Planning a Volunteer Vacation

A volunteer vacation, also known as voluntourism, is an extremely meaningful and worthwhile way to spend your time, but, in order for your trip to really be productive and fulfilling, there are a number of aspects that you need to consider beforehand. From narrowing down a destination to picking a cause, here are some tips on how to plan a volunteer vacation.

Volunteers
Picking a Cause
Whether you plan on volunteering for a few days or a few months, picking a cause to help out with is the very first step. Since you will be working hard under most likely challenging conditions, you would be best off supporting a cause that is close to your heart, and means something to you personally, as this will provide you with endless motivation during your trip. There are so many possibilities out there, from wildlife conservation to education to economic development, so take the time to explore all of your options. You should also think about specific skills that you have to offer, and try to match these with volunteering opportunities. For example, if you are trained in first aid, you may be best off helping out at an underprivileged health clinic, whereas those that have craft-related talents may be most appreciated at a local school.

Choosing a Destination
Once you have chosen your cause, this will already narrow down your choice of destinations quite a bit, but you are still likely to have multiple options. Your volunteer vacation is likely to be so much more satisfying if you are able to visit one of your bucket list destinations at the same time, and you should have enough free time to be able to explore your surroundings on your days off.

Woman volunteering
Working With a Credible Charity
The high price tag that often comes along with volunteer vacation packages is enough to put many people off, but, the lower the cost, the less services and amenities are provided to the volunteer. If you are unsure about the price, ask the organization for a breakdown of how your money would be spent, so that you can make sure that it is being used in the right way. Alternatively, you could also team up with a credible charity that helps to arrange volunteer vacations, as they will be able to set up trips for you all over the world.

Ask the Right Questions
Before booking a volunteer vacation, it is important to first find out as much as you can about it. Asking plenty of questions is the best way to do so, from the amount of hours you will be expected to work each day to the meals that will be provided. You should also enquire about the sleeping arrangements, as well as the exact type of work that you will be expected to do. The more that you know about your trip beforehand, the better you will be able to prepare for it, and you will also end up making a much larger contribution in the end.

There is no denying the fulfilment that comes from a volunteer vacation, but you need to ensure that the work that you are doing is really benefiting the community that you are working for. Planning a credible volunteer vacation takes quite a bit of time and effort, so be sure to look into all aspects of this thoroughly before booking anything.

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Fun Ways to Bond with Your Family

Family time

Spending quality time with your family can often seem like a rarity these days, especially when electronic devices often end up dominating the day. Whether you have energetic toddlers, sullen teenagers, or children that have grown up and have kids of their own, these are some fun ways in which you can truly bond with your family.

The Family Dinner Project
The Family Dinner Project is a grassroots initiative that aims to highlight the importance of family dinners, bringing this back into everyday life. While you may already frequently eat meals with your family, it is unlikely that they are meals in which everyone participates, and this is what The Family Dinner Project hopes to help with. Their website provides plenty of helpful resources, from learning how to get young children to have fun with food prep to listing some unique dinnertime games for adults.

Volunteer Together
Studies have shown that volunteering has a number of different mental and health benefits, from increasing happiness and decreasing depression to helping to extend your life expectancy. In addition to this, you will also be doing something good for others, which sets a great example for everyone else in your family. There are many different organizations that readily welcome new volunteers, so whether you spend some time with children in need, or participate in a beach cleanup, volunteering will bring a healthy dose of positive energy to you and your family.

Sisters clicking photographs

Learn a New Skill
A great way to bond with your family is by learning a new skill together, throwing yourselves into something that may be out of your comfort zone. While it may take a few tries to find a skill that everybody wants to learn, be it photography, glass blowing, painting or dance, you will end up with a shared hobby and passion that will always bring you back together.

Game Night
Game nights are another great way to get the whole family involved, and to make sure that everybody has a chance to participate. Game nights can be made into a regular event, whether it be every week or every month, with each game night featuring a different game. Whether you set up different board games around your home, head out for some evening mini golf, or get competitive at the bowling alley, game nights will be enjoyed by just about every age group.

Be Entrepreneurial
Being entrepreneurial with your family is especially useful if you have younger children, as it is also a great way to teach them about topics such as money, pricing and planning. There are many different options available to you, from building your own lemonade stand, which in itself is another bonding activity, to hosting a garage sale, each of which will teach your children valuable real-life lessons about business.

Family bonding is extremely important, leaving you with memories that you will cherish for a lifetime. While it may seem like unnecessary hassle rounding up the family for regular bonding sessions, it will do the whole family a world of good, and will help you to appreciate each other like never before.