While a beach vacation can be nice, the growing trend of “voluntourism” can offer a different kind of travel experience.

Kelly Galaski, partnership co-ordinator for Planeterra, a non-profit group that is heavily involved in connecting travellers with volunteer opportunities, said over the last few years, voluntourism has grown.

“People are looking for more meaningful ways to sort of give back to society,” said Galaski.

“One of the other things is the search for more authentic travel and by volunteering and living in a community, you really get an amazing experience.”

In the last year, Carlie Reidlinger, 22, has volunteered in both Ecuador and Tanzania and said that her experience was life-changing.

“It’s kind of a wonderful feeling getting to connect with someone in that sort of way despite the fact that there might be cultural barriers,” she said.

While her experiences in both countries were drastically different from one another, there was one commonality.

“I feel like now that I’ve had that experience, I’m kind of hooked on and drawn to that connection with people.”