Charity and luxury – do they mix?
September 5 is the UN’s International Day of Charity. The prime purpose of the International Day of Charity is to raise awareness and provide a common platform for charity-related activities all over the world for individuals, charitable, philanthropic and volunteer organizations for their own purposes on the local, national, regional and international level.
All jolly interesting, but what has this to do with luxury travel?
A lot, as it turns out.
It is my belief that luxury travel is so much more meaningful when you add in a charitable component, meaning, doing something that improves the lives of others less fortunate. There are two ways to help:
- Philanthropy, and
- Whilst on safari in South Africa, fund and witness a rhino relocation, from a heavily poached reserve to a safe one in Botswana; this is where you get to sit in the helicopter while the veterinarian darts the rhino, land and spend time with the sedated rhino, and then help it get airlifted off to Botswana;
In Indonesia, after, say, relaxing in Bali, fund and witness the release of an orangutan family from an area facing habitat loss due to palm oil production to a protected reserve;
- In Australia, fund a scholarship for a promising Aboriginal art student, and in return, commission your own unique work of art from an established Aboriginal artist; or
- In Italy, experience a cooking masterclass with a Michelin chef in return for a donation to a soup kitchen that the chef supports.
These trips are all about leaving a legacy and having unique dinner party stories to tell.
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- In Belize, Peru or India, spend a couple of days building an eco-friendly stove for a family. These stoves are fantastic in that they are enclosed, and replace open flames, reducing burn incidents; they have a chimney to expel the smoke, dramatically lowering respiratory problems such as asthma, and they consume much less fuel than traditional stoves, so are better for the environment;
- In Costa Rica, help for a few days at a wildlife rescue center; preparing meals for monkeys, parrots, and more, feeding them, maintaining their enclosures, creating enrichments to engage the animals, and assisting the vet on his daily rounds;
- In Morocco and Argentina, install solar panels for families and communities;
- In Thailand and India, care for elephants: prepare their meals, hand feed them, walk with them, and watch them bathe and socialize;
- In Zambia, Guatemala, and Cambodia, build a home for a family in need of a decent place to live; and
- In Bali, build a disabled-accessible bathroom for a paraplegic: immeasurably improving their sense of independence and self-worth
And the luxury aspect?
A specialist travel agent is skilled at combining charity with luxury travel, on a bespoke tailored trip. For example, some of the places you can stay in the destinations mentioned above include:
- One & Only Cape Town, La Cle des Montagnes, and Morokuru Ocean House in South Africa
- Nihi, Aman Yacht in Indonesia
- Park Hyatt, Arkaba Conservancy, Lizard Island in Australia
- Minaret Station, The Lindis, Kauri Cliffs in New Zealand
- Copal Tree Lodge in Belize
- Kasiiya in Costa Rica
- Dar Ahlam in Morocco
- Four Seasons Tented Camp, The Siam, and Soneva Kiri in Thailand
- Tongabezi in Zambia
- Amankila, Alila, and Buahan in Bali
Even just one day dedicated to a charitable cause as part of your luxury trip can make a difference, for yourself as well as others. This International Day of Charity, reach out to a specialist luxury volunteer travel or luxury philanthropic travel agent and see for yourself how good this is.
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.