2. Take a conservation vacation
You'll experience one-of-a-kind holidays on service trips through organizations that arrange for travelers to work while they play. Through these popular trips — the Sierra Club National Outings program runs about 90 annual national level service trips totaling 27,000 work hours — you can enjoy the great outdoors and care for it at the same time, whether you're repairing a storm-damaged hiking trail or clearing invasive plants from woodland.
Sometimes the jobs are downright exotic: Earthwatch travelers might band penguins in Antarctica or tag endangered sea turtles in the Pacific. Best of all, these trips are great social opportunities, like adult summer camp.
Time: One day to one week.
Consider this: Cost typically doesn't include travel between home and site and varies greatly: $500 to $900 for most Sierra Club service trips, $500 to $5,000 for Earthwatch. Before booking, ask about accommodations and the physical requirements of the work you'll be doing.
Gear: Check with the trip organizer.
Contact: The dozens of groups that offer conservation trips.
Sierra Club, 415-977-5500
Earthwatch Institute, 800-776-0188
Take Pride in America, 202-208-5848