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A new idea for your vacation - voluntourism

First of January seems like an odd time to be discussing vacation plans but for many of the new forms of tourism planning does need to start early. For those who are interested in humanitarian service and also vacations they may join a growing population of tourists who are interested in not only traveling but also in justifying their travel by taking what is called “Humanitarian Vacations” or Voluntourism. In this form of tourism the traveler get involved in a variety of humanitarian activities in conjunction to their travel/vacation. In some cases they might work with abused women and children, provide help at an orphanage, assist in building homes for those in financial binds, bring relief efforts to the needy, help with environmental causes, etc. These vacations take a little more planning and reservations need to be book in advance to ensure that there is room for them at the location. In some cases these trips can even be a tax deduction. The idea behind this type of travel is to make a difference overseas and touch lives across the world. The trip is seen as benefiting those who are helped as well as the helper. It is a learning experience.

However, the tourists are given an opportunity to enjoy some vacation time in the country where they serve. This type of travel also gives the traveler an opportunity to be exposed to different perspective gives and worldviews, different religious beliefs, family structures, educational approaches, economic circumstances and more. One volunteer who traveled to the African country of Ethiopia stated that she has the unique opportunity to experience the country not only as a tourist but also as an insider.

In a capsule in David Massey’s story in the Daytona Beach News-Journal on-line, Massey tells about his trip to Malawi, Africa. He stated that his trip “turned out to be one of the most profound experiences in my 30 years, and I brought home much more than I took to that little village in Africa. What I did bring back was something far more valuable than any T-shirt, key chain or trinket – I brought home a sense of purpose as a member of the family of man.”

Some other ideas are to join one of the missionary projects of Wycliffe Bible translators. They offer what they call discovery trips, jungle jump off and a number of shorter trips. For 2010 they have volunteer/missionary trips to Papua New Guinea, Peruvian Andes, Chad, Cameroon, Solomon Islands, Hungary, Sudan, Kenya and also some trips within the United States. Some of the trips allow you to take your children along and they help by providing daycare and VBS for the local children. If you think that this is the type of vacation you would like to take then learn more at http://www.wycliffeassociates.org/servicesopps/teamtrips.asp.

For more information about humanitarian vacations:

http://www.vountourism.org

http://www.transitionosabroad.com

http://www.globeaware.org

Another advantage of this type of tourism is that it provides an invaluable education for children. Our children have an opportunity to experience not only a foreign country but also a foreign culture. They can also learn more about your Christian values and they see your faith in action. Mom and dad don’t just talk the talk but they walk the walk and that can be very important to children.

 

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