PRONUNCIATION: (vah-luhn-TOOR-i-zuhm)

MEANING: noun: Tourism in which travelers do volunteer work.

ETYMOLOGY: A blend of volunteer + tourism. Earliest documented use: 1991.

NOTES: Many years ago, fresh out of college, I was traveling for a job interview and started chatting with an old man sitting next to me on the train. Somehow the discussion went to volunteer work and when I claimed that sometimes I do selfless work, he said, “Well, son, everything I do is for myself.” Years later, I realized the truth of his words.

While voluntourism may be well-intentioned, it may not always be the best way to help. See here and here, for example. Consider volunteering with specialized organizations such as Doctors Without Borders, Translators without Borders, Engineers Without Borders, etc. or donating to them.

VOLU-TOURISM - traveling in very large groups to get reduced rates

VIOLUNTOURISM - ...stirring up trouble everywhere they go

EVOLUNTOURISM - visiting the Galapagos to see the development of species