How Travel Can Help Disaster Relief

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Traveler or not, you can’t help but be heartbroken by the recent string of natural disasters. But if travel is important to you — and we’re going to assume it is — you take the destruction personally.

Maybe a house full of your family memories was blown clear off its perch in Saint John (true Travelzoo staff story). Or the person who hosted you last time you were in Mexico City took an agonizingly long time to surface after the second quake (also true). Or the millions of people who collectively make Puerto Rico one of your favorite spots on earth have no water, electricity, medical care or food supplies to speak of (all too true as well, of course).

So while you’ve likely contributed to one, if not several, of the worthy relief organizations in the news, you may also want to give back specifically in the spirit of travel — the world’s consummate connector.

Here are three ways to do so:

  1. Add your name to Habitat for Humanity’s hurricane recovery volunteer registry. As opportunities arise to travel to the affected areas and help rebuild homes, you’ll receive notifications.
  2. Donate to the Destination Disaster Recovery Fund. Run by Tourism Cares, a nonprofit that works with and through the travel industry, the fund focuses specifically on the places that have been impacted by Hurricanes Maria, Irma and Harvey.
  3. Use your frequent flier miles to help. Southwest, for example, lets you donate them to various organizations that will be doing relief work in hurricane-ravaged regions. Conversely, you can earn miles by donating: United will award Mileage Plus members with up to 1000 bonus miles per contribution to the airline’s Hurricane Harvey Relief Effort.
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