Volunteer vacations (voluntours) offer families an opportunity to travel and make a difference through service work. Families should consider where they would like to help, the type of project they want to participate in, and how much time they have available.
A volunteer vacation can be extremely rewarding – not just for your family but for the people you are servicing as well. If you have been thinking about one of these types of trips there are some things you should consider first. When traveling with kids it is important to be realistic about what your family group is capable of achieving.
Although the opportunities to volunteer on vacation are endless, it is a good idea to start small and grow big. For example, consider taking part in a humanitarian cruise vacation like Cruise4Haiti which will balance volunteering with a 7-day fundraiser cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas. Start small and then build to the bigger trips like: Excavating Stone Tools in Cortez, Colorado, Collecting butterflies in Remote Amazonia in the Huaorani Reserve in Ecuador, or bottle-feeding orphaned lion cubs in Victoria Falls, Zambia. To get more ideas about ways to volunteer, consider getting the book The 100 Best Volunteer Vacations to Enrich Your Life by Pam Grout.
The non-profit organization, Together For Good offers the following tips for creating a volunteer vacation. First of all, families should discover what they want to achieve before selecting and organization to help. Next families should pay attention to the time of year they plan to visit. Dropping off supplies can usually be accommodated year-round.
Contact the organization offering your volunteer vacation to check availability. Be prepared to pay for your trip, but don’t pay to get information. Then check references, trip testimonies, and ask to interview past participants.
Here are some handy links to get started on learning more about voluntourism:
- The Ritz-Carlton Give Back Getaways® voluntourism program offers our guests an exceptional opportunity to combine volunteer work with travel and give back to the community in a way that is meaningful to them and to the lives of others.
- Together For Good: A non-profit organization created to help traveling individuals make a difference in the lives of others.
- Travelocity: Travel For Good offers voluntours
- United Planet: Fostering Cross-Cultural Understanding Locally, Online and Globally.