5 Ways To Give Back While Traveling

As we approach the holidays, many people are in the spirit of giving, volunteering, and helping their community. As such, I figured it would be nice to outline some ways that you can give back while you travel. Whether you are interested in volunteering with an established organization or giving back through a local community effort, there is something on this list for you.


When I went to Cuba I was determined to give back, especially since I was going a month after Hurricane Irma hit. I didn’t know where to start, who to give, or what way I could give back, so I went to the dollar store and picked up some toothpaste, soap, deodorant, etc. and organized ziplock bags to hand out. Once I got there, I was able to give these ziplock bags out to those who needed it most. You can also do this with books, school supplies, and other toiletries and donate the supplies once you get there. This also leaves extra space in your luggage heading home, meaning you can fill it with souvenirs for friends, family, but most importantly… yourself.


During my time in Trinidad, I was interested in volunteering, but I didn’t know where to start. I found a list of schools and religious organizations and went around asking if they had any opportunities to help out. The first school I asked needed help, so it didn’t take much searching. If you’re not into searching for an opportunity, there are many organizations you can travel with to go on a service trip. Jelani Women is a great example of that! They are an organization that takes Black women on vacations with a purpose. This experience of their own gives underserved teenage girls the chance to go on an international trip of their own.


WWOOF is a worldwide movement linking volunteers with organic farmers and growers to promote cultural and educational experiences. As a volunteer, you live with a host family and help with their daily tasks and experience their life as a farmer. In exchange for your service, you stay with the host family for free. This is also a great way for someone looking to travel who doesn’t have much money or is on a tight budget. Experience the land, experience the life of a local, eat organically grown foods and become part of a sustainable, global community.


If you’re on that, “listen sis, I’m just tryna go on my nice little Jamaican adventure, I’m not tryna do all that” vibe, I GET IT. It be like that sometimes. For you, my lovely philanthropist wanderer, I would suggesting participating in the local economy. How? Shop at local stores, hire local translators, local tour guides, and go on local excursions. Stay away from the big, corporate shows and figure out how you can support the land you flew hours to get to. Ask what the locals are getting into, what local bars they’re patrons of, and follow them. Trust me, you’ll enjoy yourself and you can feel good about your contribution.


A lot of times, there is no set path to give back while traveling, so you have to create it on your own. The intention of serving others while abroad is great, but it is not enough. There needs to be more action. So, figure it out. The points above describe my experiences in Cuba and Trinidad. I had the intention, but no directed path, so I created my own path. This is my advice to you. Want to give back, but don’t know how…create a way. People are always looking for assistance, and your intention was the first step, now add just a little more effort and actually change lives. Google shit. Facebook shit. Figure shit out.

Have you ever volunteered while traveling? Where did you volunteer and what was your experience like? Ever wanted to volunteer but didn’t know where to start? Did this help at all? Let me know in the comments below

How to Plan a Trip with People Who Suck at Planning

I’m assuming you’ve clicked this link because, like me, you’ve also experienced putting together an excursion with people who aint shit. Don’t get me wrong, we love these people, we want to spend time with these people, and most importantly, we want to travel with these people! You know! Do something unique! Something out of the ordinary for a change! Expose ourselves to adventure! Let these thoughts ruminate. Ahhhhh paradise


NOW WAKE THE HELL UP! This is not a drill! SOS, 911, all of that. This is a state of emergency, because you are realizing that these lovely people, although babbling about venturing off, have no skills when it comes to putting together the plan that will get y’all there. In a perfect world, I would think that responsibilities are divvied up, tasks assigned, and trips seamlessly booked. In the reality I live in, I’m running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to make sure that everyone has this (passport), that (visa), and the third (some damn sense).


So, what’s the solution to planning a trip with people who suck at planning? Well….DON’T. It’s really simple. If you’re attempting to go somewhere with people who are not putting forth effort, maybe just don’t go with those people. Maybe find new people. Maybe find new people who will put forth effort. Maybe find new people who will put forth effort and appreciate your effort in the process. Maybe find new people who will put forth effort and appreciate your effort in the process and who won't drive you crazy! Yeaaaahhhhh….maybe that! That’s possible solution number one.


Possible solution number two takes a little more effort. If you’ve come down to read this, more likely than not, you’re pressed to go with these people. Maybe it’s your boyfriend who can’t get his shit together or maybe it’s your best friend who “never has time” to assist in the planning. Well...all yall “aint got my shit together” “aint got time to plan” heauxs, listen up! If you want to go on this trip, then you damn sure aren’t about to have me do all the work. Get your shit together or get lost, find some time because you’re not going to waste mine (aaayyyy that rhyme pattern though.. Trademark of WanderlustWad, All Rights Reserved).


Moving forward, if you’re hell-bent on taking these people, making this trip, and exploring with the “aint shits” as I’ll refer to them from now on, the first thing you’ll need to do is TAKE CHARGE. You’ll have to come to the understanding that the “aint shits” aren’t going to do much without a Commander in Chief! A President! A Leader! They need you. And since it’s become evident that you need them too, go ahead and assume that role. Understand that with great power comes great responsibility, and most of that responsibility is going to be annoying as hell. Hey, you signed up for this, not me.


Once you assume your position, you’ll be the one assigning tasks. “Aint shit number one, you’ll be finding us a place to stay for these dates.” “Aint shit number two, you’ll be researching activities for our stay.” Give them a due date on their assigned work and follow up with them regularly. If that means weekly, daily, hourly...whatever works best for you. Don’t give them too much time to lollygag because you know they will. You have to be on them!


Pro tip: Pick up a burner phone because the aint shits will start to ignore your phone calls and texts


Once you assume your position, assign tasks, and follow up with your aint shits, you’ll be well on your way to planning a trip to people who suck at planning. I mean what’s the worst that could happen? They’ll block you, make excuses for not doing the work, and you’ll end up on this trip alone. They are the “aint shits” after all.


Happy Wandering...