Nov
5

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5 Reasons Organized Tours Are Perfect for Multi-Generational Family Vacations

Posted by on November 5, 2018 · Leave a Comment  

Is your family itching to pack their suitcases and beeline to the airport? If so, you’re certainly not alone. Family travel is taking off globally and this trend is only expected to increase.

According to GlobalData, family travel is expected to rise by nearly 25% to 376 million trips annually by 2022. This rapid growth includes a rise in multi-generational family vacations, which presents an important question to consider – What’s the best way for my entire family to travel?

Countless options are available, but organized tours may offer the best opportunity for your family to share a more meaningful overall experience. Here’s 5 reasons organized tours are perfect for multi-generational family vacations:

1. Carefully selected safe and comfortable environments

Safety first! It’s a simple and timeless phrase, but your family’s vacation should begin and end with this principle. When traveling abroad to a new country, it’s extremely important to have a feel for what to expect in your new environment. Tapping into the knowledge of an experienced travel company can make all the difference. Traveling this way ensures your vacation is full of welcoming locals and locales.

Extra Note: Selecting a family-friendly company for your tour is also crucial to remember.  It’s difficult to create itineraries with the right amount of free time, activities, and variety that a multi-generational vacation needs, and unfortunately, this isn’t something all tour companies have made a priority. In fact, it’s easy to fall into the 20-something backpacking crowd if you’re not careful when booking organized travel (request a catalog from Discover Corps to learn more about how we prioritize comfort and safety for the multi-generational family vacation).

The view from the room on Discover Corps’ Croatia: Dolphins & Islands Expedition.

2. Stress-reducing plans

Oftentimes half the battle while on vacation is deciding what to do. Getting a half dozen or so family members on the same page can leave anyone exhausted. Fortunately, your multi-generational family vacation can bypass this common pitfall by choosing to vacation with an organized tour.

Having your family activities pre-planned months before your flight may not sound like a big perk, but leaving the plans to someone else frees you up to relax, connect and make memories together. Let a seasoned travel company take care of logistics, transportation and finding the best local cuisine.

3. Flexible options for every family member (of any age)

Today, more than ever, travelers have unique needs. As any parent will attest, finding activities the whole family will enjoy is no easy task. Conveniently, organized tours offer the great benefit of thoroughly vetted, yet still authentic experiences. Whether it’s rafting in Costa Rica or being on safari in Kenya these vacations offer something for everyone. Having this flexibility is key.

A perfect example is this Family Volunteer Adventure in Costa Rica. Here, families have the option of an exciting morning on the rapids of the Rio Savegre or exploring the world-famous Manuel Antonio National Park to encounter monkeys, sloths and more. This means mom can take on the white-knuckle river ride with the kids, while dad joins the grandparents on the tropical tour!

Discover Corps guide Esther “Mama” Simba on our Tanzania: Safari & Service adventure.

4. Expert local guides

Esther “Mama” Simba, Discover Corps guide on our Tanzania: Safari & Service trip.

How great is the feeling of immediately belonging to a community? With the right organized tour, a guide is your ticket to people and sights that could never be experienced if traveling otherwise. Esther Simba “Mama Simba”, a local guide for Discover Corps in Tanzania, says it best when sharing about the experience you’ll have on her tour. ”…some of the travelers that joined [the tour] have never been in a  village setting. You’ll find the most kind, loving and caring people in Tanzania.” You can check out her full video here.

Many times it takes a few days to feel connected in a new location, but with a guide from the community, you’re instantly immersed in a rich new culture. Suddenly, your family goes from talking about the activities they witnessed to describing the adventure the entire group experienced.

 

5. Connect with like-minded families

The Discover Corps group on our Belize: Wildlife Volunteer Adventure trip!

In one form or the other, we all seek connection while traveling. This can mean connecting with a place, a people group, or even a certain delicious food. One frequently overlooked benefit of organized tours, however, are the connections made with other families on your same tour. These relationships are formed through exciting shared experiences and last far beyond the end of your family vacation.  

Organized tours present an excellent chance for families to come together. It’s a special sight when your 10-year-old is playing at the beach with other kids their age, your teenager is sharing her love of dolphins with new friends, and you and your parents can enjoy a nice drink with a couple that sees the world in much the same way as you.

Discover Corps fosters this type of environment with small family-friendly groups. A 16-person maximum means you can enjoy your trip in the company of others, but also sneak away for some alone time when needed. Along with several exotic souvenirs, you may head home with some new family friends.

Discover Corps Trips Great for Multi-Generational Family Vacations

Nov
2

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Top Family Reunion Ideas to Top All Others

Posted by on November 2, 2018 · Leave a Comment  

The people will always make the place. For as much as world-class vacation packages can promise to entertain and impress, experienced travelers know that even the globe’s greatest destinations are really only as memorable as the family or friends you elect to bring along with you. The recipe for a truly unforgettable vacation calls not only for an awe-inspiring location, but also for a travel entourage worthy of the memories. Given that family vacations are unique in their ability to commemorate common bonds, resurrect familial friendships and establish a new generation of worthwhile memories, consider this your invitation to pair a worthwhile destination with a deserving audience.

