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For this month’s installment of “Giving Tuesday,” a series designed to highlight travel-themed charities, TPG Contributor Jade Broadus — an avid, deals-obsessed traveler — shares how you can give to your favorite charities while earning incredible travel rewards. (All images courtesy of Kind Traveler.)
Launching in October 2015, new travel booking platform Kind Traveler will allow you to give to the charity of your choice as you book discounted hotel rooms. This new-to-the-travel-industry platform is a win-win that works on the give/get idea:
You give to a charity, you get a great deal on your trip.
Kind Traveler founder Jessica Blotter and her partner were inspired by a 2012 trip where they witnessed, in her words, “heart-breaking poverty, polluted swamps, and the plight of emaciated dogs roaming the streets for food” on a bus tour through Belize. A question many travelers have asked themselves in one way or another popped in their minds:
“How could we get excited about visiting the Mayan ruins nearby and ignore the devastation around us?”
At the final spot to grab food and water, the couple bought some extra food and fed the starving dogs outside the store. This inspired other groups to do the same, and while Jessica admits they “didn’t save the world that day,” they were impressed and excited by the result of their actions. “We marveled at how easy it was to inspire others to do good and observed the great sense of joy and fulfillment that took place after deciding to help.”
The concept for Kind Traveler started with this simple idea.
The Kind Traveler platform is very simple to use and allows you to easily see what deals you get for your donation.
Jessica explains, “For example, let’s say you were traveling to Miami. You would search our participating Miami hotels on your selected travel dates. In order to receive the exclusive nightly rates offered, you must donate $10 dollars (the minimum donation per night) to your choice of one of our partnered local or global charities. When you ‘give + get,’ it may be that you ‘give’ $10 dollars to Surfrider Miami, and as a reward for your donation, you ‘get’ $30 dollars off of a one-night stay with 1 Hotel South Beach.”
The platform will kick off with lodging options in more than 100 destinations around the world — including the new Virgin Hotels Chicago, where TPG Intern Kevin Song recently stayed — and a listing of more than 20 charities. Blotter hopes to include flight bookings, as well, in the near future. With 100% of donations going directly to the participating charities, this is a no-brainer for travelers looking to do good and also score a deal.
The global charities listed on Kind Traveler are hand-selected and -vetted by a third-party ranking system; they must have a 3- to 4-star rating on Charity Navigator or at least a Silver Star rating on GuideStar, and not fund medical research that tests on animals.
Some of the global charities involved include WildAid (wildlife protection), World Food Program, Arbor Day Foundation (tree planting and forest protection), Animal Defenders International, Little Kids Rock (music education in public schools), Project Aware (ocean protection), and Bright Pink (prevention/detection of breast and ovarian cancer in young women). Each hotel also chooses local charities that they want to highlight.
How can you get involved?
Add KindTraveler.com to your online bookmarks and start planning trips via the site starting in October 2015 (using, of course, travel rewards cards like Chase Sapphire Preferred and Amex Premier Rewards Gold).
Give, get and feel good about your travel choices — we here at TPG are pretty pumped about Kind Traveler! Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.
Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.