Why We ‘Volunteer Travel’ as a Family

Why We ‘Volunteer Travel’ as a Family
January 16, 2012 Lainie Liberti

Volunteering Together

There is no denying, traveling as a family is a bonding experience. Slow travel is another way to experience the world, allowing each family member to immerse themselves into a new culture.  But volunteering as a family together adds a whole other dimension to that experience, with countless rewards and growth opportunities.

On our travels, Miro and I have volunteered with numerous organizations and the experiences have enriched our travels ten-fold. Some of the volunteer experiences we’ve had together include: volunteering at an animal shelter in Belize, a dog and cat hospital in Nicaragua, contributed to a sustainable community in Guatemala and volunteered at a organization for family nutrition, a  performance arts school for street children in Nicaragua, and at a children’s library in Ecuador.

All in all our experiences have shaped our travels by providing purpose.

If you are considering volunteering as a family, there are so many resources and opportunities for volunteering abroad on the web and countless communities that will welcome you with open arms. However, in this post, I wanted to share with you  some of the benefits you can expect to  experience  as a result of your volunteering experience.

Benefits of Family Volunteer Travel:

  • Volunteering as a family creates a hands-on way to teach and experience compassion, tolerance, flexibility, cross-cultural understanding and global responsibility to every family member.
  • Volunteering provides an opportunity  to step outside of the pressures produced by mass media messages promoting self-absorption and materialism.
  • Volunteering as a family allows each member of the family to experience a world outside their own, and learn about a different culture through the people they are serving.
  • Volunteering as a family empowers children to believe they can make a difference in the world by ‘giving’ and ‘doing’.
  • Volunteering provides all family members insights into what they are capable of achieving and increases self-esteem.
  • Volunteering as a family expands children’s understanding of social issues in the surrounding world.
  • Volunteering as a family teaches new life skills.
  • Volunteering as a family provides families with meaningful time together to express common values.
  • Volunteering as a family creates family bonds through  sharing the challenges associated with their volunteering post.
  • Volunteering as a family produces shared memories that last a lifetime.


  1. Marina K. Villatoro 12 years ago

    Your son is getting the best education there possibly is through volunteering and your travels. Where else can you really understand how other people live, especially that have less money and less opportunities then we do, to fully understand!

    • Author
      ilainie 12 years ago

      Thank you Marina. Not only am I so proud of him now, I look forward to meeting him as an adult. He’s an amazing person!

  2. Anji 12 years ago

    This is so wonderful! Very few families really consider volunteering during their vacations. It’s so enriching to teach your child the importance of giving and sharing, it is so rewarding to give rather than to receive. I hope you continue have such worthwhile holidays with your son!

    • Author
      ilainie 12 years ago

      Thank you so much Anji! We love living life and love giving. Feels so good!

  3. Jill 12 years ago

    Hi Ilainie, this is great to read. We want to do some more volunteering ( so far have done only one morning in a pre-school) in Thailand. We want to work alongside our kids, and see then work alongside us. 
    Traveling long term is life, not a holiday, and volunteering is a good way of doing work and giving back. 

    • Author
      ilainie 12 years ago

      Thank you Jill for the comment. It’s such a bonding experience. When I see Miro have a hands on moment that allows his to act as a global citizen, then realize what he’s doing, I always tear up. Such a gift and experiencing the world in service and through your child’s eyes completes my life. 🙂

  4. Cassandra 10 years ago

    This is fabulous! Love that you guys are volunteering during your travels. A friend pointed me to your blog and I look forward to reading more! My husband and I traveled a lot before kids, and now that they’re getting a bit bigger we can’t wait to get back to it and give them the experience of travel as well. It is priceless. Also an unschooling family here 🙂

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