Travel benefits each of us personally in so many ways. It sparks our curiosity, teaches us new things, relaxes our minds, builds confidence and creativity – the positivity list here is lengthy.
While vacations are indeed a time of self-indulgence, can vacation also do other kinds of “good”? Help others, help animals, help our environment?
Of course, the answer here is a resounding YES!
And I might add, aren’t these great demonstrations of doing practical good in the world that we should be passing along to our children? Absolutely!
In general, vacationers tend to focus on amenities. We have been conditioned to think this way as consumers. Admittedly as a travel planner this often frustrates me. Clients will ask questions like “which ship has the biggest waterslide” or “How many restaurants does this new resort offer”. Clients like to fill their vacation world with “things” and not “feelings”.
Personally, I think the best feeling in the world comes when you know you have helped someone or done something good. Many people think good deeds much be grand gestures. In fact, often the smallest actions can bring mighty rewards.
The Covid lockdown forced all of us to become far more introspective. As the world re-opens, I am seeing a shift in travel requests. People are grateful to just “get out of the house”. They don’t need to stay at the newest badass hotel.
They are beginning to focus more on togetherness and “finding someplace good where we can all be together”.
Families are getting back to nature – hiking, biking, horseback riding and visiting National Parks. These types of experiences help kids learn to appreciate our environment. It may not sound like a big deal, but it helps kids to see for themselves the importance of recycle, re-purpose and reuse lessons they learn at home and in school.
Crowded “must-see” tourist spots have become less appealing thanks to social distancing. This certainly helps alleviate over tourism in treasured historical areas like Venice, Machu Picchu, and the Great Wall of China.
Avoiding crowded destinations means families are willing to venture “off the beaten track” and explore local communities that offer amazing experiences. Often these travel experiences are far more enchanting than the popularized tourist traps. Creating the right kind of authentic experiences in these “out of the way places”, means local tourist dollars stay in these small communities and truly help local people. Now suddenly parents in that community can afford to send their kids to school and life is better. Travel experiences like these mean a win-win for both visiting and local families. This is travel for good.
Immersive experience done with vetted, local guides and accommodations ensures vacation spending stays in local communities. Maybe your family would enjoy your entire trip to be like this. Maybe you only want to spend a day or two sightseeing this way. Perhaps you are looking to organize a group of do-good travelers from your school or church, we can do that. Just know, any and every little bit helps.
One of the best ways to engage children in travel experiences happens when they can connect with animals. Most kids have an instant affinity and curiosity when they can get up close and learn more about creatures that they do not get to see every day. The problem is there are so many tourist attractions around the world that exploit animals. Travel for good means working with conservationists and handlers that can inspire children to become wildlife advocates while protecting animals.
Sure, kids love theme park rides and knowing the intricate details of every hotel and cruise ship is part of my job. That said, creating inspiring “travel for good” experiences for families, is what truly excites me as a travel advisor.
Covid has forced us all to take a step back and now reset for the future. While the phone silent and there were no emails to answer, it gave our team plenty of time to think. One of our decisions was a change in our messaging. Sure, we have 20 years of detailed “amenity” experience and can do all the fun trips. Moving forward, we plan to focus a bit more on “travel for good” and the great feeling that comes from truly “win-win” travel experiences.
If you’re looking for a new type of vacation experience, we’d be thrilled to help create it for your family.
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