Why not make a difference? Last year I visited a luxury resort in Jamaica as part of a group there for a meeting. Prior to going, I discovered that I could bring school supplies to help a local school that the resort was sponsoring. What a nice idea! I was glad to contribute and our group collected quite a nice stash of supplies for the local kids. When we travel, we can indeed help others. Depending on the destination and the need, there are many ways to do this. Today, I will cover three, followed by a special offer from a yachting line, SeaDream Yacht Club who has a Patron’s Support Program. Look for the details below.
1. SUPPORT A LOCAL ORGANIZATION THROUGH YOUR RESORT. I recently visited Sandals Whitehouse, a luxury resort in Jamaica. This resort is built along a beautiful beach in the midst of a primarily poverty-stricken area. Resort management gives training to and hires locals to give them employment they would not otherwise have, thereby improving their quality of life. They also reach out into the community through The Sandals Foundation with donations to enable and support local schools. They provide a list of school supplies that guests may bring to donate to the school. They also offer opportunities to their guests to visit these schools, volunteer for an afternoon to read to children, or to do whatever needs done. Many resorts have a similar program, we mention Sandals because we are familiar with it.
2. BUY HANDMADE CRAFTS FROM LOCALS. You contribute to the well-being of locals when you purchase the handmade items from them. For example, in Mexico, I had the choice to purchase small woven bracelets made by local women or visit a typical touristy gift shop. By purchasing the bracelets, I could give some happiness to several women in the area and contribute to their income. Support the local artists, wood carvers, weavers etc. with at least some small purchase. A purchase is a business transaction and gives people some pride in their work, as well as a few dollars in their pocket.
3. PARTICIPATE IN VOLUNTEER TRAVEL. What is volunteer travel? Most of us have heard the term. Basically, it’s travel where you give something back to the local community you are visiting. You learn about another culture, another country. You give of your time, skills and knowledge, which benefits others and helps your heart grow a few sizes – remember the Grinch?? There was a cruise line called Fathom that I sailed to Cuba on in May 2016 that incorporated hands-on volunteer opportunities into its weekly schedule in the Dominican Republic which the line visited on alternative weeks to Cuba. Options included teaching English, pouring cement floors into local homes, assisting locals in a chocolate factory and re-forestation by planting trees…what a great way to enjoy a new place and make a difference at the same time! Although Fathom has been absorbed into the Carnival Corporation brand, Carnival Cruise Line and other subsidiaries of Carnival Corporation still provide this opportunity to various local communities in the Caribbean. Getaway Dreams Come True Travel will be happy to assist you in finding the appropriate volunteerism project for you.
There are many reasons to volunteer while you’re traveling and there are literally thousands of charities and organizations that look for help from passing travelers. For example, Dominica which was severely damaged by hurricane Maria in 2017, has received assistance from adventure travelers who assist in clearing trails in the National Park, rebuilding structures damaged there and other work needed to help the community; more assistance is needed should you wish to help them. Also, in Hawaii, the Maui Humane Society has the “Helping Paws” program where visitors can come spend time with the animals. Some, who are staying on Maui for a longer time, can actually “temporarily adopt” a dog or cat for their whole stay. Most end up taking them home with them at the end… Where can you find out more? Do a search on “volunteer travel”, and many opportunities will appear. Churches also offer mission trips and encourage members to participate as a group, usually in some specific area such as building a school.
SEADREAM YACHT CLUB’s PATRON’S SUPPORT PROGRAM
This Yachting “cruise” line extends a special 5% savings on select 2019 Caribbean sailings to travel agency supporters and donors. For every booking that originates from our organization as one of their charity partners, SeaDream will donate 5% of the yacht patron’s fare to sail on the selected itinerary back to our organization for future donation to the charity of choice. Six of SeaDream’s sailings eligible for this participation on one of their two identical ships are the following itineraries:
St. Thomas – San Juan on November 9-16, 2019; San Juan – St. Thomas November 16-23, 2019; Marigot, St. Lucia – San Juan November 23-30, 2019; San Juan – St. Thomas November 30 – December 7, 2019; St. Thomas – St. Thomas December 15-21, 2019; and San Juan – St. Thomas December 14-21, 2019. Please call 724.752.2655 for additional details.
The above offer is for new bookings only and is not combinable with most other promotions. 5% donation is calculated on the voyage fare and will be sent to the charity after voyage is completed.
We may not have a lot of time to give, but maybe if we each look for some small opportunity, we can all make a difference. The next time you take a vacation, consider asking what you can do to help. Getaway Dreams Come True Travel Agency is happy to assist you in learning about these opportunities as you plan your vacations.
You may wish to view other blog posts as follows:
My Fathom People-to-People Cuba Cruise Review
Seasonal Cruising By Global Location
Great Reasons to Cruise Tropical Areas in January & February
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