After a grueling 2017 hurricane season, Puerto Rico continues to rebuild and repair. Hurricane Maria’s impact on the island left homes destroyed and thousands without power – sadly, many were not as lucky. Puerto Rican officials are hopeful that the island, which relies heavily on tourism for its economy, will reclaim its place as one of the Caribbean’s most visited destinations, however supplies are scarce and some are still without power. Now, more than ever, visitors are urged to aid in the revival of Puerto Rico. Here’s how you can help during your next Caribbean vacation.
Bring Extra Supplies
One of the most direct ways that you can help Puerto Rico is by packing extra supplies for your vacation. Once you arrive, you can donate these supplies to organizations dedicated to helping locals. There are many supplies they can use, including canned food, bottled water, diapers, baby wipes and hand sanitizer. Extension cords or tools may also be donated to help with construction. Plan ahead by contacting local charities such as Puerto Rico’s United Way for any specific needs or requests.
Donate Airline Miles
If you are a participant in an airline miles program, whether it be through an airline or credit card, consider donating your miles to families impacted by Hurricane Maria. Airlines, including American Airlines, Delta, Southwest and United, have set up charity programs that allow you to donate your airline miles to the residents of Puerto Rico. For many families, these miles are the only way they can travel to visit one another after Hurricane Maria. As an added bonus, many airlines offering these programs are also providing bonus miles for donation, so you can get back to planning your next Caribbean getaway.
Become a Volunteer
“Voluntourism” is when you volunteer your own time while on vacation. It is easy to become a “voluntour” for the Caribbean, simply register with the Puerto Rico Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster before your vacation. Their form lets you specify what your skills are and when you’re available. If they need you to do anything during your vacation, they will contact you ahead of time so you can organize your schedule.
Volunteering while on vacation is not only limited to post-natural disasters. You can make a difference where ever and whenever you travel, here are more ways to volunteer on your next vacation.