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Why not make a difference?

Recently, I visited a luxury resort in Jamaica. Before leaving I discovered that we could bring school supplies to help a local school that the resort was sponsoring. What a nice idea!

We were glad to contribute and donated a nice stash of supplies for the local kids.

When we travel, we can indeed help others. Depending on the destination and the need, there are many ways to do this.

Today, I will cover three.


Sandals Whitehouse, is a luxury couples resort in Jamaica. This resort is built along a beautiful beach in the midst of a low-income area. The resort needs and hires locals, thereby improving their quality of life. They also reach out into the community through The Sandals Foundation with donations to enable and support local schools. They provide a list of school supplies that guests may bring to donate to the school. They also offer opportunities to their guests to visit these schools, volunteer for an afternoon to read to children, or to do whatever needs done. Many resorts have similar programs.


You contribute to the well-being of locals when you purchase the handmade items from them. For example, in Mexico, I had the choice to purchase small woven bracelets made by local women or visit a typical tourist-y gift shop. By purchasing the bracelets, I could give some happiness to several women in the area and contribute to their income. Support the local artists, wood carvers, weavers etc. with at least some small purchase. A purchase is a business transaction and gives people some pride in their work, as well as a few dollars in their pocket.


What is volunteer travel? Most of us have heard the term. Basically, it’s travel where you give something back to the local community you are visiting. You learn about another culture, another country. You give of your time, skills and knowledge, which benefits others and helps your heart grow a few sizes – remember the Grinch?? Options include teaching English, pouring cement floors into local homes, assisting locals in a chocolate factory and re-forestation by planting trees…what a great way to enjoy a new place and make a difference at the same time!

There are many reasons to volunteer while you’re traveling and there are literally thousands of charities and organizations that look for help from passing travelers.

Where can you find out more? Do a search on “volunteer travel”, and many opportunities will appear.

We may not have a lot of time to give, but maybe if we each look for some small opportunity, we can all make a difference.

The next time you take a vacation, consider asking what you can do to help. I am happy to assist you in learning about these opportunities as you plan your vacations.

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