As Americans we take the least amount of vacation time compared to people in other countries, averaging only 10 days off from work. Traditionally, vacations are a way to get a reprieve from the daily grind of taking care of our homes as well as a way to relax, enjoy some free leisure time and get away from the anxiety of work.
Summer Volunteer Programs
I’ve written previously of the benefits of vacationing and traveling solo. Another interesting concept is you’ll find that many people are now opting to take a work “volunteer vacation.”
What Are Volunteer Vacations?
The gist of a volunteer vacation is that you get to pay for taking one, while at the same time you’ll be working. Are you confused? You’re probably asking yourself, why work during your much-needed travel vacation? Read on!
Working vacations are referred to as “Voluntourism,” which is a way to help people who are less fortunate than you are. You can travel to tornado and flood affected areas in the United States, tsunami stricken regions in Asia, earthquake areas in Italy to help rebuild homes. You can travel to Third World areas perhaps help to teach English, because you can.
Voluntary vacations provide no monetary gains, but allow you to contribute positively to humanity. Your wise investments over the years have allowed you to retire and kick back, enjoy peaceful days while smelling the roses. Because you’ve been working more than half your life, after awhile you’ll be bored beyond belief and your body and mind aren’t used to all this activity.
Once in awhile use your travel money that’s been set aside to go on a Volunteer Vacation. While taking in the sites at exotic travel destinations such as Rio, London, Paris or Lake Lucerne in Switzerland are great ideas, but if you’re looking for a more fulfilling meaning in life, try spending your next holiday fixing up homes devastated by hurricanes in the Caribbean.
Yes, you’re spending thousands of hard-earned dollars while volunteering in a short window of time and may ask how are you really helping. You may question whether donating an equal sum of money would be more beneficial rather than spending it on travel costs, food, lodging, airfare and personal item incidentals. It’s a fair question – that money can go far in paying skilled people such as teachers, tradesmen and carpenters.
You are correct in your assertion – the money you spend on your humanitarian volunteer vacation might actually feed an entire families in the poorest of countries. How frequently do you donate to these charities? Do you think you’d donate again? Maybe yes, maybe no. But once you actually experience the satisfaction in personally helping others, your views will change. Chances are good that you’ll probably become a regular vacation-volunteer as well as an advocate for charitable voluntourism. At a minimum, you will most likely continue to support your favorite charities through regular monetary contributions.
Are you convinced yet?
Tips to help you get involved with volunteer vacation organizers
To get started, do your research as if you were planning a typical vacation: How much a volunteer vacation will cost; what the accommodations will be like and; what else is included or not. It goes without saying that not only will you be working, you’ll also be shouldering all the expenses.
Question how much the organization will take as a cut for coordinating your trip and what proportion will be designated toward the project they’re hosting. Also, make certain that the project is established and has a good reputation that will likely be continued.
Photo Credit: Stockxpert: vicnt
Republished from TypeAMom.com, Cindi Matthews, Editor, 50-Something Moms