One program helps travelers feed the homeless in Italy. // © 2017 Hands up Holidays
Feature image (above): Costa Rica has opportunities for working with wildlife. // © 2017 iStock
An alternative to the traditional honeymoon, “honeyteering,” or volunteer honeymoons, is a trend that’s growing in popularity. These experiences give newlyweds the chance to make a difference and bond over their passion for helping others while exploring cultural sites and local attractions in their dream destination.
Companies that arrange volunteer honeymoons offer different levels of adventure, custom itineraries and choice of accommodation, ranging from basic camping to eco-luxury resorts. From teaching kids in Thailand to protecting African wildlife, here are five unique honeyteering experiences that will change a couple’s life — and the lives of those they help — forever.
Protect Lions in Zimbabwe
Help secure the survival of one of Africa’s most regal creatures: the lion. During this unique experience in Zimbabwe’s Antelope Park, guests will have their choice of a private luxury riverside lodge or an on-site safari tent, accompanied by daily chef-cooked meals. The park serves as the central base for the program, which enlists volunteers to collect data, walk lions, research prides, prepare meals and assist with other tasks. Participants will also be able to observe and interact with elephants, horses and other wildlife roaming around the park.
Build Homes for Fijian Youth
While vacationing in the tropics, couples can also pitch in by helping to build a bunk-room at a home for at-risk youth in Fiji. Free time is used for island adventures such as kayaking, snorkeling, diving and ziplining through the rainforest, followed by relaxation on a secluded outer island in an eco-luxury resort.
Preserve Costa Rican Wildlife
Clients can lend a hand to protect the biodiversity of Central American wildlife by constructing and repairing shelters for animals illegally kept as pets, in addition to preparing seedlings for reforestation. They will also observe turtle hatchlings, howler monkeys, sloths and ocelots while participating in a series of fun activities, such as exploring Arenal Volcano, hiking and whitewater rafting along the Pacuare River. They’ll end the day by slumbering in an eco-luxe boutique accommodation.
Feed the Homeless in Italy
Couples can serve home-cooked meals and hand out clothing and other essentials to homeless immigrants and Italians in Rome. They will also have the chance to explore the art scene in Florence; go on a gastronomy tour of Tuscany; bask on the beaches of the Amalfi Coast and Capri; and enjoy the ultimate romantic retreat together in Venice, the City of Love.
Teach Kids in Thailand
Make an impact on the minds of young children in the “Land of Smiles” by teaching and providing mentorship. All guests will stay in upscale lodging throughout their tour of Thailand, which will include stops at Bangkok’s palaces and temples, snorkeling and diving at Phang Nga’s beautiful beaches in the south and a luxury overnight cruise to the ancient capital of Ayuthaya.