As long as the people make the place, a family reunion is the perfect way to celebrate some of Earth’s foremost sights and sounds! Below are a few destinations that Discover Corps has found successful for family reunions in the past:

Explore the Jungle in Costa Rica

Afford yourself and your entire family the holistic Costa Rican experience where the entire party will contribute to a worthwhile enterprise, while enjoying flora and fauna you won’t find anywhere else on the planet. An eight-day, fully immersive endeavor is your ticket to authentic Costa Rican hospitality, where you’ll spend time making the acquaintance of rainforests, hot springs and open shorelines.

When you’re not introducing your toes to soft, white sands or taking in indigenous wildlife, the entire family can bond over a shared wildlife rescue center volunteer experience, where together you will care for injured or impaired jungle creatures. Find yourself face-to-face with jungle sloths, spider monkeys and marmosets, an educational opportunity and time contribution all rolled into one. There’s so much to love about Costa Rica, from your opportunity to learn the local farming customs of La Fortuna, to morning hikes under rainforest canopies and around volcanoes. All in all, your drive for a top-tier family vacation experience is satisfied the moment you take to Costa Rican soils.

Try Costa Rica: Family Volunteer Vacation 

Sail the Seas of The Galápagos Islands

One of the seven natural wonders of the world, the Galápagos Islands provide another sight-worthy destination for the entire family to enjoy. A family reunion in the Galapagos, a volcano-laden archipelago decorating the Pacific Ocean and home to diverse, untold speciation, is a lifelong memory in the making. When visiting these islands, you and the entire family witness restricted sights and sounds, a dream vacation that for most remains a dream.

Beyond just the fantastic wildlife, a family reunion needs comfort.  Five-star hospitality accommodations leave you in wonderful proximity to staple attractions like the Quito Cathedral and Independence Square, perfect for family or individual activities. On this trip, you and the entire family are provided every opportunity to learn about local sustainability customs, harvest techniques, smart water usage and more. And of course, you’ll catch sight of a wildlife portfolio available in the Galápagos, and nowhere else. Species like the blue footed boobie and the Galápagos giant tortoise await your discovery in this ideal family vacation setting.

Try: Galápagos: Wildlife Odyssey

Dance the Night Away in Cuba

Take the entire family to Cuba for a synthesis of culture and cuisine that will make lifelong memories easier than ever to fashion. Havana is a tribute to all things historical in Cuba, with an eye for the sensory. Impress the entire family with a city preserved in its own era, where  you punch your ticket toward Havana art, music, and society.

Find yourself in love with Havana’s inviting atmosphere by the end of your first day, when you and the entire family will visit the buzzing Malecon boardwalk and Vedado neighborhood, before a quality dinner with cityscape panoramas. Things only get better on days two and three, Lloyd join your family in frequenting a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a vintage jazz cafe alike. And after you sample the culinary products from Sloppy Joe’s Bar, we promise you’ll end up with a new standard for genuine Cuban cuisine. And best of all, stay casas particulares, or family-run bed and breakfasts, so each day of your family reunion starts the right way – with home-cooked meals from locally sourced ingredients and a healthy dose of Cuban optimism.

Try: Cuba: Havana Weekend Getaway

Explore the Culture of India

You’ll note the unique aesthetic from your first moment on Indian soil. While this may not jump out as your typical family reunion destination, India is incredibly accommodating when you have a plan of action. On this trip, you’ll join protective efforts for the Tiger Watch. Through involvement with a local tiger sanctuary, bolstered by efforts from communities and associated charities, you and the whole family will be gifted a holistic perspective of natural conservation efforts, including a drive to sustain tiger populations in the country. You’ll even contribute to tiger monitoring campaigns, an engaging, invigorating experience for any and all family members during your reunion.

Your time in India is also characterized by constant movement, so if your family is an active one, you’ve met a worthy destination. One day, you’re snapping photos of crocodiles and leopards in Ranthambore; the following afternoon, you’re gazing upon tiger populations in the National Park. At the end of busy days, family reunions deserve distinctive accommodations that settles the entire family, making having a plan that much more important! 

Try: India: Wildlife Volunteer Adventure

Contribute to Global Sustainability with Your Entire Family 

Meet your family’s aspirations for adventure head-on, and provide each member with the satisfactory travel experience of a lifetime whenever you make a family reunion vacation with purpose your getaway of choice. Pair a family reunion with Indian landscapes, Cuban-sourced coffee or Costa Rican action, all with the added bonus of contributing to worthy environmental and sustainable causes, helps your time together take on new dimensions. For more destination guides and accommodation reviews, hotels and vacation rentals, check out Trip101.

 

John Gallagher is an english and theology double major from San Diego, California. He currently works as the lead sports editor for the Troubadour Newspaper, and serves as the head script writer and editor for university Multimedia organization, the Baron Broadcast. He has also contributed to social content platform The Odyssey as a regular content creator. Gallagher was raised in San Diego, California, and has travelled his home state extensively. He recognizes In-N-Out Burger as the national treasure it is, and misses California’s perfect climactic conditions on a regular basis while at school in Steubenville, Ohio.

