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Are you seeking a break from the usual beach getaway?

Why not break the monotony this year and engage in a service vacation? In a world where travel is more accessible than ever, individuals are increasingly pursuing meaningful experiences that transcend traditional sightseeing. Enter the burgeoning trend of impact travel, where people embark on journeys with a purpose – to create a positive impact on communities and contribute to the greater good.

What Defines Impact Travel

Impact travel, also known as service vacations, is a unique travel experience that seamlessly blends exploration of a new destination with meaningful participation in community service activities. It’s not just about seeing the world; it’s about making a positive impact on the places and people you encounter.

Over the years, as I’ve conversed with families and individuals, they’ve shared incredible stories of their vacations. They reminisce about basking in the sun and enjoying the beach for most of their trip, only to engage in service work on the final day – delivering food and donations to a remote village. Strikingly, it’s this day that remains etched in their memory. Meeting diverse people, immersing in different cultures, and leaving a lasting impact are among the many rewards of incorporating service into a vacation.

According to a recent survey by travel company JourneyHub, 56% of global travelers express interest in participating in sustainable travel activities, while 67% aspire to give back to local communities. The allure lies in experiencing different cultures, forming bonds with communities, and making a meaningful impact while traveling.

The encouraging news is that numerous websites list opportunities for short-term volunteer vacations, with over 2000 organizations worldwide offering volunteer opportunities. From constructing homes in Africa to teaching English in Asia, the range of activities is vast, encompassing environmental conservation, wildlife protection, construction, teaching, healthcare, and more. Travelers have ample opportunities to get involved and make a difference globally.

Our Approach at Be Humanitarian 

At Be Humanitarian, we firmly believe that every traveler, regardless of scale, can contribute positively to the world. We take pride in providing enriching experiences for our participants while simultaneously assisting those in need. Our mission revolves around inspiring volunteers to become global citizens, actively engaging with the world around them. We strive to enhance the future of Guatemala’s most impoverished by addressing issues through early nutrition, education, and self-sustainability.

Why Guatemala, you might wonder? It stands as the fourth most malnourished country globally, with the most unequal income distribution in Central America. The indigenous population faces a 60% illiteracy rate, averaging only 2.5 years of schooling. Children in the region suffer severe malnutrition, and there’s a lack of funds for education. Humanity Unleashed’s nutrition and education program has made significant strides in improving children’s health, but there’s still a substantial need for educational support. Sponsoring these children enables us to provide essential resources, including covering fees, purchasing uniforms, and securing school supplies.

Beyond supporting our Guatemala program, leading service vacations allows volunteers to work alongside locals, fostering a unique and authentic experience. This not only benefits local communities but also offers a rewarding and memorable experience for volunteers. It goes beyond mere philanthropy; it’s rooted in mutual benefit, where volunteers learn from their immersion in local culture, and the local project benefits from their dedicated work.

The Impact of Service Vacations

Participating in impact travel transcends mere philanthropy; it catalyzes personal growth and heightened global awareness. Travelers develop empathy, resilience, and cross-cultural understanding as they interact with locals, learn about their challenges, and collaborate to find solutions. These experiences broaden perspectives and inspire travelers to become more socially responsible citizens.

It’s a transformative experience that I wish for everyone – a chance to witness the unseen, opening eyes and hearts to previously unknown realities. It differs from watching it on TV or hearing about it from others. Personal perspective affects outlook profoundly, fostering deep appreciation and respect for the millions working tirelessly for the basics.

Impact travel represents a transformative approach to exploration, combining cultural immersion with the power to effect positive change. As this trend continues to gain momentum, impact travel holds immense potential to shape the future of travel, promoting sustainability, intercultural understanding, and a genuine desire to make the world a better place, one journey at a time.