Its the season for giving!

By now we’ve all been through the Black Friday sales and our holiday shopping lists are starting to come together. However, if you are planning some international travel over the holidays this year, it’s a great time to consider giving back to the communities that live in your vacation destination. An organization called Pack for a Purpose works with hotels around the globe that have pledged to support local schools or healthcare projects. You simply go to the website, pick your destination and the hotel that you are staying at, and decide what you can contribute from the list of requested supplies. Pack for a Purpose even gives you tips on how to pack the items most efficiently to maximize space in your luggage. Once you arrive in destination, just drop your donation off at your hotel.

Pack for a PurposeThe idea here is that if every traveler used just 5lbs of their luggage allowance to bring some useful supplies such as pencils, band-aids, and various other items; they could make a big impact to the communities of people that make the destination so special. It’s really a no brainer. You likely already keep about 5lbs of your luggage allowance free for any souvenirs your pick up during your trip.

Of course, this opportunity isn’t limited just to holiday travel. So you can choose to make a big impact during your vacation any time of the year. I plan to pack for a purpose on my upcoming trip to Providenciales, Turks and Caicos.

In future posts, I would love to discuss other ways that travelers can give back to the communities that they visit. This is something that is very near and dear to me. Not only does giving back enrich the places you travel, but it enriches your vacation experience as well.

Paradise on Providenciales, Turks and Caicos

Pier on Grace Bay Beach

Providenciales, Turks and Caicos.

It makes perfect sense to begin here, as this was where my career in travel got its start. Even more fitting, I’ll be returning to Turks and Caicos at the end of the month for my third stay on the island. I’ve been dreaming about this place all year!

It’s easy to understand why “Provo” made the #1 spot on the TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice list of “Top 25 Beach Destinations in the World” for the 2nd year in a row. Scuba divers flock to the crystal clear waters (I did my own first dive here!) and land-lubbers can’t get enough of the uncrowded beaches.

What is it that draws me to Provo? This is what draws me here:

Grace Bay Beach
This is perfection, in beach form!

The beach, the beach, the beach! Grace Bay Beach is 12-miles of perfection. Long stretches of sugary white sand and an endless ocean that looks like it has been painted from a watercolor artist’s palette of clear blues and turquoises combine to create my idea of paradise. This is a place for families to reconnect, lovers to rekindle their romance, divers and nature-lovers to explore, and for me to do some soul-searching.

My pick for home-away-from-home on Provo is Beaches Turks and Caicos. Other accommodations on the island include the ultra-luxe and elite Amanyara (the location for several Victoria’s Secret catalog shoots), The Regent Palm’s Turks and Caicos, a number of beach houses and villas, and even a Club Med.

Beaches Butler
Adam, the best butler at Beaches Turks and Caicos!

Let’s get back to Beaches Turks and Caicos though… This luxury-included family resort has it all. I typically spend most of my time on the beach, but there are a number of amazing pools and even a waterpark to enjoy. There’s also no shortage of places to eat. With 16 restaurants, this is one of the few resorts where you could stay for two whole weeks and still be hard-pressed to try them all.

Oh, and please don’t let me forget to mention the butlers. When you book into a butler serviced suite at this resort, you are pampered from the moment you step off of your airport shuttle to the moment you climb back on. I swear these guys can read minds. “Miss, I brought you another dirty banana.” How’d he know that was just what I wanted? My first butler, Adam, even remembered me from my initial visit to the resort and came to find me, just to say “Hi”, on my second.

The thing I’m most excited about on this coming trip (besides sharing the resort with friends) is that diving is included! This will be my first time to Turks and Caicos since I became certified, and I can’t wait to be in the water.

So, when are you going to visit Providenciales, Turks and Caicos?

Provo from the air
Providenciales from the air.. Yes, the water really is that blue!