Especially for those of you who live in the US, this is a great time to explore the US and discover the wonders in store. (Even if you live in the UK or elsewhere, the US is still a good option, if you can accept a quarantine period when you return home).
In a post-lockdown world, some of the positive outcomes are increased interest in being sustainable and looking out for others, being caring and compassionate. These are fantastic and their effects for a brighter world future are not to be taken lightly. And you can travel this way, sustainably, compassionately, even in the US.
Here are some ideas:
1. Head to New Orleans and renovate homes damaged by hurricane
You can make homes liveable that have been derelict for years and help families have the security of a home.
On the morning of Monday, August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall. The most severe loss of life occurred in New Orleans, Louisiana, which flooded as the levee system catastrophically failed.
Eventually 80% of the city and large tracts of neighboring parishes became flooded, and the floodwaters lingered for weeks.
At least 1,836 people lost their lives in the hurricane and in the subsequent floods. Total damage was $81 billion. Ten years on, re-building work continues, and lives are still dislocated.
You can play a part in helping the largely neglected, lower-income areas be restored, by assisting in the renovation and refurbishment of houses – beautifying them and restoring community pride.
The people of New Orleans are among the friendliest you will find anywhere, and spending time getting to know them through your volunteering is sure to be a highlight you will treasure. In addition, the city itself is full of architectural and cultural treasures, which your local guide will be only too pleased to show you.
Stay at sustainable luxe Jung Hotel on Canal Street.
2. Restore coastal habitats in the Bay Area, San Francisco
Help restore unique San Francisco coastal habitat – plant, weed, maintain trails, collect seeds and more. You can help keep these areas beautiful.
The sites feature California coastal scrub, shifting sand dunes, and coastal prairies–all in the backyard of bustling San Francisco.
Over 100,000 plants have been planted, and plenty of work remains to be done to restore and maintain the native coastal ecosystems of this fabulous city.
Volunteer activities focus on weeding in the Summer and planting in the winter, as well as seed collection, landscape beautification, and trail maintenance. Leave the concrete jungle behind, work outside beside the shimmering Pacific Ocean and majestic Golden Gate Bridge.
Popular ways to round out your trip to California include hiking in Yosemite or Lake Tahoe, driving the legendary Big Sur, or savoring fine wine in Napa or Sonoma. Stay at Cavallo Point Lodge for eco-luxury style and bridge views.
3. Serve meals for the homeless in San Francisco
Prepare and serve healthy nourishing meals to those who need it most.
Help serve meals for a truly transformative experience. There are needs to help with the breakfast, prep, lunch, and dinner shifts. Your support allows 2,000 meals per day to be served to the San Francisco community members who rely on the meals program. You can assist with everything from serving food to bussing tables. Be prepared to roll up your sleeves and make some meaningful human connections.
Head to Alcatraz, drive down to Monterey and Carmel, or take a private tour of this fascinating city to complete your adventure. Enjoy eco-luxury in the heart of the city at the Fairmont.
4. Help disabled horse riders in Dallas
Riding for the Disabled is an incredible organization that focuses on the amazing benefits of equine therapy to bring lasting change to the lives of disabled people.
For example, the warmth and three-dimensional movement of the horse is transmitted through the rider’s body, gradually making the rider more relaxed and supple, reducing spasms and improving their balance, posture and co-ordination. These sessions are designed to enhance and improve physical, psychological and social abilities as well as provide recreational and educational opportunities.
“We’ve seen today kids that are in a wheelchair, be able to get out of that wheelchair and get onto a horse, and have that mobility, a huge smile on their face, and just have the time of their lives,” a volunteer said.
“What Riding for the disabled does is just entirely unique. It’s a brilliant way to really help people who have intellectual or physical disabilities… You only have to look around and see how happy they are doing it, to see how good it is and what a positive impact it’s had on their lives.”
You can help in a variety of ways that includes horse interaction, stall cleaning and the opportunity to get your hands dirty with horticulture and facility projects.
You get to learn more about the human-horse bond that is created each day – and the positive results that are impacting the quality of life for over 1,200 clients annually. Horse trail rides along the Trinity River Corridor are also available on the neighbouring ranch.
Dallas has a lot to offer, as does Texas as a whole, such as Austin with its music scene, charming San Antonio and the Alamo, or head into the wilderness and explore Big Bend whilst staying at the sublime Cibolo Creek ranch.
5. Care for the homeless in Miami
Volunteers are a vital part of providing all types of services in Miami. You can enrich the lives of the homeless men, women, and children that are being cared for throughout the year.
Not only are the homeless and needy touched by the compassion of our volunteers, but the volunteers’ lives are also touched. Serving others is one of life’s greatest privileges. Reaching out to the least, the last, and the lost in a personal way that says, “I care about you” also brings encouragement to our residents and staff. Whether it’s serving a meal, tutoring a student, or working with the youth – you make a difference.
Stay at one of the best examples of sustainable luxury: 1 Hotel South Beach and delight in the most happening part of this thrilling city.
Next, hit Key West in the Florida Keys for barefoot luxury and explore Dry Tortugas National Park for sensational snorkeling.
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.