“For it is in the giving that we receive.” – St. Francis of Assisi
After a couple announces their engagement, they spend the months before their wedding being showered with love, good wishes, happiness and excitement. Between engagement parties, showers, bachelor and bachelorette parties, the rehearsal dinner, and the actual wedding, the couple’s proverbial champagne flutes will be full to the brim with appreciation. In the spirit of this gratitude, many newlyweds plan a honeymoon that incorporates charity. There are many options to choose from to make your honeymoon not only a romantic starting point for your married life but also a meaningful and altruistic trip that will enrich the lives of others.
Booking Your Honeymoon
One way to help is by booking your honeymoon through a charitable travel agent. Travel for Charity offers the same great flight, hotel and car-rental rates you can get on any online booking site, but it donates 30 percent of the commission to a different charity each month. Its website includes information about the charity so you will know exactly who you are helping. Visit travelforcharity.com for more information.
Booking Your Hotel
Charitable Hotels is America’s first nonprofit travel agency. It offers the same price for hotels as all the major online booking sites but donates the commission from your booking to charity. Charitable Hotels is unique because, rather than just donating to one specific organization, it allows you to choose from a list of almost 50 different charities from all over the country. Visit charitablehotels.org for more information.
There are many companies that organize trips in which your vacation is combined with volunteer activities. Kaya Honeymoons offers volunteer journeys to Africa, Asia or Latin America. Their packages include private room options and even luxury accommodations to give you the best of both worlds. For example, couples who choose Walk with Lions in Zimbabwe (which is working to breed strong lions to be released in the wild) will help to rear and walk young lion cubs, prepare food and clean their enclosures. Support Women and Children of Nepal involves volunteering in a rural Nepal community, helping an extremely impoverished population of women and children. These and many other options can be found at honeymoonvolunteers.com.
Donate Frequent Flyer Miles
If your honeymoon is taking you on a long journey to a faraway, exotic location, consider donating the airline miles you rack up to Hero Miles. This organization provides free round-trip airline tickets to wounded, injured and ill service members and/or their families who are undergoing treatment at a military or VA medical center. If you’re having a destination wedding, consider telling your guests about this worthy cause and suggest that they too donate their miles in honor of your happy day. Visit fisherhouse.org/programs/hero-miles for more information.
Taking a cruise can be a wonderful way to spend your honeymoon. It’s relaxing, luxurious and pretty much stress free. However, if you are searching for a more unique way to use your vacation, many cruise lines now offer volunteer opportunities in the various ports where they dock. Luxury cruise line Crystal Cruises, for example, started the You Care We Care program almost a decade ago. They offer free shore excursions in many of their ports of call that allow guests and crew to get directly involved in worthwhile causes. The nature of volunteering varies depending on where the ship is docked, and may include activities such as working with children’s charities, helping with land conservation projects, assisting at a food bank, caring for animals at a shelter and more. Visit crystalcruises.com/about-us-you-care-we-care for more information.
Your honeymoon marks the beginning of your life as a married couple. Make it all the more meaningful and memorable by giving back.