Travel That Benefits Others

Traveling is a wondrous experience. It opens our eyes to new ways of thinking and living. We meet amazing people and see breathtaking sites. But we also come across things that are difficult. We encounter poverty, and not just beggar-on-the-street poverty. We encounter poverty that is desperate, that is so entrenched that it seems impossible to overcome. When this happens, we realize just how fortunate we are. At the same time, we often feel so powerless. What can we do to make a difference?

Recently, I came across an organization, Charity Begins, helping travelers to do something productive–deliver needed goods to non-profits in developing countries throughout the world. Here’s how it works: A few months before you take a trip to a developing nation, you contact Charity Begins. They then get in touch with a non-profit at your destination, gather supplies needed by this group, and deliver the supplies to your door. Then you take the supplies with you to the airport, check them with your luggage, pick them up when you arrive, and deliver them to the charity. Kind of cool, right? You literally become a link between worlds.

So consider it next time you’re traveling to the developing world. Or if you’re not traveling, help out by donating needed goods. After all, charity begins at home.

5 Replies to “Travel That Benefits Others”

  1. Interesting analogy. I hadn’t thought of that.

    Among the things the organization seems to regularly have transported are shoes, children’s books, school supplies, toiletries, and baby kits.

  2. Hi,
    My name is Jennifer and I’m the co-founder of Charity Begins. I was thrilled to find the reference to our charity on your website. Thank you! First of all – Therese and Jeff – best of luck with your upcoming trip! I took a year off of “corporate america” to travel the world solo. It was a life changing and eye-opening experience.

    Thank you for spreading the word about We have found that most travelers heading to developing nations are more than willing to carry necessities (school supplies, shoes, clothing, etc.) with them but simply don’t have the time to plan it and research local charities. That’s where Charity Begins comes into play. We do the research, provide the necessities, and take care of all of the footwork.

    People can help in four ways:
    – Donating gently used clothing, shoes, toys or school supplies
    – Donating luggage
    – Taking an extra piece of luggage with them to a developing nation
    – Providing us with contacts/charities in developing countries

    Please keep us in mind as you travel. Perhaps you will volunteer somewhere or run across a charity you’d like to help out with a delivery. I’ll gladly add them to our data-base.

    Also, if you need any travel guidance in Southeast Asia please let me know.

    Safe travels. Thank you again.


  3. Wow, thanks for the info Jennifer. We’ve added to the blogroll so that people passing through here will easily be able to find you. We will definitely be in touch as we get closer to our travel dates to see how we can help. Thanks for coming by!

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