Oct
29

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[Infographic] Sea Turtle Nesting and Hatching Seasons in Costa Rica

Posted by on October 29, 2018 · Leave a Comment  

Costa Rica is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, home to fascinating wildlife such as gibbons, sloths, toucans, jaguars, and of course, sea turtles. Unfortunately, the population of Costa Rican sea turtles has declined by 90% since 1980. Sea turtles face myriad threats such as boat traffic, domestic animals, climate change, accidental catch by industrial fisheries, and increased trash in oceans and beaches (which they often mistake for food). As a conservationist, understanding nesting and hatching patterns is crucial to the protection of sea turtles.

On our Costa Rica: The Sea Turtle Initiative trip, we’ll spend three days volunteering on a turtle conservation campaign. Given the declining population of turtles, every bit of help is welcome and each turtle is precious. It’s up to you what time of year you’re interested in learning more about – protecting the nesting female sea turtles, or lending a hand with the vulnerable hatchlings. Check out the infographic below to help make your decision!

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Sep
7

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What Does it Mean to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site?

Posted by on September 7, 2018 · Leave a Comment  

Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site Machu Picchu and volunteer with Discover Corps here.

Travelers, adventurers, and tourists alike have all heard of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. They’re usually considered gorgeous “must-visit” places, especially if you are looking to get to know a different country. But what is a UNESCO world heritage site, really? How do they earn that status, and why should they be protected?

Believe it or not, this idea has not been around for long. Declaring structures and land masses world heritage sites began in 1959 when Egypt requested assistance from The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), a specialized agency of the United Nations, to protect and rescue endangered monuments and sites. Since then, countries all over the world have added significant sites to the ongoing list of recognized world heritage sites. To date there, are 878 UNESCO World Heritage Sites across the world.

How are Sites Added to the List?

UNESCO administers a World Heritage Program, which maintains a list of sites worldwide with cultural or natural significance. Countries can submit their own sites to the program which are then added to a tentative list for review and approval. In order to have cultural or natural significance, UNESCO has developed the following ten criteria for determining what constitutes a world heritage site:

  1. Represents a masterpiece of human creative genius and cultural significance.

    Visit Stari Grad Plains on our Croatia: Dolphins & Islands Expedition here
  2. Exhibits an important interchange of human values, over a span of time, or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning, or landscape design.
  3. To bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared.
  4. Is an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural, or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates a significant stage in human history.
  5. Is an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land-use, or sea-use which is representative of a culture, or human interaction with the environment especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change.
  6. Is directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance.
  7. Contains superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional beauty and aesthetic importance.
  8. Is an outstanding example representing major stages of Earth’s history, including the record of life, significant ongoing geological processes in the development of landforms, or significant geomorphic or physiographic features.
  9. Is an outstanding example representing significant ongoing ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, freshwater, coastal and marine ecosystems, and communities of plants and animals.
  10. Contains the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation.
Add a Tikal Ruins extension onto our Belize: Wildlife Safari trip here or our Guatemala: In & Beyond the Classroom trip here

The Benefits of Being a UNESCO World Heritage Site

There are a few benefits to being declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site:

  • Press and Popularity. The first benefit, however, is all about tourism. Once a site has been recognized, it becomes more attractive to travelers and therefore travel writers and other news organizations will help spread the word. The site suddenly has a certain status that it didn’t have before, and for many countries, this could help bring new economic benefits.
  • Funding. The site is eligible to receive funds for its protection and conservation. Since it is declared something of historical significance, it is understood worldwide that it needs to be preserved. The site will also have access to global project management resources if a repair is needed or if more options for tourism is needed to ensure the site’s protection.
  • Protection during a war. Once declared, the site becomes protected under Geneva convention against destruction during a war.

    Visit the vast plains of Kruger National Park on our South Africa: Wildlife Conservation Experience here

Today, some of the most recognized UNESCO world heritage sites including Serengeti National Park, Machu Picchu, and the Taj Mahal. Again, each world heritage site receives not only recognition, but protection from encroaching industrialization, mistreatment, or misuse. World heritage sites are not permitted to be used in support of military efforts and are to be an inspiring example of how recognizing the importance of art, cultural heritage, and natural beauty can transcend borders and political differences.

Experience these UNESCO World Heritage Sites with Discover Corps

Which UNESCO World Heritage Site has been your favorite? Which site is on your bucket list? Let us know your story and your thoughts in the comment section below!

Aug
20

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Cuban Visas 101: Support for the Cuban People vs. People to People Travel

Posted by on August 20, 2018 · Leave a Comment  

Visiting Cuba is an enchanting experience, and one that US citizens are now legally able to enjoy. Getting a Cuban visa is relatively quick and easy, but with evolving regulations and various ways to visit Cuba, it can be difficult to know which of the approved avenues works best for you. Luckily, we keep a pretty close eye on this; here’s what you need to know about getting a tourist visa for Cuba.

There are 12 categories of travel that are approved for US citizens to travel within. You must have an approved itinerary (such as one from a licensed tour company like Discover Corps), in-hand, that falls into one of these categories:

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