Millennials give more than most, a survey of charity travel finds

Tourism Cares

A volunteer from Tourism Cares cleaned up the Korean Bell in San Pedro last year. It was part of a multi-day campaign to show some love to L.A.'s landmarks in need.

(Tom Politeo / For the Times)

American travelers care about the communities they visit and want to give back when they’re on the road. It’s especially true of millennials, those in the 18- to 35-year-old age group who give more of their time and money than the average traveler.

The findings come from recently released survey results by Tourism Cares called “Good Travels: The Philanthropic Profile of the American Traveler.”

The good news: More than half of American travelers have volunteered or made a monetary donation to a place they visited in the last two years. 

The survey also shows:


--Millennial travelers donated money (86%), volunteered (64%) or gave supplies (78%) on their vacations. “On average, they volunteer more than double the hours and donate nearly three times the money and 4.5 times the supplies than 55 and older travelers do,” the report said.

--Families with children who travel give more volunteer time (73%) and in-kind services (82%) than others too. Almost half of the families say they track the causes they donate to, and more than a third say they make an additional contribution after their trip.

--Affluent travelers value their philanthropic heft. Fifty-five percent of these travelers say it’s “very or extremely important” for their spending and giving to help the communities they visit.

The findings are based on a survey of 2,551 respondents. It was conducted by the nonprofit organization Tourism Cares, which in part organizes help for at-risk destinations and communities.


So how do you go about making your next vacation more philanthropic? Shop around. Many outfitters and tour companies offer trips to places in need.

And the Center for Responsible Travel has a list of dos and don’ts when it comes to travel giving. An example: “What do I do when I take a photograph of someone and they ask me for money in return?”

The experts say you should ask before you take the photo. If you’ve already taken it and payment is demanded, you should pay up.


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