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Dec
28

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Top Sustainable Travel Destinations for 2017

Posted by on December 28, 2016 · 2 Comments  

It’s become an annual rite of passage for travel writers to pick their favorite travel destinations for the coming year. Since we here at Discover Corps are committed to the concept of Sustainable Travel (travel that benefits the local ecology and economy of a place), we thought it would be fun to ask our favorite travel blogging experts to share their favorite eco-friendly destinations. Check out these mini-guides to the Top Sustainable Travel Destinations for 2017:

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Dec
21

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Keeping New Years Resolutions: How to Be a Better You in 2017

Posted by on December 21, 2016 · Leave a Comment  

The statistics on keeping New Years resolutions aren’t pretty.

At the beginning of each new year, nearly half of the American public makes resolutions to change aspects of their lives. Some vow to lose the extra weight they’ve been carrying around, save more money for retirement, or try their luck with online dating. We’re notorious for committing to big, bold plans, only to lose steam a few weeks later.

It’s a great concept, though. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all set small, meaningful goals that made our years on the planet progressively more productive, intentional, healthy or enjoyable?

While I tend to avoid using the “resolution” label, there’s a part of me that gets really excited every time January 1st rolls around. Who doesn’t love a fresh slate, even if it’s only real in our minds?

So, for 2017, let’s all focus on being the best versions of ourselves possible. To help out with some inspiration for keeping New Years resolutions, I’ve compiled a little list of ways you can get started .Read More

Dec
14

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5 Destinations That Can Help Beat The Winter Blues

Posted by on December 14, 2016 · 1 Comment  

The holidays are right around the corner, and much of the country is now covered in snow. In San Diego, where I live, the “brisk” 65 degree days mean that boots and scarves appear where tank tops and flip flops used to live. This isn’t satire.

Winter is officially here. And for some people, the season brings on a serious case of the winter blues.

Whether you wait all year for the first flakes to fall or find yourself entering hibernation mode at the first sign of cold, it’s always nice to have a sliver of sunshine to look forward to. The popularity of traveling from January-April proves that, for many, wintertime is the perfect opportunity for a getaway.

Are you or your family planning a winter vacation? We’ve compiled a list of warm-weather Discover Corps destinations that offer a tropical cure for the winter blues. Check them out below, and feel free to add any others to the list by dropping us a comment!

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Dec
12

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10 Things To Do On Australia’s Gold Coast

Posted by on December 12, 2016 · 3 Comments  

As a destination, the Gold Coast of Australia is truly unique. It’s blessed with endless sunshine, so outdoor activities are possible all year-round. Travelers have the opportunity to explore a wide range of landscapes here, from dense rainforest to miles upon miles of pristine beaches.

On the Gold Coast, modern entertainment and a laid-back beach vibe coexist with rich aboriginal culture. You can effortlessly jump from the city to hiking in the UNESCO-recognized Gondwana Rainforest, taking in an abundance of native wildlife.

Few other travel destinations are as diverse as this part of Queensland, and there’s an abundance of nature-based adventures to be found there. Here’s our guide to the Top 10 Things to Do on Australia’s Gold Coast…

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Dec
8

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Why Mass Tourism and Volunteer Travel Don’t Mix

Posted by on December 8, 2016 · 1 Comment  

Last year, Carnival Corporation announced their newest cruise venture, Fathom. This voluntourism-focused brand promised cruise-goers a chance to “do good” in the Dominican Republic and Cuba.

Their commitment to projects that, in their words, “contribute to local economic development, education and environmental initiatives” seemed well-intentioned. But at Discover Corps, we are experts in sustainable, culturally sensitive short-term volunteering. As such, we were more than a little skeptical of this news.

Would a massive company like Carnival really be willing to put integrity before profit? How could meaningful volunteering be translated to a floating resort carrying more than 700 travelers at a time?

As it turns out, it couldn’t be. Just last week, Carnival announced that Fathom, the Do-Good Cruise Line, would be phased out after less than a year of operation. And while we’re honestly sad to see this happen, we’re not surprised.

Here’s a breakdown of why, in our opinion, mass tourism and volunteer travel simply don’t complement one another.Read More

Dec
1

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Why We No Longer Offer Walking With Lions Tours

Posted by on December 1, 2016 · 1 Comment  

Do a quick search for “Walking With Lions” and you’ll find no shortage of destinations offering animal lovers this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for around $150 a person.

It’s easy to understand why walking with lions tours, lion cub petting, and other wildlife encounters have become so popular in recent years. After all, who wouldn’t want to walk alongside one of the world’s most fearsome predators, or get a sweet selfie while cuddling adorable fur babies?

But how would you feel to learn that, as soon as those cubs are too old to be safely handled by humans, many will be forced into a cramped cage with dozens of other lions? And eventually they’ll be killed by rich hunters, who pay hefty fees to shoot their prize trophy.

