and beyond. And to raise awareness about some of the causes dear to our hearts. These are the best travel charities to help animals, people, and conservation.
1. World Animal Protection
We have been giving to World Animal Protection since it was The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA). As a supporter for 15 years, we were honored to be able to work with them this past year to help spread the word about responsible wildlife tourism. The travel industry has played a vital role in helping to raise awareness about the plight of animals. And we are proud to be a small part of helping to make a change.
World Animal Protection is an international non-profit animal welfare organization that has been in operation since 1981. The charity aims to create a better world for animals by protecting them. It focuses on specific challenges for animals, from helping to free suffering bears in captivity and bile factories to stopping animal cruelty in working animals and farming; we truly believe in the world this organization does.
For Giving Tuesday, World Animal Protection matches your gift to help the plight of factory farm animals such as pigs and chickens. Your money will help influence governments to phase out the use of prophylactic antibiotics, improve animal welfare, enrich group housing over crates, and improve transport conditions.
2. FedEx and Orbis Flying Eye Hospital
Orbis is a non-governmental organization (NGO) that brings people together to help end avoidable blindness worldwide. They have operated for 40 years, working in underserved communities lacking basic healthcare throughout Africa, Asia, and South America.
It is truly astonishing to hear that nearly 1 billion people around the world live with blindness that could be treated or prevented if they had access to eye care. Orbis is working to ensure that everyone has access to eye health care no matter where they live. Not only do they have a network of doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, and biomedical engineers on hand volunteering their time, they share their expertise with the local medical professionals.
Last month, Dave and I had the pleasure of hosting our third Orbis Flight For Sight Virtual Event, and we will be co-hosting again next year. The event is fun, bringing teams together to test their travel trivia knowledge as they raise money to help end avoidable blindness worldwide. We will host again next year and are humbled to be a small part of this vital organization.
3. Plan International
When we cycled through Africa, we saw firsthand the world that Plan Canada was doing for African communities. Plan Canada focuses its attention on children around the world and equal rights for girls around the world.
We cycled for their “Because I’m a Girl” campaign, which is dedicated to standing with young women to support them through education and opportunity. But Plan supports all children and communities, from child protection to schools, and ensuring that communities have clean water and basic healthcare. They also look at specific challenges that women face worldwide. One of the projects we visited in Cairo that piqued our attention was the economic empowerment they give to women through micro-finance. Visit Plan for more details.
4. Born Free Foundation
The Born Free Foundation is very dear to our hearts. Founded in 1984, the Born Free Foundation was founded to help stop the exploitation and suffering of individual animals living in captivity or the wild. We met Ian Redmond, a wildlife consultant with Born Free since 1986, while traveling in India.
Ian Redmond is renowned for his work with great apes and elephants. He is the foremost expert on Mountain Gorillas, and when we met him, he was Ambassador for the UN Year of the Gorilla in 2009. I was silly enough to try to give him blogging advice before I knew who he was. If he believes in Born Free, it must be one of the best wildlife non profits out there. You can find more information on the Born Free Foundation here.
Your donations will go to conservation, rescue & care, sustainability, anti-captivity, and education. Born Free are advocates for keeping wild animals where they belong, in the wild. They work to ensure the best outcome for wildlife, including banning trophy hunting and illegal trading and phasing out zoos while promoting better animal protection.
5. Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
For those looking to help with a focus on Africa, the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is a charity that provides a haven for elephants and rhinos in Africa. If you are planning an African safari, consider visiting this charity. Your visit will directly positively impact the rehabilitation of elephants in Kenya.
We visited the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya, seeing their orphaned elephant rescue and rehabilitation program firsthand. It is heartbreaking to see what elephants and rhinos are facing in Africa, but it is good to know that there are programs like this working to protect and preserve wildlife. From anti-poaching to educating communities and providing veterinary assistance, your dollars will go a long way in helping an elephant thrive.
This Giving Tuesday all qualified donations and adoptions made will be matched dollar-for-dollar, up to $650,000.
6. Charity Water
Water is our most precious resource, and we quickly run out of clean water worldwide. The water crisis is real and it is only getting worse. 703-million people lack basic access to clean and safe drinking water. According to the World Health Organization, some 2.2 billion people worldwide do not have safely managed drinking water services, 4.2 billion people do not have safely managed sanitation services, and 3 billion lack basic handwashing facilities.
When cycling through Africa and traveling through rural South America and Asia, we saw firsthand how precious water is. People walk for miles for clean water each day. Charity Water is working to bring clean and safe water to families worldwide every month. Founded in 2006, Charity Water aims to give everyone access to water within our lifetime.
Water should be a basic human right, and the statistics are astonishing. When you give to Charity Water, 100% of your donation goes to the field. Private donors cover their operating costs, so you can be sure your dollar will fund water projects. Read more here.
