The remarkable wildlife and stunning landscapes of Australia need our help. Right now, this diverse, rugged continent is battling rampant bushfires. The impact is shocking as it is devastating. Australia is close to our hearts as it’s been a destination for our teen travel programs for 15 years. We’ve explored its wild Outback, volunteered to care for its koalas and snorkeled in its Great Barrier Reef—it’s where we’ve made years of priceless memories with friends. 

When the news of Australia’s plight reached us at TFT, we wanted to know how to help. Turns out, there are a TON of ways to contribute to the Australian wildfire relief efforts. All the options can be a little overwhelming and the last thing we want is for help to be delayed by decision paralysis. So we’ve made it a little easier for you to get in touch with the right organizations. To get help to Australia faster. 

Here are three ways you can help the Australian wildfire relief efforts now. 

How to help wildlife 

Many TFT travelers join us on our journeys to Australia for their love of animals. If you travel to Australia, it’s likely you’ll have the opportunity to see wildlife that you can’t see anywhere else in the world. For this reason alone, Australia’s wildlife is in particular need of donations. Right now, WIRES (Wildlife Information Rescue and Education Service Inc.) is particularly worried about the flying-fox and the koala. Donate to WIRES to help their volunteers with medical supplies, treatment, food, and rehabilitation. 

Wildlife seen on teen travel Australia and New Zealand tour

How to help Aussies 

One of the best ways you can help your friends-down-under is to travel to their country. Yup, you read that right! Tourism is one of the most impactful ways to support Australia’s infrastructure and its people through this crisis. 

In fact, Phillipa Harrison, the managing director of Tourism Australia, the country’s tourism agency, recently released a statement saying, “Whilst bushfires continue to impact parts of Australia, many areas are unaffected and most tourism businesses are still open. It is more important than ever that we rally around our communities and the tourism sector who may have been impacted.”

High school students taking pictures in front of the Sydney Opera House on a summer teen tour to Australia.

Don’t forget, Australia is a huge country! The island nation is, in fact, as large as the continental United States. For example, traveling from Sydney to Perth (East Coast to West Coast) is about the same as traveling from New York to Los Angeles. So, many parts of this island country have been unaffected by the current wildfires and are safe for travelers. 

We believe TFT travelers can make a difference. That’s why we’re pledging a portion of tuition from our Australia teen travel programs to help the wildfire relief efforts. When you register to travel with TFT to Australia in summer 2020, you’ll contribute to Australia’s fight against this natural disaster in more than one way. First, as a traveler, you’ll support the country’s economy. Second, you’ll have the opportunity to join impactful service projects in their communities. Finally, with a direct donation through Travel For Teens. 

A student scuba dives with a sea turtle on their teen tour of Hawaii and Australia.

How to help firefighters

The area most affected by the bushfires is New South Wales (NSW). Although New South Wales is home to Sydney, the fires haven’t affected Australia’s beloved metropolitan center. Firefighting brigades are working tirelessly to combat the fires almost exclusively in the rural areas of NSW. Donations to the NSW Rural Fire Service will go toward emergency firefighter efforts and the firefighters’ families.

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