Turning away from the abundance of our lives, this is the time of year we focus more on ways we can enrich other people’s existence. Besides modeling this kindness for our children, we can show them we support travel-related businesses that take care of the community and contribute jobs. These enterprises make it their mission to help locals throughout the year and, by supporting them, we act as an extension of their efforts.
Home Is Where the Heart Is
Although the beauty of the Dominican Republic draws visitors from all over the world, it is a different reality for some of the locals living and working on the Caribbean island. Many struggle to get by and live in rickety dwellings. The Hilton La Romana, an all-inclusive luxury resort located by Bayahibe Beach, couldn’t sit by and watch employees struggle. The resort periodically chooses an employee with an extraordinary commitment to their workplace and builds them a home. Yes, they construct an entirely new home in a nice neighborhood close to work for the hard worker. Because the spirit of giving is so contagious, the resort allows guests to get in on the fun by placing donation boxes around the property for them to leave behind possessions or bring school supplies to donate. All this in between indulging at the Hilton La Romanathe’s full-service spa, being guided through a meditation while getting manicured and just enjoying the ocean or surrounding jungle.
Flying to Higher Skies
An organization centered on facilitating the volunteer experience, Points of Light puts out a yearly summary of the top corporate contributors to charities and celebrates the company’s overall commitment to helping. This year, Delta Air Lines was on the Civic 50 for the mind-boggling number of projects they execute to makes this world a cleaner and happier place. One of the goals: cut emissions in half by 2050. They purchased 20 planes that will operate in a carbon neutral atmosphere, using biofuel and carbon offsets. They are also trying to eradicate poverty by participating in profit-sharing with employees and making female employee wages equal to their male counterparts. Also, all 80,000 Delta employees are paid to volunteer for one day. Delta also donates 1 percent of profits to local charities. They build homes with Habitat for Humanity and build playgrounds for underprivileged kids.
Southwest Airlines is not only changing lives but also extending them. They’ve partnered with five medical transport charities, like Miracle Flights, connecting people who cannot afford the journey to the best medical treatments throughout North America. This year alone, Southwest donated 10,000 round-trip tickets to 76 hospitals and medical transportation charities through the airline’s Medical Transportation Grant Program. Since the program began in 2007, they’ve provided more than 79,000 round-trip flights costing almost $32 million.
Not everything that happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. One hotel on the Strip, the MGM, also earned an honorable spot on the Civic 50 pedestal for extending good deeds beyond Las Vegas. By 2025, the company hopes to award 600 college scholarships to the children of employees. In the same timeline, its ambitions to make the world a better place that includes encouraging employees to collectively exceed 1 million volunteer hours and get 75 percent of them to donate to community charities.
Jamaican You Smart
Visitors to the all-inclusive Hyatt properties of Ziva or Zilara Rose Hall can volunteer at a nearby school by joining resort employees in helping to restore natural damage. Hyatt supports Granville 404 Project, which supports Granville All-Ages School in the mountains of St. James, about a 45-minute drive from Montego Bay. What started in 2015 as a plea for the donation of wire to rebuild a school fence from one of the resort employees turned into an altruistic partnership. Although the resort subsidizes part of the hours employees work to build a fresh water well, create a farm-to-table garden and construct a soccer field for the more than 40 students at the school, the hotel workers volunteer largely on their own free time. Guests are invited to get involved by bringing school supplies and clothes to leave behind.
Not quite ready to say goodbye to summer? If the weather is forcing you to head indoors, you can still take advantage of a few opportunities to splash around in the waves, without even being that far from the beach — thanks to the world’s largest indoor beachfront waterpark, which opened this summer in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
United Airlines is in the midst of a major initiative to modernize its fleet over the next several years. After first announcing the plan in 2021, planes fitted with United’s signature interior are finally beginning to appear across the airline’s narrowbody fleet of Boeing and Airbus planes. United flyers are sure to notice these enhancements from the moment they step on board: Each new or updated plane sports remodeled seats, seatback entertainment screens for everyone, Bluetooth connectivity and more, all adding up to a better experience on every journey.
Halloween is right around the corner, which means its time to start making plans for spooky and scary stops for having fun with the family this fall. New York’s Cayuga County is always a fun visit for family travelers, but if you plan on being in the area this October, you will definitely want to explore its haunted history with some choice spots along New York’s Haunted History Trail. This curated list of haunted and spooky stops throughout New York features incredible locations showcasing the perfect combination of the state’s beautiful charm and fascinating history.
As the only major U.S. airline to own a flight school, United Airlines already hit a major milestone, and now the carrier celebrates another important — and historic — step as the inaugural class of United Aviate Academy pilots graduates, leading the next generation of aviators. The 51 students in the graduating class were majority, at 80 percent, women and people of color — another stride toward United’s goal of training 5,000 new pilots by 2030 with half women or POC.
The next two seasons see Franklin, Tennessee, come alive with festive events, fun pop-ups and colorful lights. Family travelers planning a trip to Tennessee this fall or winter must make time for Franklin, a city just south of Nashville with plenty of history and festivities awaiting.