What better way to teach your family about giving of you time and energy than with family volunteer vacations. Read on for seven great reasons why you need to!
When it comes time to plan a vacation with your family, you have a lot of options. You can take your family on a cruise.
You can take them to Disneyland. You can even take them to explore the pyramids in Egypt.
You’ll have fun, create some memories, and then go back to your lives. But you can also take your family on a volunteer vacation.
Family volunteer vacations are a fairly new phenomenon. It’s a short-term vacation with a service component added to it.
No experience is needed and most programs take anyone eight years and older. Here are seven reasons why you should consider taking a volunteer vacation with your family.
1. The Gift of Gratitude
Family volunteer vacations remind all of us how much we really have in our lives. It’s a great opportunity for us to appreciate all the gifts and blessings we have.
You’ll end up somewhere far from your normal lives. Which means your whole family gets to see and experience life in an area where people aren’t as lucky.
Your whole family will be away from the trap of overconsumption. Instead, you’ll witness how the majority of the world really lives.
Without 24-hours of running water, electricity, and cell phones. Most people don’t have overstocked refrigerators or guest bedrooms.
It’s an eye-opening experience that no documentary, textbook, or speech can ever substitute.
Your kids can make new friends with other children whose lives aren’t ruled by whatever the Kardashians are doing.
2. You Leave a Positive Footprint Behind
Family volunteer vacations help you leave a positive impression behind. Instead of tired, bored kids who stared at their iPads the entire trip, you all will have gained something of value.
But you’ll also leave the locals with a better future. And it’s often not the grand gestures that mean the most.
Teaching English to local women even for a few weeks can make a huge difference. Your kids leaving smiles on the faces of other little children will mean more and make more of an impact than anything you can buy at a hotel gift shop ever could.
3. Family Volunteer Vacations Are A Tax Break
While not the most humble or noble of reasons to take your family on a volunteer vacation, a tax break still is a huge positive.
Many volunteer vacations are tax deductible. If you want to deduct the trip from your taxes make sure you travel with a registered charitable organization.
The main reason for your trip must be to do volunteer work. After that, you can deduct most or all of the expenses the trip incurs.
That can mean a savings of thousands of dollars to a family.
4. Immerse Yourselves in the Real Culture
Many times, a vacation to a new place means you see all the touristy sites. Which means you really don’t get a good idea of how the locals really live.
Volunteering abroad provides your family with an opportunity to immerse yourselves in the true culture of wherever you’re visiting.
You’ll actually get out and meet the locals. You’ll get the opportunity to work alongside them and talk to them.
As you work and interact with them on a daily basis, you’ll get an understanding of their cultural nuances. You’ll have a deeper understanding of their culture.
As you get to know them better, the locals may invite you to private dinners, family gatherings, and festivals that are rarely part of typical vacations.
5. Build Your Resume’s
Most vacations don’t do much to build up a resume. But family volunteer vacations are something you can use to help further your career.
Companies will love that you give back to others and have experienced other cultures.
Teens can use it to add value to their college applications. Your kids an draw references from their experiences volunteering abroad.
They can share how seeing how people live in different parts of the world has affected them and changed their outlook. It provides them with experiences that are relevant to class discussions, interviews, and even term papers.
You’ll also find your kid’s confidence and social skills increase as a result of a volunteer vacation.
6. Strengthen Your Family’s Bonds
Families take vacations to strengthen their bonds with one another and spend some quality time together.
But when a family spends their time together doing service projects while traveling, it builds a sense of teamwork.
Everyone from kids to grandparents can work alongside one another to build homes in villages and sow seeds at community farms. They can take care of animals at sanctuaries or play sports while engaging with street kids.
It’s a great way to spend time together while doing something good for the planet as a whole.
7. Learn to Be Leaders
Family volunteer vacations create opportunities for individuals to step up and become a leader rather than a follower.
You and your family will learn greater tolerance and understanding towards people from different and diverse backgrounds. You’ll be surrounded by people living different lifestyles and with varying income levels.
It’s an opportunity to break down stereotypes and become responsible, caring leaders.
According to studies, kids who volunteer are less likely to use drugs or become a teenage parent. They are also more likely to get involved with community service and take on other leadership roles as adults.
There are very few downsides to volunteering on your family vacation. Instead, you’ll open your family up to new and exciting experiences that no amount of money can buy.
Change Your Life
Volunteering, whether you choose to do it abroad or in your own backyard helps create bonds that can last a lifetime.
It also leaves you with a feeling of well being. But there are other ways to help you feel good and change your life for the better.
Another part of healthy living is making smart decisions about what you eat. Check out our favorite recipes your whole family will enjoy.
Our health and well-being articles can help you make smarter choices for you and your family.