Whether you donate time, blood or money, volunteering feels good (after the "ouch" for blood donors). Now helping others can help you snag some travel deals and discounts too.
VolunteerIDcard was launched in 2009 to reward card-carrying volunteers with travel and shopping discounts, including:
— Special humanitarian and volunteer airfares that help volunteers reach areas where natural disasters have struck, such as Haiti. Additional proof of volunteer status is often requested (480-361-1551, tinyurl.com/22pg6cy.
— 10 percent discount on Greyhound bus tickets in the U.S. and Australia
— 10 percent discount on Amtrak tickets
— $20 discount on Eurail Backpacker rates for Red Service on the Great Southern Railway for train travel throughout Australia (gsr.com.au). The rate saves travelers 50 percent off the regular adult Red Service fare.
— Accommodation discounts ranging from 10 to 50 percent at Super 8, Days Inn, Wyndham Hotels (20 percent off the best available rate) and thousands of hostels worldwide.
Founder Lisa Vigorito said almost 90 percent of members receive their cards directly from their volunteer organizations. Those who don't can apply for one, though VolunteerIDcard checks for validity of the volunteer organization.
Vigorito said the company continually seeks additional travel and shopping benefits, emphasizing fair trade and eco-friendly retailers.
The VolunteerIDcard costs $25 for an individual card without photo or $29.99 with a photo, and it's good for one year. Renewal of the photo VolunteerIDcard using the same photo costs $25. 800-255-7000, volunteeridcard.com.
Then there's the ultimate: For volunteers who can donate up to 27 months, the Peace Corps is one of the best volunteer travel options.