Good Travel: Having fun while doing good

charity fun giving goals giving mindset purpose summer travel Aug 06, 2022

We are getting toward the end of summer way too quickly. I am looking forward to enjoying every last minute I can with my family with some end-of-summer travel, and it’s clear we aren’t the only ones. 

People love to travel for so many different reasons—to visit family and friends or to meet new people, to find adventure or excitement, to find rest and relaxation, to get out of their routine and see new places, to get immersed in different cultures, or to try new foods. All great ways to experience life and recharge. 

Some people also travel with the intent to make a difference, going on weeklong to yearlong programs to build houses or schools, work in medical clinics or volunteer in areas of need or crisis. For a lot of us, though that sounds inspiring and fulfilling and exciting, it might not realistically fit in with our stage of life—or our energy levels. 

There’s a really easy and fun way to combine whatever your reasons for travel with your interest in doing good. Check out charity events at your destinations. There is an incredible variety options you can find on a site like, just by looking up “charity.”

You might be surprised at the number and creativity of these events—a motorcycle ride to benefit a children’s hospital, a mama’s lunch for mental health, a catered cruise to preserve a local landmark, a bra decoration competition and auction to support a breast cancer coalition. 

You can find small gatherings where you can meet locals who care about the same causes you do—like fundraising brunches or spaghetti dinners. There are tons of active options from fun runs to marathons benefitting local or national organizations. Get immersed in local culture with fundraising concerts, comedy nights, or gallery galas. 

 If you feel like pitching in with time or energy in a new place, directly helping where you are visiting and spending time with locals, you can also find one-day (or longer) volunteer opportunities.  If you are traveling internationally, check out GivingWay, where you can find NGOs looking for help for activities like caring for primates in South Africa or delivering food to children in Peru.  Options in the US can be found on sites like or where you can find options like gardening for a few hours in a local park, or helping a meal service for veterans.

Another option is to find the local chapter of a giving circle.  Giving circles are groups of people joining together with a common giving goal, and they have many different structures.  I belong to a giving circle that has spread nationally and has chapters in many cities – in these types of giving circles, you can reach out to a local chapter to see if you can join one of their events.  You can find giving circles and learn about what they support on GivingCompass, where there is a directory you can search by cause and location.   It can be a great way to meet friendly locals with similar interests, who can also give you the inside scoop on off the beaten path restaurants, museums or other local gems.

Whatever drew you to the place you are planning to visit, participating in these kinds of activities can give your travel extra depth and fun, doing things you might never have imagined before. You can connect with locals, have adventures, live your values, and come home with some very special memories.   

You can be the change you want to see in the world through effective, efficient, and impactful philanthropy. Check out my course, The Physician Philanthropist, for a comprehensive education on and strategy for maximizing the impact of your giving both for you and your causes

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