The top 5 destinations to make your New Year's resolutions a reality

Welcome to 2020! Have you made your resolutions? Popular resolutions relate to becoming a better person, being more generous and showing concerns for others, living life to the fullest, being more environmentally aware, or spending more time with your friends and family.

Of course these are fantastic. What would you think if you knew that you could fulfil these New Year’s Resolutions on a luxury holiday? Well, you can. Here are the top 5 destinations where you can do just that:

5. Build a disabled-accessible bathroom for a paraplegic in Bali

As Bali is a Hindu island, if someone is born disabled there, it is considered “bad karma”, and paraplegics, especially those in the outer villages where we operate, are all too often hidden away from view, living a lonely, isolated existence, only interacting with family members.

By installing a bathroom, you imbue the individual with a sense of dignity and independence that he/she has never felt before, especially in a facet of life that is so private – the impact on their life is profound. You can be the change.

Recommended sustainable eco-luxury lodging: Amankila

4. Install a stove for a Mayan family in Belize

You can fulfil your New Year’s Resolution to help others by installing an eco-friendly stove in the home of a Mayan family.

These stoves are great because:
a. They are enclosed so eliminate burns due to open flames
b. They have a chimney to expel the smoke so respiratory problems such as asthma are much reduced
c. They are much more fuel efficient so are better for the environment

Recommended sustainable eco-luxury lodging: Copal Tree Lodge

3. Build a home for a family ravaged by HIV in Zambia

You can live life to the fullest by building a home for a widow and her children. HIV continues to kill in Zambia, and families still lose one or both parents. In the case of when both parents die, grandparents become saddled with the responsibility of raising the children; caring for 15 grandchildren is not uncommon, and places a huge burden on them, as you can imagine. A decent home is beyond the financial means of these families by simply reducing leaks.


A home that doesn’t leak and is better insulated means children are healthier and sick less often, so are absent from school less, and thus are better educated. This gives them a better chance of securing a well-paying job and breaking the cycle of poverty.

Recommended sustainable eco-luxury lodging: Tongabezi Lodge

2. Conserve wildlife in Costa Rica

Environmental conservation is of increasing concern; beloved species are losing numbers at alarming rates, so why not resolve to do your bit and conserve them in 2020?

In Costa Rica you can help at a wildlife rescue centre: preparing meals for monkeys, sloths and parrots, hand feeding them, creating enrichments to stimulate them, and learning an enormous amount about these fascinating animals.

Recommended sustainable eco-luxury lodging: Tabacon Resort

1. Fund an arts scholarship for a promising Aboriginal student in Australia

Preserving indigenous cultures is a challenge of UNESCO proportions, no less so in Australia, where Aboriginal art, though acclaimed worldwide, still struggles to be passed on to the next generation. You can play a part in solving this by creating a scholarship for a promising Aboriginal arts student, and in return, you can have an exclusive encounter with an established Aboriginal artist, from whom you can commission your own unique work of art.

Recommended sustainable eco-luxury lodging: Longitude 131

Be the change

2020 can be the year that your resolutions get fulfilled whilst travelling… and you will find that you are more fulfilled in the process.

Christopher Hill is Founder and CEO at Hands Up Holidays. Hands Up Holidays is an award-winning travel company specialising in tailor-made luxury family trips that combine sightseeing with hands-on service projects.

If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

Comments (12)

  1. Sheila says:

    Generally I am quite cynical about New Year Resolutions, I think people usually bite off more than they can chew. Just because the year increments by one doesn’t mean that you will become a better person!

    Though I think it’s different with these activities. There’s a much stronger motivation when you are helping others be they human or animal. This is such a range of great causes that I feel they would be brilliant resolutions to make.

    • Suzy Willis says:

      Sheila I get you point about New Year’s resolutions. Doing something for other people who really need your help has a much better chance of success.

      Let’s face it most of our resolutions in the First World are largely self oriented such as losing weight or stopping drinking. Also in most countries you are trying to change at the worst time of the year. It’s cold, dark, you are poor after Christmas and it’s ages until your next holiday!

  2. Bob says:

    There are some great projects here but I worry about whether they need any level of practical skills. For instance, installing the boiler for a family in Belize sounds a bit technical as does building a house! I wouldn’t want to be a burden and get in the way.

    • Great point Eric – it is essential to be a benefit and not a burden.
      Fortunately the stoves are very simple to build, and just like with house building, we always employ local experts to supervise and handle any tricky bits (as it is your funding to make the project happen is the main benefit you are bringing, but YOU benefit from the interaction, insights and engagement with the local people that are typical luxury holiday can’t offer.

  3. Steve Nicholson says:

    I never know that UNESCO also took on responsibility for looking after people too. I thought that they just kept an eye open for buildings, monuments etc that they thought ought to be preserved.

    God knows that the Aborogines need looking after. That’s a great cause. All these fires won’t be helping.

    • Hi Steve,
      UNESCO encourages the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity.
      But this experience isn’t really about ‘looking after’ the Aboriginal people – it is more about providing the means for their talents to flourish and creating a setting for engagement.
      For sure yes – the fires are not helping.

    • Grace says:

      Yes, we have to be very careful of how we see and speak of indigenous peoples. Those two words “looking after” hint that First World attitudes can be patronising. Though few people would deny the need for us to care about the plight of the Aborigines. You are right in saying that we need actions and generosity to help the people on their way to independence and self sufficiency. Once I spoke to a UN Aid Advisor and she was very concerned about people’s attitudes to the projects that she supervised in Africa. There was an assumption that these would be long term projects whilst she and the African people saw them as starter projects. It’s the old “Give a man a fish” story.

    • Yes indeed – the “give a man a fish” adage is a powerful one and is essential for long term sustainability.

  4. Charlotte says:

    I do wish these kinds of things were longer lived rather than one offs, but at least it’s something and every little helps. If you can be anything in this world, be kind. A little compassion can go a long way, so these are wonderful ideas. I’m glad you don’t have to be donating lump sums if you can’t afford it but you can instead get hands on to make a difference.

    • Thanks Charlotte,
      Though it is important to bear in mind that the funds travellers provide to make a project a reality are critical, so some means are required, even if it is not tens of thousands of pounds.

  5. Amanda says:

    I was sort of expecting a different approach to reading this article. I was in Bali twice over the last year and I never really considered any kind of volunteer activity, until reading this. I’m surprised about how somebody with a disability might be treated there. So an activity like helping them out at home is very heartwarming. And I’ve always wanted to visit Costa Rica. Helping out at a wildlife rescue center sounds like a once in a lifetime opportunity there!

  6. Hi Amanda,
    Heartwarming is an apt description – you would love it!
    Out of interest, what approach were you expecting?

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