The Benefits of Giving Back Whilst on Vacation

Rise Up Surf Retreats Nicaragua (1)

When many people think about travel, the first thing that comes to mind is visiting the biggest, most popular cities in the world. Famous landmarks and tourist attractions are always a big drawcard. Maybe you just need to get that perfect Instagram snap in front of the Eiffel Tower.

But while all travel is rewarding, there are ways to gain so much more from your travel experiences. The basis of this article is to discuss how you can make travel more meaningful by giving back while on vacation.

Giving back through travel isn’t necessarily about charity. The idea is to still enjoy yourself greatly and experience all the world of travel offers. 

But we’ll show you how to make your next vacation just as beneficial for others as it is for you.

What is the concept of giving back through travel?

Let’s consider for a second that you book a round-the-world trip to some major holiday destinations. Paris, perhaps. Maybe Milan. A little partying in Las Vegas or a stroll through New York City. Obviously, these are all terrific experiences and you get a lot of personal satisfaction from them. But think about who else benefits from you being there.

Usually, the beneficiaries of your travel dollars will be multi-national hotel chains, casinos, boutique fashion outlets, and many more. Basically, the majority of your travel money ends up supporting people and businesses that could get by perfectly fine without your contribution.

But what if you could travel to an incredible, picturesque location with beautiful beaches, unique natural landscapes, and local communities that could benefit from your stay?

One example of this is Rise Up Surf Retreats, offering retreats in stunning locations like Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Barbados.

Also read: Things to do in Antigua, Guatemala

Rise Up offers an incredible experience that, depending on your interests, can include surfing some of the best breaks in the world, meditating with yoga, and discovering new ways to tap into your spirituality and well-being.

You’ll make connections with others, learn more about yourself, and have an exciting and invigorating time doing it.

But the difference here is that Rise Up Surf Retreat, through their NGO, Rise Up Kids, invests heavily in improving the lives of all local children. From building school facilities to offering education and even surfing classes, you know that your travel dollars are being invested in the futures of local residents.

You’ll also have opportunities to meet locals, learn more about their culture, and develop an understanding of a whole new way of life.

And it’s not about spending your entire holiday building homes for the needy. You’ll still be pampered with top-class accommodation, soul-satisfying food, and blissful relaxation and personal growth activities.

You’ll experience stunning landscapes and some of the best surfing the world has to offer. But, you also get a chance to give back.

So, let’s explore giving back through travel in a bit more detail.

Helping local communities

As with the above example of Rise Up Kids giving back to local communities through their luxury surf retreat experiences, there are countless travel opportunities that benefit local communities.

Naturally, you need to take safety into account when exploring different parts of the world, but almost anywhere that you want to go, you’ll find tours, hotels, experiences, and businesses that put money straight back into the community.

And a little pro tip – most of the communities you may consider to be underprivileged are full of the most welcoming, incredible people you will ever meet. Any journey is more rewarding when you meet great people and really immerse yourself in their world.

Promoting cultural understanding

With opportunities to mingle with local communities comes the chance to learn about new cultures. Find out how people do things when they don’t have access to smart home assistants and iPads. Learn how people use different ingredients to make mouth-watering local cuisines.

View some local traditions or religious celebrations. You’ll be surprised at how freely you’ll be welcomed, and the experience will be extremely rewarding.

So, while this is a rewarding and often heartfelt experience for you, the local community also benefits from the money you spend. More importantly, you have the opportunity to share your experiences with friends and family back home, promoting cross-cultural understanding and inspiring others to follow in your footsteps.

Traveling with a sense of purpose

Everything in life is more regarding when you have a higher purpose. Think of the simple act of cooking. You cook for yourself, and it’s a basic survival need. Cook for friends and family, and you know they appreciate it so you get more personal fulfillment.

But spend an afternoon cooking for or feeding the homeless, and you’ve given the simple act of cooking a far heightened sense of purpose.

You can do this with travel too. You don’t need to make any special effort or enjoy your vacation time any less. In fact, when your travel benefits others, it already has a much greater sense of purpose and therefore becomes more fulfilling.

Deeper connections with your destination

If you’ve ever traveled to big cities, there is often a sense of awe and wonder. You appreciate the size of everything or the beauty of old buildings. You may get a buzz from being close to a historical landmark. But a lot of time on your journey will probably be spent staying in ritzy hotels or eating in expensive restaurants.

How much of a connection do you really develop with the local people and communities?

Visiting less-developed areas and smaller communities is completely different. Everybody welcomes you with open arms. They love having you there, and you can develop a much deeper connection by participating in local life, rather than just checking out a popular tourist attraction.

Bringing gratitude into your travel experiences

It’s important to incorporate gratitude into your experiences. This works both ways, too.

Have you ever eaten in a fancy restaurant in a big city, for example, and felt that the employees were deeply grateful for your custom?

Probably not, as they are simply doing a job to the best of their ability. But in a small community, imagine visiting a street food vendor who barely earns enough to make a living. The gratitude you’ll feel from them is extremely heart-warming and creates a completely different experience.

Or, for example, when you stroll back onto land after a morning of surfing with Rise Up Surf Retreats, imagine the joy on the faces of local children who just want to know more about you, and share their stories with you.

There are few things in life more special than being completely welcomed by people you don’t know, but who appreciate you simply for being there. But you can also develop a huge sense of gratitude too. It may be learning to appreciate your own life more by seeing the struggles of others.

But more importantly, you’ll feel gratitude towards the amazing people who welcome you into their communities, lives, and customs.

Needless to say, when you experience a genuine appreciation for something, the entire experience is more rewarding for everyone.

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