Giving Back: Travel And Give Something Back With Elevate Destinations

03/14/2011 07:38 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • The Huffington Post

Today, as HuffPost and AOL unite to launch the Huffington Post Media Group, we're celebrating by making a statement about the importance of giving back and helping others.

Led by HuffPost Impact -- The Huffington Post's section devoted to service, causes, and volunteering -- every HuffPost section is featuring a group or individual who is taking action and inspiring others during these challenging times. Like the rest of the world, our hearts and minds are also focused on Japan, and we've created a resource page for everyone wishing to support the emergency relief efforts.

And we're thrilled to announce that Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, is joining the Huffington Post Media Group as Strategic Adviser For Social Impact. Stone will help the company to create innovative social impact and cause-based initiatives.

AOL/Huffington Post Media Group has also issued a 30-day Service Challenge to every one of its employees worldwide, encouraging them to give their time to non-profits in their local communities and organizing volunteer events in 16 cities.

We hope you'll join us in utilizing the power of online journalism to help people get involved, work together, and bring about real change.

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With the earthquake and tsunami disaster in Japan, many are left wondering about travel as a cause, and not just recreation.

While Japan is still in too difficult of a state to recommend for responsive travel, there are other ways to give back both in the United States and internationally right now. Elevate Destinations, based in Boston, is one such foundation offering travelers a way to make a difference.

Elevate Destinations was founded by Dominique Callimanopulos in 2005 and has become a leading sustainable and philanthropic travel company. Their constant positive press coverage speaks volumes about the great work they've been doing over the years with the help of volunteer travelers looking for life-changing trips.

They currently lead trips all over the world in three main categories: Family or individual trips to struggling areas like Tanzania or Mexico. Donor travel, leading international NGOs to show how their dollar helps those on the ground. Urgent service travel, which started in 2010, with a trip last summer to Haiti and an Elevate the Gulf: An Urgent Service Journey in April that will focus on replanting seagrass and rebuilding the area's oyster reef, which not only replenishes the oyster beds but also protects the shoreline.

Callimanopoulous told HuffPost Travel that the Elevate the Gulf trip is in response to "what's happening domestically, in our own back yard."

The company donates 5% of their net costs of all their trips to non-profits who work with the local communities in the destinations.

Elevate the Gulf Trip Information: The trip is from April 24, 2011 through April 30, 2011. There is still availability, and the cost is $750, with each traveler asked to raise an additional $500 to be donated to The Ocean Foundation. Elevate Destinations also selects eco-luxury accommodations for the green-conscious traveler.

Like Elevate Destinations on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter at @elevatetravel.