Got room for one of these in your backpack?
There is an awesome way to put a bit of extra space in your luggage to use on your next trip. If you haven't heard of these worthy organizations (thanks for the tip BootsnAll!) check them out: Pack for a Purpose or Stuff your Rucksack / They will give you a list of specific items that are much needed in developing nations, like school supplies, medicine or toys, and you can deliver them to a community, knowing that your time and effort are having a direct impact.
If you've participated in an initiative like this drop me a line, I'd love to add a personal account to this post.
And as a side note, talk about packing efficiently: An ex-coworker of mine, Claire Ward, is doing her journalism masters documentary on a really cool topic—ColaLife an organization that takes advantages of Coca Cola's distribution routes to reach remote communities with supplies. They've developed modestly-sized medical kits that can be stuffed into the empty spaces coke bottle leave in their crates, and thus can be distributed anywhere Coke goes. Follow her journey here.