How to be nicer, and have fun too
Does travel make us nicer people? According to a 2016 study on the connection between spending on experiences (versus material things) and gratitude & giving, it sure does. Experiences like travel, cultural arts events and eating out are likely to generate gratitude, and when we are grateful, we are kinder toward others. In our book thatâ€™s a win-win.
Travel allows us to have a fantastic experience that promotes kindness to ourselves and our families, and it pays that self-kindness forward by creating good feelings toward others. Isnâ€™t it time to unplug from work and take in some new sights and experiences? Here are just a few ways you can take the getaway/gratitude connection one step further with a family vacation that combines fun and volunteerism:
Heading to the gorgeous canyons of Utah to take in the beautiful views, and get your blood pumping with mountain biking and hiking trails galore?
Keep that good-for-your heart, good-for-your soul vibe going with a visit to the Best Friends Sanctuary â€” the nationâ€™s largest no-kill shelter, home to about 1600 dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, horses, pigs, goats and more. According to their website nearly 30,000 people visit each year to tour and meet the animals.
Best friends animal sanctuary Photo by The Haslup Girls (cc:flickr)
Beyond taking a tour of the shelter, there are plenty of opportunities to volunteerÂ while staying on property or nearby. Located just 30 minutes from Zion National Park, you can help while you visit for a day or two (or more!) at one of their on-property accommodations and RV sites, or in nearby Kanab. Thereâ€™s no shortage of ways to help including cleaning cages, taking a dog for a hike or, our favorite â€” an overnight visit with a deserving dog or cat. We promise, youâ€™ll leave this beautiful spot feeling like youâ€™ve given and received plenty of feel-good energy from the animals and fellow volunteers. For more on Best Friends, check out this Katie Couric World 3.0 video.
IMG_5588 Photo by Megan (cc:flickr)
Planning a family trip to central Floridaâ€™s Disney World and Universal Studios theme parks?
Build an extra day or two into your trip to take a break from all the lines and rides to slow down and volunteer at Give Kids the World VillageÂ â€” â€œa 79 acre non-profit resort in Central Florida that provides weeklong, cost-free vacations to children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.â€
Give Kids The World Village Photo by Kurtis Michael Media (cc:flickr)
We donâ€™t know a better way to share with your kids the values of kindness, empathy and doing for others, not to mention gratitude for health. For an example list of onsite volunteerÂ opportunities for adults and kids aged 12 years and older, click here. Whether itâ€™s something so simple as greeting an arriving family at the airport with a sign made especially for a child, assisting with the operation of a carousel, or scooping ice cream in the resortâ€™s ice cream shop â€” itâ€™ll all make you and your older children feel so good…and grateful.
give kids 056 Photo by Katie (cc:flickr)
For more on how spending money on experiences makes you a better person, read Time.comâ€™s recent Money article. Then, see this list of 10 best family volunteering vacations from USA Today. There are so many great places and causes waiting to be graced with your presence!
If you want to find out for yourself how travel makes us nicer people, but you arenâ€™t sure how to finance a getaway, look to us for a vacation loan. One of our Destination Anywhere loans can help you get anywhere your heart desires. Apply nowÂ and see how quick and easy it is. Funds can be deposited in your vacation account in as quickly as one business day after approval â€” and thatâ€™s when you can set your sights on the place youâ€™ve been dreaming of.