This is the dark side of walking with lions tours that most of these attractions never tell tourists about. And it’s one of many reasons Discover Corps has decided to stop offering these sorts of tours going forward.
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Nov
27

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3 Meaningful Christmas Gifts to Give Your Family

Posted by on November 27, 2016 · 1 Comment  

I’m a sucker for the holiday season. Now based in California, I’ve lived 2,000+ miles away from my family and its Michigan roots all of my adult life.

Each year around the holidays I get nostalgic for the magical times spent hiding from the snow, curled up on the couch with loved ones, and eating take-out straight from the container (since there aren’t any good cooks in my family). Being able to relax with friends and family in a home that’s warm and comfortable is a privilege I’m always aware of and incredibly thankful for.

But as much as I treasure the memories of holidays spent at home, some of my fondest holiday experiences were the times that I spent traveling. My first taste of international travel came at age 10, on a Christmas cruise in the Caribbean that my grandparents gifted to our extended family. I’ll never forget the magic of opening one small gift each around a restaurant table in Jamaica. I felt so lucky and loved, on an adventure with my family.

When I traveled to Europe for the first time, I flew to Rome on Christmas Eve. It was the only time I’d been away from my family for the holidays. But, as I wandered through a Christmas market in Piazza Navona, I felt an odd sense of connection to every person on the planet who was celebrating.

Whether you’re planning to stay home or embark on an adventure during the holidays, this season is one for making lasting memories. So we’ve compiled a few tips for making the winter holidays special for yourself and your loved ones this year. Hopefully it will serve as a reminder that the most meaningful Christmas gifts for your family are those that come from the heart, not the store…Read More

Nov
22

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How to Choose Ethical Volunteer Organizations

Posted by on November 22, 2016 · 1 Comment  

A few decades ago, there were only a couple of options available if you wanted to volunteer internationally: Join the Peace Corps (a lengthy commitment) or take a mission trip with a religious group. The lack of volunteer organizations to choose from ultimately kept most people from volunteering abroad.

These days it’s much easier to find volunteer organizations that offer international experiences. Nearly all of them have an online presence, and it’s easy to find photos and reviews from previous travelers that can help you make a decision about which program to choose. But for many prospective volunteers, there’s another level to the decision-making process. What about ethics?

How do volunteers determine whether the organizations they’re considering working with are rooted in sustainable travel principles? It can be challenging to determine whether volunteer organizations are truly committed to bringing about long-term benefits to the host communities.

This is often the cause for criticism that voluntourism receives. But there are great opportunities out there for travelers who want to see the world and help out along the way.

Want to ensure that the program you’re volunteering with does more good than harm? Asking the following four questions before you sign up will help you weed through the murky waters and get the answers you need to make a decision about the best volunteer organizations for you…Read More

Nov
20

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Galapagos Islands Animals: A Beginner’s Guide

Posted by on November 20, 2016 · Leave a Comment  

Named the world’s first UNESCO Site in 1978, the Galapagos Islands is an archipelago of volcanic islands located 563 miles off the coast of Ecuador.

The landscapes of these 19 islands are remarkably diverse, from the lush green flora of the Santa Cruz highlands (where the Galapagos Tortoise roams wild) to the harsh, alien lava fields on Bartolomé. It’s also home to some of the world’s most fascinating endemic species, from ocean-feeding Marine Iguanas and Flightless Cormorants to diminutive Galapagos Penguins.

The islands are most famous for their influence on Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. He observed that finch and tortoise subspecies genetically adapted to their environment differently on various islands.

Now, 177 years after Darwin’s Voyage of the Beagle, the Galapagos Islands is the only place in the world where wildlife has virtually no fear of humans. Curious Galapagos Sea Lions swim right up to you, and birds such as the Blue-Footed Boobie nest right beside marked hiking trails.

Here’s a look at some of the many Galapagos Islands animals you can expect to see when you visit Darwin’s paradise on Discover Corps’ new Galapagos Family Vacation

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Nov
18

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Top Non Profit Organizations for Holiday Giving

Posted by on November 18, 2016 · 1 Comment  

The festive holiday season is fast approaching. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, we’re reminded of the extremely fortunate lives we in the United States lead.

For many Discover Corps travelers, the opportunity to give back to communities in developing nations is part of what makes traveling so special. But your contribution to our shared world doesn’t have to be restricted to volunteer time abroad. In fact, the holiday season is typically when families in the U.S. make the biggest impact through charitable giving.

In an effort to inspire those of you who wish to contribute to meaningful and impactful charities during the holiday season, we’ve put together a short list of organizations we admire. These are just a few of the countless charitable orgs that could really use your support.

If you’re feeling in the giving spirit this holiday season, we encourage you to read about the incredible organizations below. No matter how small your donation may be, we urge you to consider contributing to a cause that speaks to your heart and mind. If you have suggestions  for other organizations that should be on this list, please leave them for us in the comments!Read More