So I just feel as though I'm being asked to fund a life choice / trip of a lifetime for them.
But aren't you really doing the same thing for a person that works for a charity/non-profit?
I don't think it's the same thing at all. Someone who works for a charity in Africa is part of an organization that has (we hope) a plan, is responsible for using its funds appropriately, and usually benefits from "economy of scale". It's a lot more cost-effective for a charitable organization to buy containerloads of medicines directly from the manufacturer, and send it to people they know can use it, than it is for someone to show up with a suitcase of stuff they pulled off a drugstore shelf, and spent seveal thousand dollars to take to Africa, not even knowing who to give it to or whether something else is in greater demand.
And a quote to help support my view: If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
It's not compassion to do things for your own satisfaction, disregarding whether it's any practical use to anyone else.
In the case above, if they can deliver 100 boxes of medicine by donating the money to a legitimate aid organization, but only one box if they take it there directly, this is not really charity. It's "we want to go to Africa again, and we've got space for some stuff that might be useful to someone there." It's not a bad
thing to do, but it's not something they should be fundraising for, when most of the money is going to their travel costs, not the actual aid they're giving.