Cruising into the tropics after months of careful vacation planning can feel completely surreal. Soaking up all that sun and adventure in the Caribbean often reminds us of how fortunate we are to share the experience and good fortune with our loved ones. But you can also share that sense of good fortune with the local communities and turn a small portion of your next vacation into a volunteer opportunity. Volunteering on vacation is also a wonderful way to give back to the community around you whether in your own home city or while exploring the world.
Of course, a vacation is also about relaxing and having fun. That’s why a shore excursion designed to “give back” incorporates both a sense of adventure with a sense of well-being. ShoreTrip’s Give program takes just four hours of your overall vacation, but will make a big impact on the Caribbean community that you’re visiting. Travelers can choose activities like planting a garden, reading a story to local school children, or preparing lunch at a senior citizen center.
Wondering if volunteering on vacation is right for you? Here are five reasons we think that you’ll love it:
1) You’ll See Life Beyond the Port
Cruises are a fun, memorable, and convenient way to spend a well-earned vacation, but there’s more to see and do beyond the port. Go ahead and indulge in the bucket list snorkeling adventure or waterfall hike, but then choose a volunteer opportunity to bond over with your travel companions. Grown-ups and kids alike will be reminded that the surrounding community is full of vibrant people, landscape, and culture that you can actually lend a hand to.
2) You’ll Share a Bonding Experience
We all feel pretty wonderful during a vacation when we’re relaxing, sharing a tour with loved ones, or snapping selfies to share with friends back home. There’s also something incredibly satisfying about bonding together while volunteering and helping out the community you’re visiting. Bonus points that your friends, partner, or family is using teamwork and supporting each other during your volunteer opportunity.
3) You See the Impact of Volunteering in Action
Writing a check for a community in need is a powerful and worthy way to share your resources. However, actually seeing your work in action whether bringing a smile to a senior citizen’s face while serving up lunch or reading to a local child is a rewarding experience. Volunteering allows you to see how your contribution is making an impact in real time and turns that into a memorable part of your vacation.
4) You Meet New and Amazing People
It’s easy enough to meet people on your cruise whether you’re sharing a table or running into each other on the dance floor. Yet it’s a completely different, unique, and rewarding experience when meeting locals in the community who either need a helping or hand or are out there orchestrating change by helping those in need. You can learn so much from the locals when volunteering on vacation, not to mention just make new friends and meaningful connections.
5) Your Vacation Takes on a Whole New Meaning
We all need time to unwind and go on an adventure. That’s what travel is all about. Now what if it was about having an amazing time and giving back at the same time? You’re ultimately turning those few hours of giving back into a teachable moment about what it means to be a good guest in someone else’s homeland. Discover how giving back is a way to say “thank you” to the community for welcoming you and leave behind a lasting impression of gratitude.
Volunteering on vacation is just another part of the adventure where you see local life in action all while offering a helping hand. It’s also easy to do and can be arranged over just a few hours and close to your port. Get your travel companions involved in the process by choosing a volunteer opportunity together that everyone will enjoy. You’ll come home with more than just souvenirs and selfies and with a newfound sense of respect for the world. You could even discover volunteering is your new favorite shore excursion.
This article was originally published on ShoreTrips.