Family Travel: Voluntourism: What Is It & Is It For Us?
We have all heard about voluntourism, a travel trend that began in the early 2000’s, but what exactly is voluntourism beyond traveling to another community and volunteering?
What is Voluntourism?
Voluntourism is the term for volunteering while on vacation or traveling to a specific location to volunteer for a period of time. It can take many shapes such as building homes in developing communities, teaching English (or your native language), planting/creating community gardens, garbage clean-up, helping physically bring water, technology or new, sustainable food sources to the underprivileged; working with endangered animals… the list of help needed throughout our world is endless.
Usually, a voluntourist will spend a minimum of 2+ weeks volunteering, using their vacation time, retirement or gap year. I have even met people who have used part of their maternity leave to voluntour – pretty amazing right?!
It doesn’t matter what walk of life you are on – university age, kids in tow or retired, voluntourism can be a very wonderful way to use that vacation time.
What are the Benefits to Voluntourism?
There are so many benefits to voluntourism, I’m not even sure where to start!
- Gaining a true understanding of how we all co-exist in this world. We all need each other and each one of us has countless gifts and blessings to offer the other. Voluntourism really highlights this lesson by allowing us to share, help and grow together in a unique way.
- Allows for more people to spread kindness. The knowledge and abilities that we possess are often taken for granted yet are much needed around the world. Taking time out of our lives to spread kindness by helping others in need puts kindness and love out into the world, making it a better place for all. Voluntourism gives everybody, especially those who can’t give years of their lives, the opportunity to do their part, in their way.
- Will make this world a more sustainable place for the future. Voluntourism allows for anybody who would like to address and fix a problem someone else is experiencing to do so. Solving each other’s problems, helping each other evolve, bringing a smile and hope to those who have none, that is the true heart of voluntourism.
- Invaluable learning experiences. Voluntourism is a great way to really immerse in the local culture of your destination choice, while giving them something only you can. It opens the door to new friendships, memories and feelings of accomplishment that will last you a lifetime. One will learn the foods, the stories, the celebrations and lifestyles best by helping to better that community in some way with voluntourism.
If you are up for it, voluntourism can be a win-win all around!
Is Voluntourism For Us?
I’m just going to be honest here and say voluntourism is not for everyone, but everyone can do something to spread kindness in their own way.
The first step to knowing if it is for you, and your family, is to think about your vacation time. Do you envision luxury and relaxation?
If yes, than a full voluntourism trip is probably not for you. Instead consider stopping into a shop and paying someone’s layaway while on vacation to surprise someone local; volunteer to read a book at a local elementary school or do a small presentation on your hometown at a local school, library or church; or bring a bag and some gloves with you and collect garbage one afternoon. Use your imagination and do something to give back while on holiday.
If no, and you love the value of spending a hard days work creating change for others than start planning your next voluntourism holiday! Thanks to google, you can simply search under your destination, plus the need you would like to fill and add the word voluntourism and loads of different options will pop up.
Do a bit of research and find the right trip for you (be careful of the disingenuous people out there, sadly there are a few), or create your own! 😉
It will be something you remember happily for the rest of your life!
What do you love about voluntourism?
Malibu Mama Loves Xxx