Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus…with a bag full of mission trips over Christmas break! Not quite the carol you’re well accustomed to, but why not? Waiting until spring break for your next getaway is so ‘90s. Winter mission trips are an excellent time to get out of dodge while exercising your altruistic side.
While you most likely have more vacation time to spare, this is a great reason to take a break from the harsh realities of winter. Looking to avoid those holiday obligations? Or maybe the opposite — you might want to take a break with your loved ones. Winter mission trips are like Christmas carols, gift giving, and that Christmas dinner spread, all wrapped in one.
Wondering how to weather that next winter storm? Why not a white sand beach? A Christmas mission trip with your friends and family might be the best idea you’ve ever had. A little bit of Christmas cheer far, far from here! Take your holiday plans to the next level. Make the acme of this holiday season your trip abroad for a real good cause. Whether you call it a mission trip or volunteering, there are affordable options to turn idle curiosity into a reality.
What is a Christmas mission trip?
The purpose of such trips are to give your time and maybe some of your know-how to a community or population in need. While receiving has become such a staple to this season, forget not the giving end of things too!
A Christmas or winter mission trip is, well, a mission trip over your holiday break around the end of the year. Whether you celebrate Christmas, don’t believe in any sort of holiday, or you live near the beach, it doesn’t matter. The idea is to spend roughly two to four weeks volunteering for a cause.
While there isn’t some magic formula for what makes a stellar mission trip over Christmas break, there are some organizations that might be able to make your winter dreams abroad come true. Ideally, you’d begin in December — you know, that time after exams, a week or two before the reindeer stop by, and perhaps ring in the new year in (volunteering) style.
5 cool (and cheap) Christmas mission trips
Spend your Christmas mission trip at wildlife rescue centers, wildlife sanctuaries, wildlife reserves, or animal shelters with GoEco. This top-rated and award-winning program provider offers over 60 different placements worldwide in the realm of wildlife and animal conservation.
Whether you want to get up close and personal with sloths in Costa Rica, take part in a monkey rehabilitation project in Malawi, or collect data while diving with the sharks in Mozambique, you’re sure to find something to make your holiday unforgettable.
GoEco adheres to strict ethical standards when it comes to their participants and the animals. No worries here — this isn’t a bunch of monkey business. This is an excellent opportunity to work with both domestic and wild species. Two-week programs start at $910.
2. Education and Development with Iko Poran
Take your holidays abroad with cheap volunteer programs in Asia, Africa, and Latin America with Iko Poran. As one of the world’s most affordable and top-rated program providers, you might not find options that are a better value.
So these programs are affordable. Does that mean something’s missing? What’s the kicker? The reality is that there isn’t one. The affordability of programs is due in part to the direct partner relationships that Iko Poran has established; they work with the folks that you’ll be working with in-country.
Included in these minimal fees is airport pickup, orientation, accommodation, meals (in most destinations), support from the office staff, program supervision, in-country 24/7 support throughout your program, in-country administration costs and donation to support your local projects. Wowza! Two-week programs start at $350 (plus a $149 application processing fee).
3. Tenerife Whale & Dolphin Conservation with Frontier
Spend your winter mission trip on the southwest coast of Tenerife, the largest of Spain’s Canary Islands. This volcanic island is one of the world’s top destinations for whale and dolphin watching, but this experience will be much more active than that!
Volunteer along the locals taking part in a longitudinal data-collection project promoting marine conservation in the wider region. This hands-on experience will allow you to make a valuable contribution to the community.
In tandem with volunteering, you should also enjoy the incredible, breathtaking beaches along with the unforgettable night life! This locale is one of Spain’s top destinations. This unconventional holiday would certainly be an unforgettable one. Programs start at $250 per week.
Projects Abroad offers a handful of hands-on medical and healthcare opportunities in and around Nepal’s capital of Kathmandu. We did say cool Christmas mission trips, didn’t we? At the foothills of Mt. Everest, find yourself taking part in social and health development projects focusing on the provision of medicine and healthcare to underprivileged Nepalese.
Participants can choose from a variety of project placements which include hospitals and rehabilitation centers for disabled children in the Kathmandu Valley. Are you a medical student or on track to become another sort of healthcare professional? You could be placed at the country’s main teaching hospital, which is the largest building in Nepal, where the whole gamut of healthcare services are provided. It’s located in Chitwan which is also known as the country’s medical city.
This is an excellent opportunity to learn from the National Health System while gaining legitimate healthcare experience in a diverse, foreign environment. Beyond your daily commitment, you’ll have the opportunity to discover the lively and bustling capital city where the charms of Nepal are around nearly every corner.
Looking for funding? Asking companies is a relevant option to funding your campaign. Have a gander at this list of companies which might be able to give you a hand. Their one-week programs start at ~$1,500.
Spend your holiday in the lively, resilient city of Tacloban in the Philippines. Here you can live with a friendly host family while working with children who have been rescued from a local dumpsite. This real-world opportunity will allow you to be in the center of Filipino culture while having a direct impact on the local community.
Tacloban is a bustling city which is (proudly) recovering from the 2013 Typhoon which devastated the area increasing the existing complex situations. Volunteer for the Visayans is a tried and true organization which has been successfully welcoming volunteers from all over the world for years.
An organization run by locals, you will be sure to get the real deal out of this opportunity. In addition to working with the local’s youth, there are many other projects which you can get involved in increasing your exposure to more rural communities on the outskirts of the city. An hour flight from the capital of Manila, you will certainly have fun in the Philippines. One-week programs start at ~$300.
Use FundMyTravel to give your mission a boost!
Short on cash but have all the right intentions? Perhaps direct your search towards countries where your money is worth the most. While you’re at it, add funding for your winter mission trip to your Xmas list. It may or may not work!
If the chances are slim, use FundMyTravel to help make it rain, snow, or simply get funds in your eager-to-help hands.
While you’re thinking about funding, here are some festive holiday-themed donation incentive ideas to help get your gears spinning. Because who doesn’t love a little holiday cheer?
You’re in for some holly jolly winter mission trips
Make this holiday season an unforgettable, bright, and merry one. Forget the gifts and that poor tree. Treat yourself to a mission trip in lieu of your traditional holiday festivities. With some helpful program and funding suggestions, you’re sure to find a situation that will suit your fancy. Whether you’re off to the North Pole or South America, here’s to a happy holiday season! Why not deck the halls with Christmas mission trips ideas!?