When many of us travel, we often think of how many points or miles we can earn with each ticket we purchase. Sometimes, life is all about “me.” But you can also make your travels charitable and support a worthy cause as well. Here are some ways you can help when you travel.
With Charitybuzz, you can bid on experiences and the proceeds will benefit a designated charity. One example is a trip for two to Ocean Spa Hotel in Cancun with opening bids starting at $1,000. The designated charity that will benefit from this auction is Caribbean Tourism Organization Foundation.
2. Travel for Charity
An easy way you can help charities by traveling is by booking your travel with a charitable travel portal. Travel for Charity uses the Booking.com travel search engine (part of the Priceline family) that allows you to book your flights, hotels, and rental cars and support a featured charity.
3. Charitable Hotels
If you book hotel stays with a third-party booking portal, you can give 20% of the proceeds to Charitable Hotels. America’s first non-profit travel agency. The Charitable Hotels portal displays the exact price as for hotels as Hotels.com, Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity, and other Online Travel Agencies. In all, 93% of the U.S. hotels are in Charitable Hotels database making it easy to find a place to stay and help a noble cause in the process.
4. Donate Rewards Points
Another option is to donate your rewards points that you earn from your travel rewards card or from your airline and hotel loyalty programs. This can be the easiest option if you book directly with the hotel or airline carrier, and, it also allows you to capture the points earned from non-travel purchases as well. The only downside is that charitable donations normally have low redemption values.
Here is a list of a few loyalty programs that allow you to directly donate points to a charity partner:
- Alaska Airlines
- American Airlines
- Delta Airlines
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Southwest Airlines
- United Airlines
- Hilton Honors
- IHG Rewards Club
- Marriott and Ritz-Carlton Rewards
- Starwood Preferred Guest
You can also donate directly from your credit card issuer as well:
Donating points isn’t tax deductible, but, it can be a good way to use rewards points before they expire or just because you want to use them to help somebody in need.
Because of the low redemption rates as charitable contributions might only be worth 0.5 cents ($0.005) each instead of the normal one-cent value for travel rewards or cash back rewards, you might be better taking the additional step to earn a cash reward and make a monetary donation to your favorite charity.
This option allows you to deduct your charitable contribution what tax time and give to a charity of your choice, not the ones that have partnered with your airline, hotel, or credit card rewards program. Plus, it will be a larger contribution for the same amount of points.
5. IRS Tax Deductions
If you volunteer to travel for a charitable cause, you can deduct certain expenses at tax time. It is important to keep detailed records in case the IRS asks for more information and the deductions only qualify when you volunteer for an accredited charity or organization.
Some of the travel expenses you can claim are:
- Air, rail, and bus transportation
- Out-of-pocket expenses for your car (i.e. gas and tolls)
- Taxi fares and other transportation costs between airport or train/bus station and hotel
- Cost of Meals
These deductions can only be claimed when the trip is primarily for charity. If you also have personal leisure or business in the trip, you might not be able to claim all expenses. Your tax professional can be a good resource if you plan to travel for charity. These IRS tips for charitable travel can also be beneficial.
While this option doesn’t help the charity with extra cash donations, you do get to help them with an equally valuable asset, your time.
Here is a list of the charities & travel organizations:
Go Barefoot is driven by a social and environmental ethos working in partnership with NGOs, co-operatives and social enterprises to provide more immersive cultural discoveries and enriching ecotourism adventures, away from the conventional and commercial tourist circuits
The Travel Foundation is an independent charity that works in partnership with leading tourism organisations to improve the impacts of tourism in destinations – bringing greater benefits for local communities, the environment and tourists.Their work creates secure livelihoods and better management of the environment through tourism.
The Tourism Trust – “The Tourism Trust” main aspiration is to promote sustainable and equitable tourism all over the world in collaboration with both our public and private stakeholders. We are possibly among the first philanthropic trust & Non – Profit Charitable Trust organization meant primarily for the growth of tourism industry globally
Trees for Cities is the only charity working on an international scale to create greener cities. They strengthen communities through volunteering opportunities and inspire children to grow and eat good food.