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Travel to Cozumel With A Purpose
What Does “Travel with a Purpose” Mean?

Mention the word vacation and many thoughts come to mind. One imagines everything from a simple backyard BBQ, an overnight campout at a nearby lake or a trip to the beach somewhere as vacation possibilities. But more and more these days vacations are not just about getting away to somewhere but also about giving back.

Traveling with a purpose means not only visiting a destination to see the sights and experience new things but it also means going a step further and taking an active interest to contribute in some positive way to try to improve the area or community being visited.

Contributing to a community usually takes the form of a traveler donating time, money or materials to assist with an important local project. However, travelers seldom consider their own environmental impact on any particular destination when they travel much less give thought as to how to minimize this impact. Even so, it doesn’t change the fact that every movement we make spends some sort of energy (uses it) and therefore creates some sort of expended waste as well. Pause a moment and consider that each time a traveler sets foot in any travel destination, trash is generated, sewage systems are used, water resources are consumed, food waste is created and land usage decisions (just to mention a few) are made in order to facilitate any tourism activities.

Wow! Bummer right?! That’s a big bunch of weight to put on some one’s shoulders just for one little ole vacation! True but we can’t change science! So a lot of travelers just decide to ignore these issues in favor of simply enjoying their vacations and letting others worry about “the bigger issues” that seem beyond their control. But more and more, today’s travelers realize that each of us individually can make a social and/or environmental difference in the world and it is up to each of us on our own to pro-actively try to do this as we travel.

Travelers may not be able to save the world entirely,
but they can have a positive effect on a piece of it if they try to “travel with a purpose.

How Can I or My Group “Travel with a Purpose and Make a Difference?”

Teams Can Build Homes, Churches & Medical ClinicsThose who “travel with a purpose” are looking to combine their travel adventures with localized community impact that makes a difference to those living there all the time. For example, some travelers decide to visit an environmentally friendly resort or find a way to neutralize the carbon footprint of their trip while still others decide to build homes with Habitat for Humanity or work to clean trash from a beach area where sea turtles nest. A positive contribution while traveling could be as simple as ensuring there is no lingering trace or effect of a traveler’s visit on a destination. Or it could involve staying an extended period of time in a location in order to help construct a water well or a medical building.

These are just a few examples but there are literally countless ways for travelers to put more meaning and purpose into their vacation and you can do it, too. And it’s actually a pretty easy process to begin making a difference with your next vacation. Here are some guidelines and talking points worth discussing as a group or family to help ensure your next vacation is meaningful and filled with positive impact for not only the travelers involved but the destination locations you select as well.

Discussion Framework for Vacation Groups to Travel with A Purpose

Hold a Meeting of All Vacation Group Travelers and discuss the following:

  • area(s) is the Travel Group most interested in contributing assistance?
  • Social
  • Spiritual
  • Enviornmental

    Once the group has decided which of these areas is of most interest to them, it’s then helpful to begin breaking down the interests a bit further. For example:

  • An interest in matters could be further refined by deciding to focus on assisting only children, only women, specifically men or families as a whole.

  • An interest in matters could be made more specific by selecting a particular faith or focusing on constructing places of worship or providing essential learning materials not available.

  • An interest in matters could be further broken down to focus on assisting wildlife, or marine life or indigenous plants and flowers of a community.

    Once the travel group has decided on a worthwhile area of interest, then it’s time to decide how to contribute. Essentially there are 3 alternatives to provide assistance:

  • Donate Money
  • Donate Materials
  • Donate Time (Volunteer)

    Once the decision is made by the Travel Group which resource to contribute, then it’s time to have some pre-vacation fun and get creative as to how to raise the resources needed. These resource gathering events actually serve to “extend” the upcoming vacation because folks are thinking about all that will happen “when they go.”

    Some examples of resource gathering would be ~

  • If the Travel Group wants to Money events such as car washes or bake sales are common for raising money for a good cause. One way that is really catching on amongst groups that travel together frequently is simply to add a nominal “social tax” to the price of the vacation. Many folks are just too busy these days with family and work to be able to bake a cake or help wash a car but they welcome the chance to pay a “social tax” of $25 – 50 knowing they will get a chance to leave a positive impact on a vacation destination.

  • Big Smiles & Happy Faces Galore thanks to DMS! If the Travel Group wants to Materials sometimes it’s as easy as looking in the pantry for food stuffs or in a closet for excess clothing. Often a travel group will be comprised of folks in the same profession such as dentists or firemen or a bible study group. These groups might have access to specialty items like latex gloves or “no battery” flashlights or educational materials in Spanish which are typically non-existent in isolated, island locales. A group of teachers might elect to bring school supplies for children and animal lovers might bring bedding supplies for the animal shelter. The possibilities are endless and a travel group can really get excited discussing and deciding what items to contribute.

    NOTE: It’s always best to try to work with a LOCAL coordinator
    in the destination location on logistics since bringing items in
    from the USA or other countries can be considered “Importation”
    and be subject to taxes and fees by Customs authorities.

  • CVC helps Jam Cruise Coordinate Beach Cleanup! If the Travel Group wants to Time (Volunteer) then it is necessary to work closely with a local coordinator at the destination so that the time available and being donated is used wisely and ends up being a meaningful contribution to the destination community. Travel Groups need to discuss and decide how much of their vacation time will be spent in volunteer efforts. Some groups spend 100% of their vacation time in a destination working toward a cause while other groups may elect to spend only 50% of their time working for others. Each group is unique in this regard and should make decisions about this ahead of time so that all travelers understand the expectations prior to getting involved.

    How Can My Family or Travel Group Contribute in Cozumel?
    ACS is now Cozumel Volunteer ConnectionCozumel is fortunate to have a growing community of organizations that serve as social and environmental stewards of the island. But for travelers coming from other countries, it’s often difficult to get connected to these organizations where donations and impact can be made.

    Cozumel Volunteer Connection can help families and other travel groups organize a meaningful vacation with a purpose here in Cozumel.

    Click here to read more about Cozumel Volunteer Connection!

    Click here to see what Cozumel Volunteer Connection can do for your Travel Group!

    How Can My Family or Travel Group Contribute in Other Parts of the World?

    Working Together We CAN Make a Difference! Click here to read more about Volunteer Opportunities Around the World!

    What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us.
    What we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.

    Albert Pike (33rd Degree Mason and head of the Southern Masonic
    Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry 1800’s)

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