Amidst a global pandemic and regional war, life is difficult for many, and my heart goes out to those directly affected. It may seem strange to think about a holiday in this context, but sometimes, we need to get away from the stress and recharge to emerge stronger. A luxury family holiday that includes a hands-on give-back component enables you to not only emerge stronger – you can make a difference as well.
I propose these destinations for a meaningful luxury family holiday this summer:
A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness the incredible wildebeest migration in the Masai Mara with fewer visitors than usual. Make a difference by teaching at a school, or help build a classroom in a Masai primary school. Your kids will love engaging with and playing with the local children.
Where to stay whilst volunteering: Mara Bushtops
Famed for Victoria Falls and epic game viewing, Zambia is a tremendous, safe, and welcoming destination that blends well with Botswana and lesser-known Malawi.
Make your summer holiday in Zambia meaningful by helping build a home for a widow and her children, in a village near Victoria Falls.
Where to stay whilst volunteering: Tongabezi Lodge
If you can stand the heat, Morocco has a tremendous variety of experiences on offer: explore imperial Marrakech and Fes, hike in the Atlas Mountains, ride camels in the Sahara Desert, windsurf in Essaouira, and explore Skoura Oasis and the Route of 1,000 kasbahs.
Be fulfilled on your luxury family holiday in Morocco by helping install solar panels on the roofs of homes of low-income villagers.
Where to stay whilst volunteering: La Mamounia
July and August are Bali’s dry season, so head there for cooking classes, spa treatments, mountain biking, hiking, surfing, white water rafting, and cultural immersion.
It is in Bali that you can inspire your children to be world changers by helping build a disabled-accessible bathroom for a paraplegic, and provide them with a sense of independence and confidence.
Where to stay whilst volunteering: Amankila
Head to the Yucatan Peninsula for whale sharks, snorkeling, Mayan ruins, cenotes, kayaks, water parks, incredible beaches, and more.
In Mexico, you can help your children appreciate how fortunate they are by helping renovate classrooms, sort and classify donated food and clothes, or even provide entertainment at a home for the elderly.
Where to stay whilst volunteering: Rosewood Mayakoba
The varying altitude brings so much diversity, from the jungles and wildlife of the Amazon, to the epic landscapes enjoyed whilst hiking to Machu Picchu, with soaring canyons, beguiling colonial cities, floating villages, and a gourmet foodie scene in between.
Be the change as part of a luxury family holiday in Peru by installing eco-friendly stoves in a village in the Sacred Valley. These stoves are fantastic in that:
- they are enclosed so replace open flames and thus reduce the incidents of burns;
- they have a chimney to expel smoke, so respiratory problems such as asthma are practically eliminated; and
- they are much more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly.
Where to stay whilst volunteering: Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba
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Experience one of the world’s greatest spectacles, the Uyuni Salt Flats – its stunning vistas, along with flamingos and giant cacti, will leave you breathless.
But wait, there’s more, so much more to Bolivia: a fast developing gourmet scene in La Paz, mountain biking the ‘world’s most dangerous highway’, Lake Titicaca and Sun and Moon Islands, colonial Sucre and Potosi, and superb wildlife viewing in the Pantanal, and Amazon.
Make a difference in Bolivia and build a home for a family in El Alto, near La Paz.
Where to stay whilst volunteering: Atix Hotel
3. Ecuador & Galapagos
Ecuador is amazing in its own right, with colonial Quito and Cuenca, Mindo cloud forest, Otavalo markets, Cotopaxi and other volcanos, and the Amazon jungle. But when you add the Galapagos Islands to the mix, you have an incredible luxury family holiday.
And make it all the more meaningful by helping renovate a daycare center in Quito.
Where to stay whilst volunteering: Casa Gangotena
Even if you stick to the western half of Turkey, you can still cover amazing sights, from the stark landscapes of Cappadocia to bustling Istanbul, to the gorgeous coastline on the Aegean Sea.
Inspire your children to be conservationists by helping care for rare Mediterranean sea turtles: protect nests from predators and patrol the beaches.
Where to stay whilst volunteering: Calista Resort
How much time do you have? I recommend at least two weeks, ideally three or more, and even then you will be scratching the surface. Highlights include the Great Barrier Reef, stylish Sydney, artsy Melbourne, foodie Adelaide, Kangaroo Island, Kakadu, and the Kimberleys.
Make a difference in the Blue Mountains and assist with wildlife counts of kangaroos and wallabies, protect rivers from and help university researchers.
Where to stay whilst volunteering: One & Only Wolgan Valley
Here’s to this Summer being free of international crises, and your family can focus on enjoying a meaningful luxury family holiday.
Christopher Hill is Founder and CEO at Hands Up Holidays. Hands Up Holidays is an award-winning travel company specialising in tailor-made luxury family trips that combine sightseeing with hands-on service projects.
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