Is Travel the New Philanthropy?

Giving back to travel destinations is popular with Americans. More than half of Americans surveyed gave money, time, or goods while on a vacation in the past two years.

Giving back to travel destinations is popular with Americans. More than half—55%—of Americans surveyed gave money, time, or goods while on a vacation in the past two years, according to Tourism Cares, the tourism industry’s charitable arm. Travel may become the new means of philanthropy.

Families traveling with children volunteer their time and give more than the average person, a not surprising finding since parents set examples for their children. The study, “Good Travels: The Philanthropic Profile of the American Traveler,” found that of families traveling with children, 73% volunteered their time and 83% donated supplies or other in-kind service.

What is surprising is the study’s discovery that millennials, those ages 18 to 34, proved to be more generous than other age groups. The study discovered that 81% of the “me generation” volunteered, 78% donated cash, and 83% gave an in-kind donation.

Giving back while traveling feels good. Of the givers surveyed, 64% linked their “very high trip satisfaction” to their charitable activities. Almost 75% of families said that giving created a “very positive trip experience,” and 80% of millennials responded they were “extremely satisfied” with their travel-related giving.

“This new research helps the traveling public understand the potential for especially meaningful travel and is a call to action for the tourism industry,” says Mike Rea, CEO of Tourism Cares.

Here are more findings:

Average giving during the most meaningful trip:

• Ages 18 to 34: volunteered 35 hours, cash donation $437, in-kind donation $324

• Ages 35 to 54: volunteered 24 hours, cash donation $377, in-kind donation $322

• Ages 55+: volunteered 14 hours, cash donation $152, in-kind donation $72.

Continued charitable involvement post-trip:

Families with children:

• 46% follow up on causes they donated to

• 34% gave more to the same cause

Millennials:

• 54% follow up on causes they donated to

• 50% intend to plan more trips around giving

To see an infographic of the study’s findings, click here.