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The Forecast is Summersalt’s global content hub for all things travel, packing, style, and discovery, packed with informative and inspirational pieces for (and featuring!) women who are going places.

Kind Traveler Lets You Donate to a Local Charity When You Book a Hotel

Traveling allows us to experience new cultures and open our minds to the world. Often, we might be left wanting to make a deeper connection. That’s what happened to Jessica Blotter on a trip to Belize in 2012. She couldn’t ignore some of the harsh living conditions she witnessed, and instead of being a tourist looking for escape, she found herself wanting to engage with the reality she saw. So she decided to start Kind Traveler, a company that empowers travelers to give back to local communities, the environment, or animals from the moment they book their trip.

When you book with Kind Traveler, you have access to exclusive hotel rates and perks by simply giving a $10 nightly donation to a charity that positively impacts the neighborhood you are traveling to. You can also choose any other charity that Kind Traveler partners with. The entire donation goes to the charity. Inspired by Jessica’s vision and ability to turn travel into social action, we wanted to know more. Read on for our interview.

What inspired you to launch Kind Traveler?

In 2012, my cofounder and I were on a vacation in Belize and were excited to see the Mayan ruins and go caving. Instead, we witnessed families living in shacks next to polluted swamps and emaciated dogs roaming the streets.

Yearning to “do more than travel” we wished there was an easy way to help or at least know that our travel dollars were benefiting the local community. As former animal rescue volunteers in the US, we decided to buy dog food and feed the dogs. This experience inspired other travelers to participate. We realized that travelers were looking for ways to give back when they travel; however, an easy way for them to do so failed to exist.  

After four years of research and development, utilizing our entrepreneurial backgrounds and passions for travel and charity, the answer to this challenge was KindTraveler.com, launched in late 2016.

Image Courtesy of Jessica Blotter

What are you most proud of?

We have built an incredible team and community of Kind Hotels and Kind Charities. With our team, we have quadrupled our Kind Hotel collection since launching over two years ago and now represent 100-plus hotels and 60-plus charities in 13 countries.

Let’s talk about “going places.” What’s on the horizon for you?

I love visiting with our Kind Hotels and Charities and helping to tell the story of how they empower travelers to give back. I’m excited to visit Il Borro Relais & Chateaux in Tuscany owned by the Ferragamo Family – also our very first Kind Hotel in Europe!

Il-Boro Hotel // Image Courtesy of Jessica Blotter

Tell us about the last adventure you took:

My last adventure was exploring Sonoma County. From the Sonoma Coast to the Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve in Guerneville, and sustainable wineries in between, I fell in love with its diversity, people, and experiences.

What is a destination you’ve been to that you’re always telling people, “You have to go there!” 

Costa Rica! Last year we visited Casa Chameleon Las Catalinas (a Kind Hotel) that was built in a sustainable community in Guanacaste. Eco-consciously designed, every villa has its own private saltwater infinity pool looking at either the rainforest or ocean. Beyond the resort, there are many national parks to discover the most beautiful waterfalls, wildlife, and people. There’s a reason it’s been called one of the happiest countries on the planet.

When you book Casa Chameleon Las Catalinas on Kind Traveler, exclusive rates and special perks are offered as a thank you when you give a $10 donation to Alfalit International, helping to fight illiteracy in Costa Rica.

What do you never travel without?

My yoga mat, lavender oil, and herbal tea.

Harmon Guest House // Image Courtesy of Jessica Blotter

Got any great advice for solo travelers?

Not being able to communicate in a foreign country is a disadvantage in many situations. Make an effort to learn basic phrases in the local language before you go.

What’s your favorite Summersalt travel piece?

The Swan Dive in Pink Sand & Sea Urchin

Fill in the blank. I fell in love with traveling when:

My dad flew me across the country as a teenager to ski the Colorado Rockies.

Timber Cove on the Sonoma Coast // Image Courtesy of Jessica Blotter

Got any go-to podcasts, albums, or books for passing time on a plane?

Check out the new Travel With Meaning podcast by host Michael Schibel along with the new podcast by Cause Artist.

Share your most valuable travel hack:

Never pay for water at the airport or a hotel. Always bring your own reusable water bottle as there are now water refill stations at just about every airport and hotel. Plus, you’ll be cutting down on plastic waste — an essential part of being a kind traveler.