Frequently Asked Questions about Luxury Family Volunteer Travel
Is this all work and no play?
Not at all – this is your vacation! All trips are 100% tailor-made for you and your family, and you choose how many days to help for, and how many days to relax, sightsee and explore. We are experts in preparing your whole package: accommodation, volunteering and sightseeing.
Do I have to rough it?
No. Our approach is to make volunteering accessible and safe, and focus on luxury accommodation throughout your trip, including the volunteering, where it can be important to have a calming solace to return to after a hard day of making a difference. We make your conscience even more clear by focusing where possible on eco-luxury properties.
Does luxury and volunteering make sense?
Yes. You work hard at home, and deserve to have a luxury vacation. And there is every reason why you can enjoy luxury accommodation whilst volunteering – the volunteering itself may well take you outside your comfort zone, and having the level of hotel that you are accustomed to at the end of the day, helps prepare and energize you to be at your best the next day.
Can you create a trip just for my family?
Absolutely! We love to create incredible trips that meet your exact requirements. You can read more about this by clicking here.
Why do you specialize in family travel?
Its a cliché, but the children are the future, and we want to help our clients instill admirable values such as service, conservation, caring for those less fortunate, and be inspired to be world changers.
From our own experience, we know how fantastic volunteering is for bringing families closer together, and want more families to participate in such a positive activity.
And also from experience, children from privileged backgrounds can take their fortunate circumstances for granted, and this can lead to undesirable outcomes in adulthood, so are committed to helping provide a safe context for families, where their children can discover first-hand how lucky they are.
We feel that the most appropriate projects for children are wildlife conservation ones, and with teenagers, you may also want to consider a building or renovation project, as these give the best insights into the local culture and life, providing meaningful interaction and engagement.
Why do you specialize in luxury travel?
There are many companies that cater for those on a budget who want to help, but we have taken a different approach, as we know that there are travelers who want to make a difference, and who want to retain their creature comforts. We have made volunteer travel accessible for travelers like this.
Our luxury focus also ties in to our family focus, as we know the importance of safety, and of getting a good nights sleep.
Do you only offer family trips?
No. Whilst family travel is our specialty, we are happy to help any luxury traveler who would like to make a difference, such as honeymooners, or a retired couple.
What is eco-luxury?
Eco-luxury is luxury hotels that care for the environment and their local community. Examples of practices include:
– generating their own electricity (such as from solar or wind)
– recycling all materials
– organic farming on premises
– reusing grey water (such as shower water being used to water plants)
– high levels of employment of the local community, including in management roles
Discover more here.
Why do the trips have no scheduled departure dates?
This is because the itineraries you see are only suggestions, which we expect to adapt to meet your exact requirements.
And if the itinerary as stated is exactly what you are looking for, you can choose your own departure dates! If there are two or more of you booking the price is as stated. Even if there is just yourself booking, we can run the trip for you, although a supplement generally applies.
Why are your trips priced as they are?
Our adventures are not the cheapest around, but we are confident that you will agree that they are good value, and money well-spent once you have participated in one. However, we know that we need to persuade you now, not after your trip, so here are some reasons:
- We invest a lot of time and money into ensuring that you are safe, in consulting with local communities to ensure that the volunteer work you are doing will be of benefit to them, and to providing you with enriching experiences that will last;
- We are committed to providing you with a truly excellent vacation – your satisfaction is our top priority;
- We include the costs of any materials used whilst volunteering in the trip price;
- We use only the best local guides, and we pay them above the market rate;
- The accommodation for most of our trips are at the 5* luxury level.
Also, if you would like to be put in touch with some of our existing clients to get their perspective, let us know by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org
How far in advance do I have to book?
For most destinations, booking 2-3 months in advance is sufficient, but a lot depends on the time of year and whether it is peak season in your chosen destination. It is possible to book with just a few days’ notice!
What are the ways to pay, and by when do I have to pay?
You can pay by credit card online or bank transfer. Paying by credit card incurs up to a 3% surcharge, depending on the type of card you use. These charges apply to debit cards as well. You can pay with a 20% deposit to secure your booking, with the balance due 60 days prior to your trip start-date.
