The Best Places for Everything

Travel writer Peter S. Greenberg offers some warm praise for Globe Aware in his latest book, The Best Places for Everything: The Ultimate Insider’s Guide to the Greatest Experiences Around the World.

On the Chapter titled “Voluntourism”, Greenberg lists some of the great organizations that offer amazing volunteer vacation experiences. "Globe Aware offers 1-week volunteer vacations that combine hands-on experiences with cultural activities. To get the most for your travel dollar, look for destinations like Mexico, Laos and Cambodia where you can get accommodations, meals, excursions and volunteer activities for about $1200 a week. Projects vary, but in Cambodia you might teach English at a Buddhist school or get involved with a children' s center in Luang Prabang."

Greenberg, CBS News Travel Editor reporting regularly on The Early Show, its replacement CBS This Morning, and the CBS Evening News, is best known as the Travel Editor for NBC’s Today, CNBC and MSNBC from 1995 until 2009, says he wrote The Best Places for Everything because he is "constantly being asked by just about everyone to name my choices for best, and the travel categories are almost endless. After resisting for many years (partly because I didn' t think I could give it the completeness it needed,) I' ve now been able to compile the Best Places for Everything. Its based on my personal travel history of comparison and constant points of reference, relevance, and long-term value. In this book, I answer the question of "best" with a caveat: It' s not done in an arbitrary way, but by personal experience, measured by relative terms, not absolute or impossible ones.

"I was at an editor' s conference, and an Indiana newspaper' s travel editor said: " We feel that if we don' t have something nice to say about a place, we just won' t say it.' I couldn' t believe a professional journalist would make such a statement! I immediately stood up and challenged him. " If that' s your philosophy, you should resign,' I said. " You' re being irresponsible to your readers. What you are describing is a newspaper that is an advertising vehicle for the travel industry, and as such it has no credibility.' There is no room in travel journalism for quid pro quo approaching to reporting. From that moment, I' ve kept a running file of my own bad travel experiences (compiled in his book titled Don' t Go There about all sorts of places and companies he does NOT recommend).

Greenberg has visited every U.S. state multiple times and 151 of 196 countries around the world. "With each trip, my list of where not to go grows. I know I will be accused of being unfairly subjective and that I have somehow violated the spirit of travel journalism by not being a promoter of travel. Well guess what? I have never worked for the travel industry. I report on it – – good(and sometimes very good), bad, and yes, quote often ugly. Travel writing is not being part of a popularity contest. Like all other reporting, it' s about presenting' not promoting' facts that allow people to make reasonably intelligent, independent decisions about choices available to them."




Everyday Ways to Give Back

Everyday Ways to Give Back

Give Back While You’re on Vacation

Your heart is full of wanderlust, but your bank account is empty.
Travel the globe (Europe? Indonesia? Yes!) for the cost of airfare through World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. You’ll get your hands dirty picking crops or tending livestock, but you can arrange day trips, too. Lodgings aren’t luxurious, but, then again, they’re totally free.

You’re ready to try your first solo vacay.
Sixty-five percent of Globe Aware volunteers are single travelers, so you won’t feel awkward showing up alone to construct schools in Ghana or distribute wheelchairs in Cambodia. Each weeklong trip ($1,190 and up) offers three to five cultural excursions, too.

You don’t consider it a vacation unless there’s a spa nearby.

Why forgo luxury? At the Ritz-Carlton, call the concierge a few days ahead of your trip to ask about devoting a day to volunteering. Visitors to Washington, D.C., can head to the DC Central Kitchen and help feed the homeless; travelers in Shanghai can pitch in at a local school.

You’re all about hiking somewhere beautiful.

Hit the trails with the Sierra Club at the Virgin Islands National Park on St. John ($1,125). You’ll hike and snorkel to your heart’s content for seven days, while also helping to maintain walking paths and clear beaches for turtle nesting. Trailblazing experience isn’t required, but good boots and sunscreen are!

You’re into mingling with the locals.
Grab a mosquito net and head to Guatemala for nine days with Habitat for Humanity ($1,310 to $1,450). You’ll build houses and take your Spanish beyond “Una cerveza, por favor.” Some trips are BYOSB (bring your own sleeping bag), so be ready to rough it.

The beach is calling your name.
You can flaunt your new bikini and save the dolphins on an eight-day trip to Greece with Earthwatch ($2,575). You’ll board a research vessel to track dolphin pods. The early outings mean time later for the beach and a little ouzo. ' Amanda Woerner