Superheroes wear capes and save the world from supervillains like Lex Luther and Dr Doom. At Columbus Direct we can’t help you to become a superhero but, we’d love to help you to become a different type of hero: a Travel Hero. Travel Heroes use their holidays to save the world from supervillains like poverty, violence and disease. Travel Heroes may not be able to fly but they are just as amazing as superheroes (and they can wear a cape if they want to!)
Charity Challenge vs Volunteer Vacation
One of the first things you need to decide is whether you’d prefer to fundraise on behalf of a charity or, volunteer for a charity directly.
Fundraising requires significantly more preparation than volunteering. Before the travel begins fundraisers are out in the community convincing friends, family and even strangers to donate. Successful fundraisers start work months before an overseas trip and will regularly dedicate their spare time to organising events like sausage sizzles, bake sales and raffles. A fundraiser for the popular cancer research charity Can Too even threw a Jelly Wrestling party!
One benefit of fundraising is that - once the fundraising is done - you get to have a traditional adventure holiday experience. It is common to find travel fundraising trips based around common adventure travel activities. Last week for example, a team of fabulous volunteers from Make-A-Wish trekked across a landmark that is on every travel enthusiasts bucket list: the Great Wall of China.
An extroverted and socially active person can find fundraising as enjoyable as the trip itself. For a more introverted person the idea can be daunting. If you lack the time or the inclination to fundraise then a volunteer trip may be more your style.
Travel volunteering holidays are essentially working holidays. This doesn’t mean they can’t be wonderful. Volunteers do more than visit a community – they get the chance to live and work in it. If you are the type of traveller who is more interested in an authentic cultural experience than you are in sightseeing, then a volunteering holiday may be right for you. There are volunteering programmes in hundreds of truly splendid locations – many of which include home-stay style accommodation with local people. A great example of this is VESA. Once a month they take a team of environmentally conscious teens to live and volunteer with families in traditional Fijian villages.
Choosing your activity
If you’ve decided what type of Travel Hero you want to be, then it’s time to choose your Travel Hero super power! It could be running, climbing, canoeing or cycling. If you’ve chosen to do a volunteer trip then perhaps it will be environmental conservation, specialist work like nursing or engineering, teaching or even administration.
If you are having trouble deciding on an activity, then adventure fundraising and travel volunteer organisers like Huma and Projects Abroad are great sources of inspiration. If you can’t find something you like, get creative. In 2012 Jimmi Hunt raised awareness for depression by floating the entire 425km length of New Zealand’s Waikato River on an $8 inflatable pool mattress. You can read his story here.
How to make your adventure happen
When it comes to booking a Travel Hero holiday there are three options:
Choosing a Charity
For many Travel Heroes choosing a cause to support is easy - they already have a favourite charity or cause that is close to their heart. In November a group of over 60 fundraisers will represent Can Too at the New York Marathon. When asked what motivates people to fundraise for them, Annie Crawford at Can Too explained that
“Over 1 in 2 people will get cancer in their life time. In Australia someone gets diagnosed with cancer every 4 minutes and dies of cancer every 12 minutes.” Share this on Facebook
For those who are unsure or uncertain on who to support the ANAC (Australian Charity Register) is a great place to start. Regardless of how you choose your cause, research is important. Check that you are working with a reputable charity that has a genuine positive impact. You may want to look into
Whether the charity is registered and who they are registered to.
What the Charities mission statement says.
How active the charity is – you could ask for information about current projects they are working on or about what they have achieved in the last 12 months.
What do past volunteers and participants have to say about the experience of working with the charity.
Why not check out the charity profiles on the Travel Heroes site as a starting point? We’ll keep adding new profiles, so stay tuned (or better even: sign up to receive Travel Heroes news).
Coming soon: Part 3 of our series – How to get organised for your Travel Heroes adventure.
Are you planning a travel volunteering or adventure fundraising trip, or have you done one in the past? Then enter the competition for the chance to win $5,000 for your cause or charity, plus $500 travel money*.
Get Travel Heroes news and reminders to keep you up-to-date. We'll make sure you don't miss any new articles or competition deadlines, plus we'll keep you posted on our Travel Heroes contestants and their causes. Click below to enter your details. (We won't share your details with anyone. You can unsubscribe anytime).
*The Travel Heroes competition is only open to Australian and New Zealand residents aged 18 or over. The entry period ends at 10:59am AEDST on 7th November 2016. Limit 1 entry per person & 1 entry per email address. The Travel Heroes Finalist Pack consists of a Turkish Murkish Super Soft Towel and an ecococoon Retro Chic 4 Cup Set. Further terms and conditions apply. View the full Terms and Conditions.
Disclaimer: This microsite is intended to provide general information and entertainment around travel, volunteering and fundraising-related topics. The views expressed on this microsite do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Columbus Direct. We do not endorse any statements made by third parties and do not take responsibility for third party content included on, or linked to from, this microsite. Any third parties mentioned on, or websites linked to from, this microsite should not be viewed as associated with Columbus Direct. None of the information provided on this microsite should be understood as advice or be relied upon for any decisions, particularly medical or financial decisions. The topics covered on this microsite are not necessarily reflective of our products or cover. Always read the PDS before deciding if a travel insurance policy is right for you.
To get the best experience from this website, please upgrade your browser