“It doesn’t take much to do good,” claims Joe Staiano, founder of Seattle-based Meaningful Trip. He should know.
At home, Staiano devotes his time to several non-profit organizations: ICO (Inner City Outings) through the Sierra Club, IRC (the International Rescue Committee) and Camp Erin, founded by All-Star major league baseball pitcher, Jaime Moyer and his wife Karen, for children grieving the death of someone close to them.
For 10 years Staiano coordinated overseas tours for REI Adventures to such dream destinations as Ecuador/the Galapagos Islands, Turkey and India. He then spent the next 7 years working in community-based tourism and volunteering his expertise in Africa and Southeast Asia.
Moved to make a difference in the lives of the people he met beyond his own volunteer efforts, Staiano started Meaningful Trip with the goal of giving back to the local communities. Volunteer tourism is a worthy goal, he recognizes, and “the travel and tourism industry can do even more,” starting with his own company.
First, in addition to ensuring the travel expertise of his global partners, Staiano goes further by asking tough questions, such as: “How many women are on your staff?” What are your environmental values?” “What do you do to support your community?”
Second, a portion of each client’s fees, typically 5 – 10%, is donated to women’s empowerment, health, education, and poverty alleviation. His company also supports hunger and anti-trafficking programs in the U.S.
The third leg of Meaningful Trip’s “Triple Give” giving mechanism extends to Staiano’s dream of “building a community that cares” when clients return from their travels. Through meaningful dinner parties and thought-provoking conversations, Staiano encourages people to explore actions that make a difference in their local communities.
“Travel with an open heart and open mind. Meaningful travel and you can change the world,” says Staiano.
For more information on responsible travel and all of Meaningful Trip’s itineraries, including a Founder’s trek in Nepal in November, click : http://www.MeaningfulTrip.com or contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
*All photos: Copyright Joe Staiano
How are you making a difference in your travels or in your own communities, Wanderboomers? Share your experiences with us here.