How are the Volunteer Projects selected?
Our Volunteer Projects have been sourced through consultation with the local communities to identify in which ways a small group of foreigners without necessarily any specific skills could be of benefit to them.
I live in a city, how on earth can I help people in disadvantaged communities in a hands-on way?
With a positive attitude, yes! If you are able bodied or can speak conversational English, you will be amazed at how much you can do to make a difference in the lives of others in a short period of time. And, as the following answer shows, even your urban professional skills are able to be utilized with certain Community Development organisations!
I do have expertise (such as medical, engineering, construction, teaching, and IT) – can I use these skills?
In your registration form, you will be asked if you have any specific skills, and wherever possible, we will strive to ensure that you can put these to good use if you so desire. Even entrepreneurial, marketing, accounting and IT skills can be of great benefit.
I want to make a difference, but am not keen on budget accommodation – is this ok?
Absolutely. We recognize that for many of our guests, you appreciate having somewhere beautiful to return to at the end of a day’s volunteering. As such, we specialize in 5* luxury accommodation, including whilst you are volunteering.
Don’t I have to volunteer for weeks of months in order to be of benefit?
No. Naturally, the longer you volunteer, the better, and we hope that after travelling with Hands Up Holidays, you will be inspired to volunteer for longer periods of time (overseas or in your home town), but we have carefully selected projects in consultation with the communities that enable you to make a positive impact. What’s more, your trip price includes any costs associated with your volunteering (including administration time), so there is no concern about being a burden on the community.
Do I need specific skills to make a difference?
No, but if you do, tell us so we can enable you to use them!
Am I taking jobs away from the local people?
No. In fact, our model is the opposite: thanks to your donation, we employ local people to do most of the work to get a project completed, and to assist and supervise you while you are helping.
Is this just for students or youth?
No. In fact, families can have an amazing experience volunteering together, which is why we focus on family trips!
Are these volunteer projects just “window dressing”?
No. Because we consult with communities to ascertain what their needs are, the projects we offer are genuine, and you can be sure that you are in fact making a lasting difference.
Are international flights included in the price?
No, but we can arrange these for you in your chosen class. If your trip involves domestic flights, then these are generally included in the trip price.
Is my money safe with you?
Yes. Your funds are safe in a client trust account, which we cannot access until you return home.
Will I be safe?
Your safety is a primary concern for us, and we will take all reasonable steps to ensure that you are safe. We only go to areas with excellent track records for safety. However, no trip can be guaranteed to be one hundred per cent safe, and each guest must recognise that travel to developing countries is, in general, less safe than travel to developed countries. Hands Up Holidays has a 100% safety record.
What if I get sick?
Our pre-trip information pack will provide you with how to minimize the risk of falling ill, and our guides will also brief you on hygiene. Additionally, we strongly encourage you to take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover the event that you fall ill. This coverage should certainly include all medical-related expenses, and emergency air lifts where required.
If I am building a house, will it get completed in the time I am there?
The time allocated to building a house on each trip is expected to be sufficient to build a house when your donation is used to employ local experts to get the house in a state so that you can complete it in the time you have available.
Are there special dietary allowances, e.g. for vegetarians?
We will strive to meet any dietary requirements you may have, and will ask you to declare these on your booking form.
However, please bear in mind that your choice of meals may be considerably lower than what you are accustomed to in your home country.
Why is a police report required for some Volunteer Projects?
The safety of the people in the communities in which we care doing volunteer work is of major importance to us. Where the project involves significant time with children, one way of minimizing the risk to children is to the require a police report. If the police report reveals that there is a misconduct relating to children, the individual will not be permitted to participate.
Is there a minimum age?
People under 18 need to be accompanied by their parent or guardian.
Is there a maximum age?
No, but we do encourage you to realistically assess your fitness level, and for our more physical trips, you may be required to submit a medical certificate if you are over 60.
My days of backpacking are gone now – am I too old?
Not at all – as per the previous question, there is no maximum age, and because most of our trips are 5* accommodation, you can still make a difference whilst volunteering and have a good night’s sleep.