Voluntourism: Giving Back This Holiday Season

TORONTO, Nov. 27, 2014 — (PRNewswire) —

Hotels.com shares easy ways for Canadians to help others when travelling

TORONTO, Nov. 27, 2014 /CNW/ - Canadians are no strangers to volunteer work, ranking third in the 2014 World Giving Index, following Myanmar and the United States. Voluntourism is increasing in popularity as it gives travellers the opportunity to experience destinations in a different, but helpful, way. This holiday season, Hotels.com® suggests travellers spend a few hours giving back when on the road this year.

"We've seen the trend of travellers visiting communities to volunteer reach an all-time high," said Taylor L. Cole, APR, travel expert for Hotels.com.  "But consumers don't necessarily have to travel far or plan a separate trip around philanthropic activities to make a difference – you can find a way to give back your time in just about any community you find yourself during the holidays."

Tips for travellers looking to give back:

  • Bring gently used shoes, clothes or toys to donate to a local shelter during your trip. Or donate your carry-on clothes instead of packing them to take back home
  • Collect your toiletries from recent hotel stays and donate to area shelters
  • Regardless of destination, visit the local mall and pick up some gifts for the hotel staff, cab driver orphanage, or community shelter

Holiday travellers visiting these popular destinations can find a number of ways to help.

Toronto, Ontario, CA.
As the most popular Canadian destination for domestic and international travellers*, the city doesn't disappoint during the holiday season. With beautiful light displays, festive storefront windows, themed menus and its very own Christmas Market in the Distillery Historic District. For those looking to give back, the Yonge Street Mission has a range of positions for volunteers based on interests or skill sets and The Daily Bread Food Bank has locations around the city for non-perishable drop offs.

Where to stay: Directly across from Union Station in the heart of the city, the historic Fairmont Royal York is a warm and friendly hotel perfectly suited for holiday celebrations. The annual Christmas buffet includes carollers and even a special visit from Santa. Plus, if you're looking to do a little holiday shopping, you'll appreciate the hotel's access to the PATH underground centre so you can exercise your wallet without braving the cold.

New York, New York, U.S.A.
A popular destination through the holiday season and the most popular internationally for Canadians*, New York City is the ultimate location for travellers seeking – and spreading – holiday cheer.  From Rockefeller Center's massive Christmas tree, to the largest menorah in the world on 5th avenue, there are gentle reminders to give back to the community all over the city. While visiting, travellers can donate a coat at one of 280 coat drive drop-off locations across the city via New York Cares.

Where to stay: Located in the historic Hell's Kitchen neighborhood, Ink48, A Kimpton Hotel is centrally located to New York's iconic holiday attractions. Also known as a wellness oasis, Ink48 offers in-room yoga mats, complimentary PUBLIC branded bikes, the property's own Runner's Amenity Kit and eco-conscious InkSpa. The rooftop lounge features unobstructed sweeping views of the Hudson River facing west, and the Midtown Manhattan skyline facing east.

Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A.
The second most popular international destination for Canadians*, travellers can indulge in endless activities in Las Vegas, including volunteer opportunities. Visitors can volunteer a day or for just a few hours via one of the many programs and services offered by The Shade Tree, a shelter for women, children and their pets.  If time is limited, guests can pick a toy or gift from the holiday wish list and seek one of their many drop-off centers through December 19th.

Where to stay:  The newly renovated SLS Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, Curio Collection by Hilton is conveniently located on the Strip, near many local attractions. The Curio hotel is an all-encompassing resort and casino with more than 1,600 guest rooms, fabulous dining options and unparalleled nightlife offerings.

Negril, Jamaica
Jamaica is an oasis for Canadians during the chill of winter.  Visitors can amp up their trips by offering their time at one of Jamaica's many schools, teaching children how to read, or by painting and repairing educational buildings. Jamaica is involved in a major voluntourism initiative to immerse visitors into the local culture, and help out local communities.  Visitors can pick and choose from a variety of organizations at the Jamaica Tourist Board's website, VisitJamaica.com/volunteer

Where to stay: Nestled amidst tropical gardens and flowering plants at the edge of Negril lies a unique all-inclusive property called Sunset at the Palms. Guests can enjoy "treehouse-style" guestrooms and the five acres of beachfront facilities, including a martini and beach bar.

Share your volunteer travels on Twitter at @hotelsdotcomca with the hashtag #voluntourism

*According to the latest Hotels.com Hotel Price Index.

About Hotels.com
Hotels.com, L.P. operates Hotels.com (also known in Canada as  Hotels.ca), a leading online accommodation booking website with over 365,000 properties around the world, ranging from international chains and all-inclusive resorts to local favourites and bed & breakfasts, together with all the information needed to book the perfect stay. Special apps for mobile phones and tablets can also be downloaded enabling customers to book on the go with access to 20,000 last minute deals.

© 2014 Hotels.com, LP. Hotels.com, The Obvious Choice, Captain Obvious and the Hotels.com logo are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Hotels.com, LP in the U.S. and/or other countries. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners. CST # 2083949-50

SOURCE Hotels.com

Press Contacts: Lauren Wasley, energiPR for Hotels.com, Phone: (416) 425-9143 x 19, Email: Email Contact @energiPR; Taylor L. Cole, APR, Hotels.com North America, Phone: (469) 335-8442, Email: Email Contact @TravelwithTLC

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