Looking for an affordable and fun family vacation that provides R and R, plus the satisfaction of knowing that together you’ve contributed to making the Earth happy?
Then you might consider taking a volunteer vacation. These vacations do require that you push up your sleeves to varying degrees, but the trade-off sometimes includes free food and accommodations, a new locale away from it all, many of which are quite beautiful, and experiences that no classroom could ever offer you or your child.
Here are some ways to get started:
1. Through the World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, your family can choose from a number of organic farms throughout the United States (including Hawaii and the U.S. Virgin Islands!!) that will welcome you in exchange for a few hours of work.
2. If you’re interested in helping repairing a trail, shoreline or other natural setting, the Sierra Club offers affordable outings (under $600 per person) that would give you that opportunity. You could find yourself in Lake Tahoe helping to improve a forest or with an archaeologist servicing a site in Utah. The Sierra Club features several trips that are intended for families, with plenty of time set aside for swimming, relaxing, cooking, activities for the kids, etc.
4. You can join an Earthwatch Institute expedition. Earthwatch has 120 field sites in more than 40 countries and offers public volunteers subsidized travel costs to work with scientists on environmental studies–some incredibly scenic! Expeditions include everything from tracking whales and dolphins off Abaco Island to working with a team of Chinese researchers to preserve traditional the traditional customs and beliefs of their ancestral country.
5. For a general search of volunteer vacations organized by state and cause, CheapTickets has partnered with United Way of America to offer a large searchable database of volunteer opportunities that can include entire vacations, or even just a way to spend a day of your vacation doing volunteer work.