There are a few current travel trends that can’t be ignored, including experiential travel as well as voluntourism. Many guests today want travel experiences that are fun, but which also have a positive impact on the communities they visit. Fortunately, a number of hotels around the world have caught on and now offer incredible activities that cater to these interests.
If you’re traveling around the USA, check out these amazing hotels that also offer guests a little something extra.
Animal lovers will want to take a trip out to Greater Palm Springs specifically to stay in this hotel that’s changing the lives of orphaned dogs.
Through a partnership with Animal Samaritans, the property features one pup at a time. You’ll be greeted by the doggy — who lives in a doghouse replica of the Westin Mission Hills — and can spend time walking and playing with the pooch during your stay.
Moreover, the hotel can set you up to volunteer in an animal shelter for a day. Many of the guests don’t just leave with fond memories of the pools, tennis courts, restaurants and fireside lounge, but with a dog. In fact, more than 100 dogs have been adopted by guests through the program.
Bonus: Have your own furry friend you’d like to travel with? The hotel is pet friendly — at no additional charge — offering doggy and kitty comforts like special beds and menus through in-room dining and at select restaurants.
Eco-travelers will appreciate this property, which helps guests give back to the local people and the land.
The The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua can set your group up to partake in “VolunTeaming,” an offering combining volunteering and team building so you can get closer with those you’re traveling with, while also doing your part.
Not only will you assist with projects like planting native flora, helping to install technology that educates locals on Hawaiian history and working to improve local civic centers and schools, but you’ll receive a before and after evaluation so you can see the impact of your efforts.
If interested, you’ll speak with the hotel’s Cultural Advisor Clifford Nae’ol, who will tailor the volunteer experience based on how much time you have to give, and will pair you with the appropriate non-profit 501(c)3 partner.
Located within Charleston’s Historic District, guests of this 52-room bed and breakfast not only have the chance to sleep in a former 1930s cotton warehouse for some heritage appeal, but also volunteer.
Through a partnership with One80 Place — a local kitchen serving about 185 lunches per day —guests can volunteer and help feed the hungry. Additionally, there’s an option to donate $50 to the organization in their name, added onto their room rate upon request.
Other noteworthy highlights of the inn include a private rooftop with beautiful aerial harbor views, free offerings like breakfast and a daily wine and cheese hour, a welcome drink and afternoon tea.
After every completed booking at any Omni property, the company donates one meal to Feeding America, a nonprofit working to end hunger in the USA. And, according to the resort, the impact has been huge.
Since 2016 when the program launched, over 11 million meals have been donated. When you stay at their Scottsdale property, the concierge can help set you up for a day volunteering a St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance, including sorting food donations, packing them into boxes and helping to take them to those in need.
Onsite, there’s much to enjoy, too, like three pools outfitted with cabanas, 24-hour access to the business center and gym, six restaurants to choose from onsite, and a world class spa and salon.
If you’re into glamping — aka, luxury camping — but with a volunteer twist, this property is for you.
Along with offering bed-and-breakfast-style accommodation, the sanctuary operates as a not-for-profit animal sanctuary focused on rescuing and caring for pigs (and a few other animals) that have been abandoned, abused or neglected. They also have a vegan outreach component to their mission, going into the community to educate locals on the benefits of this way of life.
As a guest of the property, you'll be able to help out, mainly through playing with and feeding the animals. Each guest room is actually named after one of their pigs, with antique and antique replica decor that speaks to the individual pig’s personality.
When not in the room, you can enjoy delicious vegan and vegetarian meals, 170 acres of nature containing hiking trails, wellness offerings like a Jacuzzi and optional massages, and opportunities to connect with nature through bird watching and stargazing.
Sometimes, you can make an impact right through your booking, before even stepping foot into your destination.
With more and more travelers caring about the impact they make when they travel, innovative new companies are making it easier than ever for people to turn their vacations into a force for good.
Kind Traveler is one of those companies, using a “give and get” model.
Here’s how it works:
When booking through their platform, you offer to donate $10 per night to a local charity — 100% of which goes to said charity.
If you’re wondering what $10 can do, Kind Traveler tells you this, too. Depending what charity you choose to support, you can feed one rescued animal fruit for one week or plant 10 trees in a forest hurt by disease or wildfires, for instance.
As a reward for your contribution, you’re given access to special hotel rates and exclusive perks. And because Kind Traveler allows you to book direct, you can still accumulate rewards through any programs you’re a part of.
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Jessica Festa is a full-time travel writer who is always up for an adventure. She enjoys getting lost in new cities and having experiences you don’t read about in guidebooks. Some of her favorite travel experiences have been teaching English in Thailand, trekking her way through South America, backpacking Europe solo, road tripping through Australia and doing orphanage work in Ghana. You can follow her adventures on her travel websites, Epicure & Culture and Jessie On A Journey. You can also connect with Jessica directly on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus, or follow her epicurean adventures on Facebook and Twitter.
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