Become a road warrior who is a force for good.
What if you could take a vacation and know that your travel dollars are creating a positive community and environmental impact in the destination you are visiting?
After all, the love of travel can’t be separated from the state of the world. Travelers have enormous power (think about the 1.4 billion trips taken last year alone) to make a positive (or negative) impact. By voting with our dollars to support sustainable travel that makes a positive difference, we can change the world for the better.
Research shares that 72% of travelers think it’s important that their travel dollars positively impact the destinations they visit (Good Travels Study by Tourism Cares). But of those who want to travel sustainably, a third find it confusing and half don’t know how (Impact Travel Alliance 2018 Study). Yet when you give back – whether in the form of a donation or volunteering, science shows in the biology of kindness that endorphins are released, causing you to feel healthier and happier. This is the perfect combination for the traveler looking to have a happier, healthier, and more memorable vacation experience.
Discover some eco-luxe getaways and destinations that will inspire you to become a force for good on your next trip.
SONOMA COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
Sonoma County has long been a leader in the way of eco-consciousness, environmental protection, and sustainability. Author Jack London made Sonoma Valley his home later in life. He pioneered many of the principles that form the foundation of organic farming today. His ranch and home are protected as the Jack London (California) State Historic Park.
Famed horticulturist—and Sonoma County resident—Luther Burbank made it his life’s work to increase the world’s food supply by manipulating the characteristics of plants. He introduced 800 new plants and more than 100 varieties of plumes and prunes. In 1875, Burbank wrote, “I firmly believe, from what I have seen, that this is the chosen spot of all this earth as far as Nature is concerned.” The words still ring true today.
Where To Stay: Farmhouse Inn
Farmhouse Inn embodies all that make Sonoma County so special. Owned by a brother and sister duo that are fifth-generation farmers, they grow and source locally 100% of the food served at the Farmhouse Inn’s Michelin-starred restaurant while also bringing a Sonoma-inspired farmhouse experience to their spa by delivering a not-to-be-missed farm-to-table spa menu.
Do More Than Travel: Redwood Empire Food Bank (REFB)
Kind Traveler offers exclusive rates and perks at this eco-luxe beauty when you give a $10 nightly donation to Redwood Empire Food Bank, helping to end food poverty locally in Sonoma County. A $10 donation will provide 20 nutritious meals to individuals in need.
Do Good for the Day: Beyond giving a donation, REFB encourages you to donate non-perishable food items during your stay or take a couple hours out of your trip to volunteer. You can sign up for a volunteer shift at: refb.org/volunteer-opportunities.
LAS CATALINAS, COSTA RICA
Las Catalinas is a new walkable beach town that is car-free and built with sustainability as the main priority on the Guanacaste Coast of Costa Rica. Its entire purpose is to create a way of life that is healthy, sustainable, fulfilling and fun.
Not so long ago, Las Catalinas was all pasture land. But with the sustainable development plans in play, they are restoring the land to its original state – a tropical dry forest. To protect it, they are actively planting native trees, prohibit hunting, and are building “sustainable trails” that are resistant to erosion (to name a few!).
Where To Stay: Santarena Hotel
Paying homage to the old mansions of cities like Havana and Cartagena, this bohemian pearl offers authentic coastal relaxation. Picture a stunning rooftop terrace pool, sustainable wood floors, locally sourced amenities, sweeping ocean views and shaded areas perfect for meditation and yoga. Oh, it doesn’t stop there. You’re mere steps away from 40+ kilometers of hiking and biking trails and postcard-worthy Playa Danta, where paddle boarding, swimming, kayaking and snorkeling are on the daily menu.
Do More Than Travel: Abriendo Mentes
Kind Traveler offers exclusive rates and perks when you give a $10 nightly donation to Abriendo Mentes, helping to empower individuals through education from rural and underserved communities in Guanacaste. A $10 donation will provide school supplies for one child.
Do Good for the Day: Beyond giving a donation, Abriendo Mentes encourages travelers to consider offering assistance in teaching English classes held every Thursday. You could also offer to assist with sports and recreational activities on Fun Fridays.
SAN IGNACIO CAYO DISTRICT, BELIZE
In 2018, Ethical Traveler deemed Belize as one of the world’s 10 best ethical destinations to visit. They review the policies and practices of hundreds of developing nations and select 10 that are doing the most impressive job of promoting human rights, preserving the environment, and supporting social and animal welfare – all while creating a community-based tourism industry.
Where To Stay: Ka’ana Luxury Resort
Located deep within the tropical jungle of Western Belize, Ka’ana is the ultimate nature lover’s retreat in Central America, nestled on the edge of an ancient Maya city and with easy access to Maya archeological sites and national parks. Lose yourself in this jungle paradise where on any given day you can include unwinding at the spa, resetting on the yoga deck, soaking in the pool, and strolling the two-acre organic garden.
Do More Than Travel: Cayo Animal Welfare Society (CAWS) – The Humane Society of Cayo
Kind Traveler offers exclusive rates and perks when you give a $10 nightly donation to CAWS, helping to improve the lives of homeless dogs and cats in Belize while also helping with education efforts that inspire animal kindness. A $10 donation will feed one dog (or two cats) for a month.
Do Good for the Day: Beyond giving a donation, CAWS encourages travelers to pack powdered puppy and kitten milk and flea and tick medication when you visit.
Jessica Blotter is the CEO and Founder of Kind Traveler. These destinations are available in collaboration with Kind Traveler, the world’s first socially conscious hotel booking and sustainable travel education platform is making it easy for travelers to create a positive local impact when they travel. Travelers access exclusive rates and perks when they give a $10 nightly donation to a designated top-rated charity that positively impacts the destination visited. Traveling kindly ensures a sustainable future for generations to come and advances the wellbeing of local communities, the environment, and animals. For more inspiration, visit KindTraveler.com.