Solo Travel 2018: Get in Touch With Your Do-Good Side

Cure your wanderlust while giving back.

Photograph courtesy of Journey

You know how anytime you close the guidebook and step off the tourist path — like, say, when you bike through a town instead of just Uber-ing your way around — you see a place in a whole new way? A trip with Journey, a nascent next-gen company that organizes weekish-long volunteer vacays, is like that, but times 10. When you land in your magical destination (Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Guatemala), you’ll be thrown into two days of off-the-grid charitable work — maybe refurbishing a village school, or building transitional housing for a displaced family — working side by side with not just your 20-plus fellow Journeyers, but also the people you’re actually helping. Expect lots of hugs, and maybe some tears, at the end. (Seriously, when’s the last time you hugged someone you met on a trip?)

With your exhausted body and newly cleaned soul, you’re off to the second part of your adventure as you check into either a wellness center or a boutique-y hotel and spend a little Eat, Pray, Love time. You’ll join workshops, hike with new friends, yoga it up, or grab your Kindle and head to the beach. The accommodations can be crunchy at times — “not luxe, but not full backpacker,” says co-founder Amy Merrill, who adds that this is part of what people love — but the food is local, your group is made up of like-minded do-gooders, and the experience is 100 percent authentic.

Just like back at summer camp, expect to feel all kumbaya at the end. These trips are “intended to take someone through a personal growth experience and also make some new best friends,” says Merrill. So yeah, on second thought, you might want to burn that guidebook altogether.

Book It!
The Group: Journey
Destinations: North and South America
Rates: Start at $1,500, airfare not included

» See Also: Five Ways to Get Away From Philly This Spring, No Companion Required

Published as “Me, Myself And I: Get in Touch With Your Do-Good Side” in the March 2018 issue of Philadelphia magazine.