8 Powerful Reasons to Consider Family International Volunteer Trips with Kids

family travel stewardship of family volunteer trips Jan 09, 2023
Weichel Family – Machu Picchu

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

ROMANS 8: 38-39


As evidenced by this blog, our family loves to travel. While our trips have taken us to a myriad of places around the world, some of the specific journeys we’ve taken have been less about pleasure and more about giving of ourselves and our family to the world. Not exactly your typical vacations – these unique opportunities are family international volunteer trips with kids, and we have been blessed to travel to Peru, Costa Rica, and South Africa this way. Are you considering Considering A Volunteer Trip?

We know what you’re thinking: With little kids? Spending all that money and time? Really? But honestly, these have been some of the most memorable trips we have ever experienced and our children have greatly benefited from them. Here are a few reasons you may want to consider a trip like this with your family.


1. Family International Volunteer Trips with Kids should be for the glory of God.

If God blesses you with the time, financial capabilities, and desire to travel, this is one way to use all of those gifts together to serve others and steward His blessings in gratitude and thankfulness. We recognize that most people in the world do not have these kinds of opportunities, and we want to use our time and money in ways that give God glory, praise, and honor. This isn’t all about what we want to do with our resources: It’s about how we can use those resources for His Kingdom.

2. Pointing others to Christ.

When we travel on family international volunteer trips with kids, we meet many people we would never have had the opportunity to interact with in our daily lives or local community. Whether we’re on an airplane, in a hotel, or traveling by van, there are numerous opportunities to connect with people from various nations and backgrounds.

As we reflect our faith through our words and actions, we have the chance to share – either directly or indirectly – the reality of Jesus and what He has done for His people. This doesn’t stop when we return home either. Non-believing friends and family often are interested to hear about our trips abroad, and sharing our memories gives us ample time to share the truth of the Gospel with them.

3. Explore the created world.

God has given us a world whose creation displays the reality of His presence and character. What a blessing during these family international volunteer trips with kids to be able to experience and see other parts of His creation that are so different from our own small corner of the world! The creativity, variety, and beauty of the earth are a blessing to behold for both parents and children as we experience and discover unique natural phenomena and differing languages and cultures.

4. Working together as a family.

A family international volunteer trip with kids means you’ll be working, not lounging, as a family in another country. Attacking projects together and pulling as a team is an incredible bonding experience and helps enforce the importance of a good work ethic to your children. Kids can see the value in using their physical gifts to give back to others.

Working together creates an environment of dependency because you must successfully complete a task as one. This teaches the importance of family teamwork and unity, creates unique experiences and memories, and helps children understand the importance of sharing their abilities for the benefit of others.

5. The “extra fun” stuff.

While many rewards come from doing volunteer work together, you will also have the opportunity to have fun as a family during family international volunteer trips with kids. Build into your schedule time to experience foods, sites, and cultural traditions that are unique to that part of the world. In South Africa, we got to see the Cape of Good Hope and swim with wild penguins. In Peru, we toured Machu Picchu and the salt mines. In Costa Rica, we soaked in hot springs and saw the raw power of erupting volcanoes. Each special site was incredible!

6. Learning together.

Obviously, the opportunities to learn new skills on these family international volunteer trips with kids are unique and always useful. But there are other educational opportunities that families can take advantage of as well. You can study the country you’ll be traveling to: their cultures, languages, history, diet, and customs. Are there social graces you need to learn? Are there some phrases that would be beneficial to know? How will you communicate with a language barrier? Lots of research can (and should) be done before you travel, and getting your kids involved is a great way to educate them before you ever step foot onto an airplane.

7. Giving thanks with a grateful heart.

Traveling to other parts of the world always leaves us with a new and profound appreciation for what we’ve been given. We are blessed in ways that other individuals and families haven’t been, and we can return home with a new perspective of the life we live and the responsibilities and privileges we have.

8. A bonus: Tax deduction.

If you are working with an organization based out of the United States, any expenses directly related to your volunteer work will be tax-deductible. This includes any program fees, travel expenses, meals, etc. (Expenses purely for enjoyment or entertainment would not be tax-deductible.) Learn more on the FAQ page of Globe Aware which is the organization that has coordinated the trips we have been on.

Personal Story

We went on our first family international volunteer trip with kids as a family to Peru in 2017. Our youngest was only two years old! It was an amazing trip, and we had tremendous experiences that created lifelong family memories. One day we went to a remote mountain village (the views were incredible!) and delivered some toothbrushes and apples to children in a preschool. The kids were extremely excited and grateful. We also helped build mud stoves in several houses. The appreciation and excitement we saw in those we helped were so humbling.  

Later in our trip, we were able to visit Machu Picchu. What a fantastic example of God’s beautiful creation! We were also stunned by the detailed work accomplished by ancient peoples before the age of industry.

Our trip to Peru was so positive that we have tried to go on at least one international volunteer trip as a family every year. These have come to be some of our most anticipated trips. We know that we will be working hard, but the effort will be well worth it, and the experiences and memories made on these journeys truly will last a lifetime.

While many families don’t see the point in taking young children to another part of the world, we have found that doing so has given our family some surprising blessings. Being able to share our faith with others and give our time and money for God’s glory is a way that we can express gratitude and obedience to our Creator.

These journeys have allowed our family to work, learn, and play together in ways that are always memorable and unique. The world seems bigger and smaller all at once, and these trips never fail to leave us with a sense of thankfulness and joy for the great blessings we’ve been given in grace. We cannot recommend this type of travel highly enough. If you get the opportunity, we urge you to take a chance and see what bountiful blessings may come of it.

Are you excited to do more traveling with your family. Check out these 4 Wonderful Keys to Traveling with Kids.

Key Points

  • Many families don’t consider going on family international volunteer trips with kids, but they have been very rewarding and memorable.
  • This is a great way to point others to Jesus and use the time, finances, and physical gifts that God has blessed you with to serve others and give God glory.
  • There are additional tax benefits to these trips that can aid in your family’s Christian financial stewardship.

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