Meet A Real Dominican Family + An Explanation Of Impact Travel #sponsored #TravelDeep #travel

Meet A Real Dominican Family + An Explanation Of Impact Travel #sponsored #TravelDeepCheap Is The New Classy

Yesterday, Amber, Mackenzie and I landed in the Dominican Republic via the Fathom Adonia cruise ship. We left Miami on Sunday, landed here yesterday {Tuesday} and will be here until Friday afternoon. Then we finish our trip in Miami on Sunday. The Fathom Adonia offers a different kind of cruise than what you might expect. Aside from the already mentioned length of time that we are staying in one port {3 nights and 4 days}, we are also taking part in something called Impact Travel.

Meet A Real Dominican Family + An Explanation Of Impact Travel #sponsored #TravelDeep

What Is Impact Travel?

Impact Travel means that the traveler tries to make an impact on the area they visit. For example, Amber, Mackenzie and I participated in a Community English activity yesterday. We went into the Puerto Plata community of San Antonio. While there, we were divided up into groups and went into the homes of Dominican residents. After we were placed with our families, we worked from a lesson book to continue teaching English that they had been learning for about 5 weeks now. Each traveler teaches something new while also taking away a few lessons of their own.

Other impact activities involve helping women in cacao factories {Amber and Mackenzie are taking part in this activity as I write this post}, installing concrete floors, working against deforestation and more. Some people might ask, “Why is it important for Dominican people to learn English?” and “Do they really want or need a concrete floor?” Well, let me attempt to answer those questions for you based on what I have seen so far.

The family I met in my Community English Impact Travel activity was very welcoming. We were greeted with handshakes and kisses. I can’t speak for you, but I don’t embrace people that I am not pleased to see. We started by reviewing the lesson from the previous week: Shapes. We had a lot of fun with this. Laurie, Brian and I all sat on the couch while our family {Jose Miguel, Jose Victoria, Jose Gabriel, Jose Emmanuel and Balbina} sat in front of us in chairs. They each participated in the pronunciation practice and games that we used to help teach them about the parts of the body {the lesson for this week}. Who knew Simon Says could be such fun? I haven’t played that in ages.

What I took away was the excitement on each family members’ face when they were correct in pronouncing a word. You might not think about how a “g” sound can be tough for people who speak other languages. Sure, I took a little Spanish and realize they pronounce a “g” as an “h” but that is a sound that we have in the English language. There is nothing equivalent to a “g” sound in Spanish.

Meet A Real Dominican Family + An Explanation Of Impact Travel #sponsored #TravelDeep

I also want to share with you the artwork that the eldest boy created. Oh my. What talent! When he showed us the piece, I was like, “Is that William H. Macy?” because, tell me that doesn’t look like him. The mom agreed. Our family was so lovely and welcoming. I really hope that he is to go as far with his talent as much as he wants.

Meet A Real Dominican Family + An Explanation Of Impact Travel #sponsored #TravelDeep

Why Learning English Is So Important

I had the opportunity to speak to Ambra, the Director for Fathom Impact Travel in the Dominican Republic. She was kind enough to share with me why, from a first hand perspective, that learning English is so important for Dominican families. Since the Dominican Republic is a huge tourist destination, those that can speak English are more likely to be able to get jobs in hospitality, tourism or others at Amber Cove. These jobs generally pay more than the jobs that a typical non-English speaking Dominican could otherwise attain. As a resident of the Dominican Republic, she feels that that ability to speak English has enabled her to have a better life than she might otherwise have had and it has also afforded her the ability to move up in her profession. Finally, those that speak English are also more confident in themselves and their ideas because of that accomplishment, enrichment and ability to exchange and find common ground with people that are so different, yet so similar.

It’s not just the ability to speak English that makes an impact, but also the access to other native English speakers. It’s the cultural immersion and consistent interaction that lets both sides know that they are, in fact, equals and peers. This cultural exchange builds confidence more so than could be built with learning the language and customs from a person who spoke the language as a second language. Fathom Impact Travel provides an opportunity for those for free that they would otherwise have to pay for. The cost of transportation, books and and classes would be prohibitive to most families in this area.

Meet A Real Dominican Family + An Explanation Of Impact Travel #sponsored #TravelDeep

Roberto, On Ground Fathom Impact Travel Operations Manager in the Dominican Republic, shared that he thinks that learning English is basically one of the best tools for getting jobs in the Puerto Plata tourist region. He feels that his ability to speak English is one of the key reasons that he has been able to always have a job. On interviews, one of the first things job interviewers request is that the applicant be able to speak English. Because of this, it is very important for Dominicans to be able speak the language.