7. Animals Asia
If there is one thing that turns my stomach in this world, it is bear bile farming. Animals Asia is devoted to ending bear bile farming and improving the welfare of animals across Asia. They have been rescuing bears since 1994, and Animals Asia was founded in 1998. They have bear rescue sanctuaries in China and Vietnam and are working tirelessly to end this most inhumane practice. After years of cooperation, Animals Asia has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Vietnamese Government to ultimately end Bear Bile Farming in Vietnam.
They also advocate and work to end the trade of cats and dogs for food in Asia and to help the suffering of animals in captivity abused in zoos and safari parks in Southeast Asia. Donate here
World Wildlife Fund is an oldie but a goodie. We have been giving to WWF for as long as I can remember. For 60 years, WWF has been working on conservation in 100 countries. When looking for a charity to give to, WWF encompasses a broad range from the climate crisis to our oceans, freshwater, forests, and wildlife. Your donation will help to build a future where humans can live in harmony with nature.
8. Ocean Conservancy
The Ocean Conservancy has been running the International Coastal Cleanup for over 30 years. Working on the pillars of science, Ocean Conservancy has been tirelessly working to find solutions to the challenges of our oceans.
They lobby governments to make policy changes, and, being located in Washington, DC, they wield true power. From ocean planning, creating sustainable fisheries, and working to reduce the waste that goes into our oceans, the Ocean Conservancy is a leading oceans charity to give to.
9. Take 3
When we first heard about Take 3 we thought it was an excellent idea. Imagine if everyone on earth picked up just three pieces of rubbish whenever they visited a beach, river bank, or lakeside park. This one little act can change our waterways. But Take 3 also has other programs for education, youth leadership, and other areas.
10. Sustainable Travel International
As travel lovers, we all do our damage in the world through air travel whenever we step on a plane. With Sustainable Travel International, you are not only able to calculate your air travel carbon footprint, but it also works to protect vulnerable destinations by working with communities to clean beaches and preserve culture.
They work with governments and local leaders to help implement policies leading to healthier destinations. They work hand in hand with policymakers to create the best practices for sustainable tourism development. Plus, they work to inform travelers and tourism businesses to make the world a better place through their travel choices.
11. Pencils of Promise
When traveling through Asia, Africa, and South America, children always ask us for a pen or pencil. It is the easiest thing to give a child and bring a smile to their face. However, traveling has almost become overwhelming to have everyone ask us for a pen. Instead, we prefer to give to organizations that help a community rather than giving to one child.
The Pencils of Promise community is committed to building a better world through education across the globe. When you donate, your money will go to supporting a teacher or giving students water, handwashing, and sanitation. They build schools and classrooms and are currently in partnership with public school systems and communities in Ghana, Guatemala, and Laos.
12. Make a Wish Foundation
I’ll never forget my friend Sugar from YTV boarding a plane each year to join the children of Make a Wish on their trip of a lifetime. Seeing her work first hand inspired me to help make the world a better place. Make a wish Foundation, aims to fulfill the wishes of critically ill children. Imagine helping to give a dream trip to a child to bring joy to what could be their final days.
13. Tourism Cares
We have only recently discovered Tourism Cares. As travelers, it is vital to positively impact the destinations we visit. As travel opportunities grow for people around the world people need to consider booking with tourism businesses who put communities first.
Tourism Cares is an amazing organization that captures the heart of what it means to travel responsibly. Featured in our list of the best travel charities, this group is all about giving back to the places we love to visit.
They’re doing incredible work to protect cultural and natural heritage sites across the globe, all while helping local communities thrive. When you get involved with Tourism Cares, you’re not just seeing the world but actively making it a better place. Their approach to sustainable tourism is a game-changer, ensuring that our adventures are unforgettable and beneficial for the destinations we explore. It’s the perfect pick for anyone who wants their travels to leave a positive mark on the world.
If you are looking for a charity closer to home, your local SPCA always needs funds to rescue animals and provide care to animal shelters.
This is always my go-to charity. We have given to the Ontario SPCA for years, and it feels good to know that our money is going towards rescuing abused animals, adoption, and humane education closer to home. We love helping. . If you love animals, this is a great local charity to give to. Look for the local SPCA near you.
Donating to charities is a personal choice, and these suggestions for travel-inspired charities are simply suggestions to help spark ideas for you to donate this year. As travel lovers, we find it vital to be able to give back to the travel destinations that we visit. Be it through focusing on a positive economic impact by hiring local guides to give to a local charity.
These are just the tip of the iceberg and are simply charities we follow and believe in. When choosing a charity to give to this year, go with your heart and do your research, and together we can help make the world a better place.