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Travel Charities – Gift Giving Ideas for the Holidays

Last month Dave and I had the pleasure of hosting the Orbis Flight For Sight Virtual Event where teams competed against each other testing their travel trivia knowledge as they raised money to help end avoidable blindness around the world. We are excited to announce that there will be two more events taking place on November 30th on Giving Tuesday and December 9th. We’d love for you to join us! Register today here!

The holidays are always a time for giving. We often search for a charity to donate money to as the end of the year approaches, and if you are looking to do the same, the Orbis Flight for Sight event just may be what you are searching for.

Flight for Sight – Give the Gift of Sight

Flight for Sight is a 60-minute immersive entertainment experience where Dave and I host teams competing in travel trivia challenges and interactive games. It’s the perfect team-building event for companies looking to bring their workforce together or you can sign up individually and join a team.

During the course of the event, participants will be entertained by yours truly as Captain Khoi Duong takes you through sets of live-streamed flight simulation experiences. The flight simulations are actual GPS Satellite imagery.

FedEx and Orbis Flying Eye Hospital

charities for travel orbis flight for sight

Participants who take part in the Orbis Flight for Sight event will take a virtual tour of the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital. FedEx donated a cargo jet that was transformed to a state of the art teaching and training eye hospital.

The next event is happening on November 30 just in time for Giving Tuesday. Teams of up to 12 people are required to fundraise at least $2,000. That’s just $166 per person. So get your co-workers, family or friends together for a fun way to raise money for a charity!

Now, if you are looking for other ways to give this holiday season, we’ve curated a list of some of the best charities to give to for travel lovers. Nearly all charities around the world are worthy causes and deserve our funds, but we can’t cover them all. This is just a list to help you get the creative giving juices flowing and to raise awareness about some of the causes that are dear to our hearts.

1. Orbis Flight for Sight

orbis flying eye hospital travel charities

Orbis is a non-governmental organization (NGO) that brings people together to help put an end to avoidable blindness around the world. They have been in operation for 40 years working throughout Africa, Asia, and South America.

It is truly astonishing to hear that nearly 1 billion people around the world live with blindness that could be treated or prevented if they had access to eye care. Orbis is working to ensure that everyone has access to eye health care no matter where they live. Not only do they have a network of doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, and biomedical engineers on hand volunteering their time, they share their expertise with the local medical professionals. For fundraising ideas visit their website.

2. Born Free Foundation

best travel charities born free

The Born Free Foundation is something that is very dear to our hearts. Founded in 1984, the Born Free Foundation was founded to help stop the exploitation and suffering of individual animals living in captivity or in the wild. You can find more information on Born Free Foundation here.

Your donations will go to conservation, rescue & care, sustainability, anti-captivity, and education. Born Free are advocates for keeping wild animals where they belong, in the wild. They work to ensure the best outcome for wildlife including banning trophy hunting, illegal trading, and phasing out zoos while promoting better protection to animals.

3. Animals Asia

travel charities save the bears

If there is one thing that turns my stomach in this world it is bear bile farming. Animals Asia is devoted to ending bear bile farming and improving the welfare of animals across Asia. They have been rescuing bears since 1994 and Animals Asia was founded in 1998. They have bear rescue sanctuaries in China and Vietnam and are working tirelessly to end this most inhumane practice. And after years of cooperation, Animals Asia has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Vietnam Government to completely End Bear Bile Farming in Vietnam by 2022.

They also advocate and work to end the trade of cats and dogs for food in Asia and to help the suffering of animals in captivity that are abused in zoos and safari parks in Southeast Asia. Donate here

3. Plan International

When we cycled through Africa, we saw first hand the world that Plan Canada was doing for communities in Africa. Plan focuses its attention on children around the world and for equal rights for girls around the world. We actually rode for their “Because I’m a Girl” campaign dedicated to standing with young women to support them through education and opportunity. But Plan supports all children and communities from child protection to schools and making sure that communities have clean water. One of the projects that we visited in Cairo that really peaked our attention was the economic empowerment they give to women in particular through micro-finance. Visit Plan for more details.

4. Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

For those looking to help with a focus on Africa, the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is a charity that provides a safe haven for elephants and rhinos in Africa. We visited the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya where we saw their orphaned elephant rescue and rehabilitation program first hand. It is heartbreaking to see what elephants and rhinos are facing in Africa, but it is good to know that there are programs like this working to protect and preserve wildlife. From anti-poaching to educating communities and providing veterinary assistance, your dollars will go a long way in helping an elephant thrive.

5. Charity Water

travel the world and make a difference

Water is our most precious resource and we are quickly running out of clean water around the world. An astonishing 785 million people lack basic access to clean and safe drinking water. When cycling through Africa and traveling through rural South America and Asia we have seen firsthand how precious water is. People walk for miles for clean water each day. Charity Water is working to bring clean and safe water to families around the world every single month. Founded in 2006, Charity Water is working on their goal to giving everyone access to water within our lifetime.

When you give to Charity Water, 100% of your donation goes to the field. Private donors cover their operating costs so you can be sure that your dollar is going towards funding water projects. Read more here.

6. WWF

Walking With Polar Bears near Churchill Manitoba

World Wildlife Fund is an oldie but a goodie. We have been giving to WWF for as long as I can remember. For 60 years WWF has been working on conservation in 100 countries. When looking for a charity to give to, WWF encompasses a broad range from the climate crisis to our oceans, freshwater, forests, and wildlife. Your donation will help to build a future where humans can live in harmony with nature

7. Ocean Concervancy

Snortkel with Sea Turtles in Maui

The Ocean Conservancy has been running the International Coastal Cleanup for more than 30 years. Working on the pillars of science, Ocean Conservancy has been tirelessly working to find solutions to the challenges our oceans. They lobby governments to make policy changes and, being located in Washington DC they wield true power. From ocean planning, creating sustainable fisheries, and working to reduce the waste that goes into our oceans, the Ocean Conservancy is a leading oceans charity to give to.

8. Take 3

best charities for travelers save the oceans

When we first heard about Take 3 we thought it was an excellent idea. Imagine if everyone on earth picked up just 3 pieces of rubbish whenever they visited a beach, river bank or lakeside park. This one little act can change our waterways. But Take 3 also has other programs from education, youth leadership and other programs.

9. Sustainable Travel International

How to cure jet lag on the plane

As travel lovers, we are all doing our own damage in the world whenever we step on a plane. With Sustainable Travel International, you not only are able to calculate your carbon footprint, but it also works to protect vulnerable destinations by working with communities to clean beaches and preserve culture. They work with governments and local leaders to help them implement policies that lead to healthier destinations. They work hand in hand with policymakers to create the best practices for sustainable tourism development. Plus, they work to inform travelers to make the world a better place through their choices of how they travel.

10. Pencils of Promise

best travel charities for schools

When traveling through Asia, Africa, and South America children have always asked us for a pen or pencil. It is the easiest thing to give a child and bring a smile to their face. However, it has almost become overwhelming when traveling to have everyone ask us for a pen. Instead, we prefer to give to organizations that help a community rather than giving to one child.

The Pencils of Promise community is committed to building a better world through education across the globe. When you donate, your money will go to providing support to a teacher or giving water, handwashing and sanitation to students. They build schools and classrooms and are currently in partnership with public school systems and communities in Ghana, Guatemala and Laos.

11. Make a Wish Foundation

I’ll never forget my friend Sugar from YTV boarding a plane each year to join children of Make a Wish on their trip of a lifetime. Its aim is to fulfill the wish of critically ill children. Imagine helping to give a dream trip to a child to bring joy to what could be their final days.

12. SPCA

lanai pictures cat
Go with the Flow Like This Sleeping Cat in Thailand

If you are looking for a charity closer to home, your local SPCA is always in need of funds to rescue animals and provide care to animal shelters. This is always my go-to charity. We have given to the Ontario SPCA for years and it feels good to know that our money is going towards rescuing abused animals, adoption and humane education. If you love animals, this is a great local charity to give to. Look for the local SPCA near you.

Donating to charities is a personal choice and these suggestions for travel inspired charities are simply suggestions to help spark ideas for you to donate this year. There are hundreds of charities around the world worthy of your dollars. These are just the tip of the iceberg and are simply charities that we follow and believe in. When choosing a charity to give to this year, go with your heart and do your research and together we can help make the world a better place.

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