Giving Tuesday: Opportunities for Travelers to Give Back

Feb 24, 2015

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I’m excited to announce Giving Tuesday, a new monthly TPG series highlighting charities around the world that may appeal to the TPG travel community and allow us to give back to the world we love to explore.

Heart charity donation Shutterstock 155219123
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

I often feel like an indulgent points junkie, taking amazing trips around the world for pennies on the dollar—so I love to balance out my good fortune with good deeds. In the past, I’ve double-dipped my good deeds by earning one million miles on the purchase of goods for donation to Housing Works, then donating these miles to Kids in Need, a program run by American Airlines that improves the lives of kids through charities like the Snowball Express, an organization that benefits the children of fallen military heroes.

I’ve also begun a supporting partnership with PeaceJam, which harnesses the resources and wisdom of Nobel Peace Laureates to inspire young people (5 to 25) to become leaders and through tax-exempt donations, supports global efforts to provide people with access to social justice and clean water, and to promote an end to racism, bullying, domestic violence, poverty and the spread of disease.

There are certainly some great ways to maximize charitable donations, but where should you put your hard-earned money, points, miles and more? Here are a few travel-focused charities to inspire you:

 Global Soap

Global Soap: Through a global network of hotel partners, this organization recycles millions of bars of soap and distributes new soap as part of relief efforts and hygiene education programs in more than 30 countries around the world.


Clean the World: Though similar to Global Soap in its soap collection efforts, this charity also gathers other toiletries and plastic bottles that would otherwise be thrown into landfills, repackaging them in hygiene kits for distribution to various relief organizations.

ethical traveler

Ethical Traveler: A project of the Earth Island Institute, this nonprofit organization seeks to use the economic clout of tourism to protect human rights and the environment, supporting charitable initiatives and offering socially responsible tours. On its website you can learn which are the ten most ethical destinations in the world, and allow your tourist dollars to do good work while you travel.

There are tons of other ways that we can give back as travelers, and I’d like to learn about the travel-based charities you love—and then share them with the whole TPG community.

Do you have a favorite charity that employs your unused points and miles to improve the lives of people and animals around the world, as well as the health of the Earth? Maybe you know of an organization that allows you to offset your carbon footprint as a frequent flyer, or allows you to meet the members of a poor community and help them become more self-sufficient?

Please share your favorite travel-based charities and opportunities for good deeds around the world—from here on, we’ll be sharing them on the last Tuesday of every month. I’ll be looking forward to each Giving Tuesday, and I hope you will, too!

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