The Vacation Project
Think back on your last vacation … What do you remember most? Was it the beach? The time with friends & family? The food? The discovery of a new culture?
The beauty of travel is that it brings so much to the traveler - whether it be through relaxation, fun, or self-discovery…. But how often do the travelers actually give back to the destination?
This question haunted NYC resident and avid traveler Lindsay Bradley. She found herself constantly discovering new places & cultures, but with no way to contribute anything back to those communities, and she tried & failed to find volunteer opportunities that fit within the vacation constraints of her job.
It was while discussing these frustrations with her friends one night that THE VACATION PROJECT was born. TVP is a group travel company that creates itineraries that combine travel, fun, and service. Each trip has a focus on sustainability from the lodging they offer to the projects they work on. Each itinerary also has a local guide around the age of the travelers to show the group off-the-beaten path, local spots & experiences. The second half of the trip is spent working on a project with a local NGO. TVP has vetted each NGO that they partner with and through these relationships have been granted access to unique volunteer experiences. For example, working on projects that don’t typically accept volunteers or require longer minimum time commitments.
“We believe that you don’t have to give up having fun on your vacation if you also want to do some good,” says co-founder Mitchell Roy. As young professionals themselves, the founders of THE VACATION PROJECT know how precious vacation days are. The itineraries maximize the days & activities so travelers feel like they’ve had fun, but have also done some good, learned about a new culture, and seen a side of a country that most tourists will never see.
In addition to Nicaragua and Costa Rica, one of the trips that TVP is offering will take place in Morocco over New Years Eve 2018. The itinerary is being planned in partnership with a local Moroccan that co-founder Charlotte Bergin met & became friends with when she traveled there last year. “One of the best parts of my Morocco trip was having Simo- who was our Airbnb host at the time - take us out to cool restaurants & places that we never would have known about if we were reading guide books or doing research on the internet,” says Charlotte. THE VACATION PROJECT is recreating this for their travelers, with Simo acting as the official guide & steward for the upcoming group that will be descending on Marrakech in December.
The group will also be working on a service project in partnership with THE VACATION PROJECT’s NGO partner The High Atlas Foundation. TVP Travelers will spend 4 days in a small, rural community in the High Atlas Mountains, staying in the home of a local family and working on projects such as building irrigation systems or working on sustainable farming methods.
“Hopefully we can make a small impact on the world by helping out these local NGOs, but more importantly by exposing our travelers to the true cultures & communities of the places they visit,” says co-founder Lindsay Bradley. THE VACATION PROJECT doesn’t aim to solve world peace, but the founders hope that by hosting these trips, their travelers can have a valuable experience that benefits a local community, fosters civility at home and abroad, and changes them as an individual.
If this sounds interesting to you, THE VACATION PROJECT still has a few spots open on it’s NYE 2018 trip to Morocco -- check out their website to find out more, and don’t forget to follow them on Instagram (@thevacationproject.co) to stay up to date on upcoming trips!
Seas the day!
Written by, Lindsay Bradley