One of the first things anyone thinks about when summer rolls around is where they’ll be traveling to. So many people spend months, or even years planning their vacation. When you search for “vacation ideas” in Google, it yields about 124 million results. Advice on destinations, finances, and activities all exist among the results to showcase the best trips anyone could possibly take.

Travel is fun. A trip of leisure is well deserved for those who spend the rest of the year hard at work. Many plan vacation based on family bonding time, sightseeing or complete relaxation. One of the most overlooked things about vacation is the ability to travel and make a difference. So while you’re planning a trip for yourself and your family, here’s how you can do something for others at the same time.

Engage with Other Cultures

When you travel to a place, you’re most likely traveling there for the sites, the activities, adventure or simply, the resort. The one thing you should venture out to explore is the culture. Engaging with other cultures allows you to see life from a different perspective. Standard living is drastically different all over the world. See how other culture maneuver through their day to day life. Look for how other cultures communicate, traditions they partake in or even just their way of living. Not only will this allow you to appreciate your own lifestyle, but it will give you an opportunity to adopt new ideas.

Being able to communicate with other cultures, even if you don’t speak the same language, will help you develop competence and understanding while you build relationships. Even if you simply wave at a stranger in the market, you’ve made a meaningful moment of sheer kindness.

Volunteer in a Village

Take a day or two out of your trip and dedicate it to the local village near where you’re traveling to. Often people travel to resorts or big cities with fancy hotels, not ever realizing that just a few miles away, there’s a village in need.

Some ways you can get involved in the village are:

  • Volunteer at a local orphanage
  • Donate items such as clothing or school supplies
  • Teach English

Any way you can help a village in need will make a difference in the lives of the locals there. Even if you only volunteer for one or two days of your vacation, you’re making a positive impact somewhere in the world.

You can easily find places to volunteer through volunteer programs such as GoVoluntouring, GoEco, or ask a travel agent for assistance in connecting you with local services.

You don’t have to spend your entire vacation volunteering. You can dedicate a day or two, or even a week. When you’re planning your vacation this year or next, think of all the people you have the opportunity to help. Consider making a difference next time you plan to travel.