The holiday season is here! Which means decorations, desserts, family get-togethers… and presents.
If you’re stumped on what to get your family this year — or are simply sick of spending money on toys that go unused — we’ve got an awesome gift idea: a volunteer vacation.
Take your husband and kids on a trip, plan an inter-generational reunion, or surprise your grandchild with some special “grandma and me” bonding time.
The possibilities abound, and the rewards are endless. We think a volunteer vacation would make the perfect family gift, and here’s why:
Together, you will…
1. Enjoy unparalleled family bonding time
When’s the last time you hung out with your kids — with no distractions? Between work emails and teenagers’ text messages, sometimes it’s hard to get a word in edgewise. We’ve talked before about the importance of unplugging — and a volunteer vacation is the perfect way to disconnect from technology AND bond with your family while they do the same.
2. Learn about a new culture and people
The kids may think you’re “just” on vacation, but you know they’re learning as much (if not more!) as they would be if they were in school. Traveling is one of the best forms of education, and volunteering somewhere is the best way to learn about a country’s culture and people.
3. Understand the importance of giving back
Not only will your family learn specific things about a new culture, they’ll also gain an understanding of how important (and rewarding) it is to give back. Lead by example: rather than contributing to the over-commercialization of the holiday season, contribute to the greater good.
4. Not have to worry about the details
Let’s be honest: planning a family vacation often brings more stress than relaxation. Worrying about all the details — from hotels to rental cars to activities — can make you feel like you need a vacation from your vacation! But if you go with an established all-inclusive volunteer vacation organization (like us!), you won’t have to worry about a thing. Well, except for making sure your youngest’s teddy bear is packed.
5. Develop an appreciation of people different from you
Wherever you live, chances are your family doesn’t often have the opportunity to connect on a deep level with people from completely different backgrounds. A volunteer vacation is an easy way to show your family the beauty of diversity, so they can appreciate it both at home and abroad.
6. Experience a vacation that is so much more than Disneyland
You’ve been wanting to take your kids somewhere, but haven’t decided where. Allow us to jump in and say that a family volunteer vacation is much more than a trip to Disneyland — and we think we’ve shown why. Sure, your kids might like the chance to hang with Minnie and Mickey, but are they really going to grow on a trip like that?
7. Create memories that will last forever
How many toys have you purchased that have been discarded a few days later? More than you’d like to admit. Rather than wasting money on new toys this year, invest in long-lasting memories with the ones you love. After all, your family members won’t ever forget the time they taught schoolchildren in Thailand or built a house in the Dominican Republic.
What’s been your favorite family holiday gift? Why?