As poet and activist Maya Angelou has encouraged, we can all “be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.” And, today, a single act of kindness can go a long way in brightening up someone’s world. Additionally, research shows that encouraging children to be kind has a positive influence on many academic, health, and social outcomes, including increased self-esteem, motivation to learn, and resilience.
So why not incorporate an extra dose of cuteness into your next family vacation?
Here are five ideas to consider.
Pack an Attitude of Gratitude
Leave impatience and judgment behind and display an attitude of gratitude as you resume your journey. Lead with a smile and thank those you meet along the way. From harassed flight attendants, pilots, TSA agents and front desk staff to tour guides, bus drivers, restaurant servers and room attendants, encourage kids to say thank you whenever appropriate. Consider leaving a handwritten note or pencil drawing with your tip, an extra effort that’s sure to put a smile on the recipient’s face. If you loved your hotel stay or ranch experience, leave a note praising the entire team for a job well done.
Pay it forward
What goes around comes around. So nudge kindness in the right direction. Discuss (and model) how offering a seat or opening a door can be helpful. Encourage heavily laden people or parents handling a grumpy child to wait in line. Maybe a strong teenager can help a frail adult pull heavy luggage out of the overhead compartment. In line for a soda or a coffee? Pay quietly for someone in uniform, the elderly, or the frontline worker behind you in line. By simply taking note, the opportunities to extend kindness will multiply.
Pack for a purpose
Reserve some space in your luggage for books, clothes or school supplies that will make a difference in the lives of others in your destination.
The non-profit organization Pack For A Purpose works with hundreds of hotels and tour operators in dozens of countries to help travelers help those in need.
Whether you’re stuffing crayons, a deflated soccer ball, stethoscope, or pet supplies in your bags, you and your family will go home knowing you’ve helped spread kindness beyond your own great- yard.
For more information: www.Packfora goal.org
The people who power the travel and tourism industry continue to be among the hardest hit by our changing world. When planning your future vacation, discuss how the places you visit might be different or similar to your own home.
From near and far, immerse yourself in the culture and learn how and where the locals live, work and play.
Avoid the chains and look for local restaurants, shops and accommodations. Visit local farmers’ markets. If the language is not your own, learn at least a few key phrases and practice them before and during the visit.
With gas prices soaring, look to find out what’s appealing closer to home.
For more: www.AAA.com
Keep the planet in mind
Walk rather than ride. Cycle back and forth. Look for sustainable options. Turn off the lights when you leave. To recycle. Reuse. Stay on the trail. Keep the beach clean. Put the trash in the right places. Leave no traces. Taking care of the planet is another way of taking care of each other. For more information, visit www.lnt.org.
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