Giving back for conscious travelers just got easier. After eight months of development, Kind Traveler, the world’s first socially conscious Give + Get hotel booking platform that empowers travelers to positively impact the communities they visit, launches a 2.0 model. The new platform is optimized to make giving back easier than ever with a custom API, new features, 45 new hotel choices, 20 new charities for local impact, multiple room categories to book, special perks, tree planting options at the time of booking, voluntourism opportunities and a tangible positive impact report with every booking.
The way Kind Traveler works is simple: Travelers unlock exclusive rates and perks from curated Kind Hotels when they give a minimum of a $10 donation to a locally vetted charity that positively impacts the community visited, or to a charity of choice. 100% of donations go to charity.
The journey to create Kind Traveler began when my co-founder, Sean Krejci, and I witnessed extreme poverty on a vacation to Belize – families lived in shacks next to polluted swamps and emaciated dogs roamed the streets begging for food. We had an experience that changed us. We were on a bus with other travelers winding through the backroads as we headed to the Mayan ruins. The bus had never been so quiet. How could we get excited about visiting the Mayan ruins nearby and ignore the devastation around us?
We Made A Choice To Help
When the bus stopped as a last chance to grab snacks or water before the hike, rib-protruding dogs approached us, begging for food with eyes of despair. As animal rescue volunteers in America, we simply decided to buy food to feed the dogs. Unintentionally, this action inspired the other travelers to do the same thing. Rather than do nothing and live with the sadness of the situation, people acted and suddenly the moment went from somber to joyful – just by doing something. The other travelers wanted to help… they just needed a catalyst.
And it turns out, we weren’t alone. 70 percent of travelers want their travel dollars to positively impact the communities they visit as identified as the ‘Impact Awakening’ trend in Booking’s 2021 Global Research Study. However, of those that want to travel more sustainably, half don’t know how, and one-third find it confusing. Furthermore, as cited by the UNWTO, only $5 of every $100 spent by travelers in developing countries stays in that country.
The feeling from our small act of kindness stayed with us for a long time and we wondered how we could use our entrepreneurial skills and passion for travel to make it easy for travelers to make a positive impact to the communities they visit– and in turn, be filled up with a sense of purpose and happiness from their travels resulting in a more meaningful and memorable vacation.
After many years of research and development, the answer was KindTraveler.com.
After the disastrous economic effects of Covid-19, and the launch of the tourism industry’s Glasgow Declaration at COP26 declaring the need for urgent climate action, Kind Traveler, alongside charities and hotels (from Six Senses, Kimpton, Virgin Hotels and more), partner to make it even easier for travelers to become advocates for:
- Healthy Communities (addressing poverty, education, healthcare + more)
- Wildlife & Ocean Conservation
- Climate Action
Kind Traveler ensures that travelers can easily adapt their buying behavior to reflect responsible and sustainable choices, while also distilling complicated climate jargon and providing actionable opportunities for change.
Choose a hotel. Give + Get. That’s it.
The technology upgrades create a smooth pathway to charitable giving and better rewards. Travelers now have more hotels to choose from in 22 countries and an optimized route to make a meaningful positive impact in the communities they visit.
- Kind Traveler Perks Reward Kindness: exclusive hotel rates and perks are offered with a minimum of a $10 donation to a vetted local charity, or a charity of choice. Perks vary from waived resort fees, complimentary breakfast, spa discounts, bespoke experiences, resort credit, and more.
- Local Positive Impact Opportunities That Educate: learn why vetted local charities are pivotal to the wellbeing of destinations.
- Measurable Impact Metrics: receive a positive impact report with every booking.
- Transparency: learn about the sustainability, community impact, and wellness initiatives of every Kind Hotel.
- Kind Neighborhood Guides: responsible travel tips & local guides inform conscious travel itineraries.
- 100 Percent of donations raised are given to charity.
- Give Back Beyond Your Donation: with every local charity, learn about activities and voluntourism opportunities.
What kind of positive impact can you make? Examples of positive local impact you can make on the Kind Traveler platform through donations include:
- Providing three weeks of food to three rescued wildlife patients with the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW Clinic)
- Giving sponsorship for two students to receive environmental science education from UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center
- Providing 30 meals to families facing food insecurity and hunger with Three Square Food Bank
Why should you care? Why now?
Covid-19 decimated non-profit organizations that relied on charitable donations as people had to brace for the unknown. Kind Traveler 2.0 is well positioned to accelerate recovery and mobilize climate action for the 1.4B travelers who took trips pre-Covid-19.
- Covid-19 impact: 98% of charities lost 70% or more of funding in 2020, taking years to recover.
- 60 million face extreme poverty because of Covid-19 (Source: World Bank). This erases all the progress made in poverty alleviation in the past three years.
- Climate crisis declared at COP26 shows the earth is in peril unless we take action now
- 1 million plant & animal species at risk of extinction (UN)
“The world is at a critical juncture that needs all-hands-on-deck and continual fuel of inspiration to get involved. As our platform grows, we aim to continue powering positive change and scaling kindness. The love of travel cannot be separated from the state of the world,” said Jessica Blotter, CEO & Co-Founder of Kind Traveler.
“Impact Tourism (or traveler’s philanthropy) plays a pivotal role for the future of sustainable tourism in advancing climate action and making a positive impact in communities. We are faced with a serious and urgent climate crisis that demands easier points of entry for the larger community to get involved. Kind Traveler is making it easier than ever for travelers to give back to meaningful nonprofits, directly connected to the health and wellbeing of destinations,” said Dr. Gregory Miller, Executive Director of the Center for Responsible Travel.
For more about Kind Traveler, visit KindTraveler.com
About the author
Jessica Blotter is CEO & Co-Founder of Kind Traveler, a speaker and journalist on sustainable tourism, and serves on the Board of Directors for CREST (Center for Responsible Travel) in Washington, D.C. After witnessing extreme poverty on a vacation to Belize, Blotter co-founded KindTraveler.com as the first socially conscious Give + Get hotel booking and media platform that empowers travelers to positively impact the communities they visit. Blotter’s efforts on behalf of Kind Traveler have been cited in 500+ news articles and earned awards from Newsweek (2021), Fast Company (2021), Travel + Leisure (2020), Lufthansa Innovation Hub (2019) and UNWTO (2019). She holds a M.A. in Education from Ottawa University and a B.S. in Biology from Arizona State University. Find inspiration to #TravelKindly and do more than travel on KindTraveler.com.