Volunteer vacations on the rise

Travelocity’s annual forecast poll found that 11 percent of respondents plan to volunteer during their vacations in 2007 - up from 6 percent in 2006.  From community outreach such as building homes and schools to environment-related projects, people are simply looking for ways to give back and get more involved in important causes.
Travelocity has created a grant program as part of its Travel For Goodsm initiative aimed at travelers yearning for a richer and more meaningful travel experience and is calling for entries from deserving volunteers.  With a growing optimism among people that they can have a positive impact through travel, Travelocity is helping with the launch of the grant program.
Under the Travel For Good initiative, first launched in August 2006, Travelocity began a program called Change Ambassadors to help bring the idea of “voluntourism” to a broader, mainstream audience.  Key components of the Change Ambassadors program are consumer and employee grants that will be awarded to people who wish to help others through volunteering, but do not have the financial means to take a volunteer vacation.  Travelocity will award two $5,000 grants per quarter to customers and one $5,000 grant per quarter to employees.
“While there are numerous volunteers in the United States who give of themselves locally, our recent forecast poll shows that more people are extending their efforts to their vacation time as well.  At Travelocity we admire such dedication and want to reward individuals who are inclined to help during their time-off but are without the means to do so,” said Jeffrey Glueck, chief marketing officer of Travelocity.  “We think voluntourism is one of the best ways to experience a place.  Our Change Ambassadors Grants relieve interested individuals of any financial constraints of taking a volunteer vacation.  This way Travelocity ensures that more people every year will be free to help around the world.”
Applicants can apply for the Change Ambassadors Grant either as an individual or as part of a team. Each grant will fund up to $5,000 for the transportation to, as well as the cost of, any trip organized by one of Travelocity’s volunteer travel partners for individuals or groups deemed worthy based on the merit of their applications and their ability to meet the grant requirements. The deadline for applications for the grants awarded in the first quarter of 2007 is March 31, 2007.  Winners of the grants will be selected by a committee and notified by the end of June 2007. Additional details and instructions to apply for the grant are available at www.travelocity.com/travelforgood.  All grants are subject to terms and conditions, which are available on the site.