Impact Travel is not a new idea. People have been doing it forever. What is new, however, is a cruise ship taking part in the idea. We were able to leave the boat yesterday afternoon around 2 if I remember correctly and had to be back on the boat at 9:30 pm. Today, as I sit here writing this piece on the boat, most people are on the island. No one has to return until Thursday or Friday. So, you could stay on the island the entire time we are here should you wish. How much could you learn about the Dominican people in that time, as compared to a 4-7 hour stop that you would have on a traditional cruise?

It’s the whole tourist vs. traveler thing. I see merits in and would like to be both. This was my first opportunity to feel like a full on traveler in another country. I love island hopping like I did on my last cruise, but let’s be real, you don’t learn really immerse yourself in a culture that way. And immersion is really the best way to learn something. As far as cruise ship travel goes, I definitely think this one of the only ways to really classify yourself as a traveler as opposed to a tourist.

Meet A Real Dominican Family + An Explanation Of Impact Travel #sponsored #TravelDeep

Get Social With Fathom Impact Travel

Book a Cruise / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Does A Fathom Impact Travel Cruise Sound Like Something You Would Like?

Let me know what you think in the comments below.

About Dawn McAlexander

Dawn is a full time travel and lifestyle blogger. Besides Cheap Is The New Classy, she also owns and writes for, an entertainment site. Her interests include traveling, home decor, DIY projects, organizing her home and enjoying a nice cup of coffee {or two}. She currently resides in North Carolina with her dog, Daisy.


  1. Robin Masshole Mommy says

    I would absolutely love to experience this. It’s hard to imagine what people go through unless you actually see it first hand.

  2. What a wonderful experience, I love the idea of having an impact where you travel! I could totally understand why English is important to learn in the Dominican Republic, it’s a destination for sure.
    That drawing is phenomenal!

    • Dawn McAlexander says

      That drawing really is phenomenal. I really hope that I get to see his artwork again someday.

  3. This sounds like an amazing way to spend vacation time. You get to experience new places and you get to help people. I think that’s a great combination.

  4. Catherine S says

    That sounds like a wonderful experience. I love the idea of going on a cruise and also helping people while on vacation.

  5. What an amazing and memorable trip for you! I am sure the whole experience has left an impact on you to inspire others to do the same.

  6. Impact traveling is such a wonderful concept. I love that you can experience the world and know that you can make a global difference.

  7. What an amazing experience. I love the idea of impact travel. I think I’d consider trying it!

  8. What a cool experience! I’ve gone on multiple cruises and been to Dominican Republic as a tourist quite a few times, but I’d love an opportunity to make a difference like this!

  9. I love this mission and think it is always great to give back. Seeing how others live is so interesting to me.

  10. I love this idea! This is something one day I would love to experience.

  11. You definitely can learn so much through travelling. I love learning about other cultures!

  12. That is really cool that you were able to experience this and that this option is available for anyone to do! I like it.

  13. What a great experience to have! I never learned Spanish ( only French) and had no idea that there isn’t an equivalent to G in Spanish. Interesting. What fun this looks like and inspiring.

  14. This is the first I’m hearing of Impact Traveling but it does sound rather interesting. I’m going to be researching more on this. This sounds like something I’d love to do.

  15. This is really awesome that you are giving back to the community that you get to vacation in. I had no idea you could do this through a cruise. I would love to do this on day. Thank you for sharing your wonderful experience.

    • Dawn McAlexander says

      I think the Fathom Adonia is the only ship doing this sort of thing right now. You can definitely check out their website, linked above.

  16. I traveled on the Adonia on the first trip. It was AMAZING. I will never forget the people we met in Puerto Plata

    • Dawn McAlexander says

      I read several of your posts and it looked like you had a great time as well! I bet it was really exciting being on the first trip. I think mine was the 5th, so still very new, as well. 🙂

  17. What a great idea for a vacation. A way to really get into the culture while at the same time visiting another country.

  18. Nicole Escat says

    I am not familiar with impact travel and in fact, this sounds all new to me. You are so nice!

  19. This whole thing is new to me, thanks for sharing.
    Sounds like a good life event, with contemplation.

  20. I would lvoe to do this. It seems like a get way to give back and make a difference.

  21. I love this idea. You get to travel and explore new places and also make a difference and help others.

  22. I have been hearing a lot about Impact Travel, and it’s definitely something I am considering. What an amazing concept. It looks so rewarding. That illustration is remarkable – it does look like William H Macy! What a talented young man.

    • Dawn McAlexander says

      I have been hearing a lot about Impact Travel now, too. I love the concept of helping others while also having fun.

  23. This sounds like such an amazing idea for a vacation! I have never heard of it before, but the addition of a cruise ship does sound really cool. I love that you have the time to immerse yourself in the culture.

  24. What an experience. Definitely the definition of impactful travel right there. It would be priceless to experience something like this and learn how other families live.

  25. This sounds like an amazing opportunity! I would so love to participate in a cruise like this one. Fabulous!

  26. This sounds like such a great opportunity. I love all the art and how just how wonderful the impact that can be made!