The Cause Bar Changemaker Series | Jessica Blotter, Kind Traveler
- Kristiana Tarnuzzer
…concept combining two of my favorite things -- giving back and travel -- Kind Traveler is the brain child of Jessica Blotter and partner, Sean Krejci. Be inspired below on how the simple act of feeding emaciated dogs on a trip to Belize was the catalyst behind this model whereby when travelers book with Kind Traveler, they give a $10 nightly donation to a local charity that positively impacts the neighborhood they are traveling to, or to a favorite charity on the platform. As reward for donating, travelers unlock exclusive hotel rates to book directly with curated hotels and unique properties. 100% of donations are given to charities…a win for travelers, hotels and the causes they support.
TCB: How did you first begin your journey with Kind Traveler -- have you always been a travel enthusiast and philanthropist at heart?
JB: The idea of Kind Traveler was born during a trip to Belize in 2012 visiting the Maya ruins and caves. My partner, Sean, and I had an experience that changed us. While traveling to the ruins we witnessed miles and miles of poverty -- families lived in shacks next to polluted swamps while emaciated dogs roamed the streets. It was impossible to ignore the devastation -- we desperately wanted to help somehow.
…we were on stopped at a local convenience store and the rib-protruding dogs approached us, begging for food. As animal rescue volunteers back in the states with huge hearts for animal welfare, we couldn’t ignore them. We went into the store surprised to find dry food for the dogs, bought as much as we could, and scattered the kibble on the ground for the dogs. More and more dogs gathered to join the feast. When we looked up, the other travelers on the bus were also walking out of the store with dog food and joined in to help. Everyone had felt the same way we did -- they just needed a catalyst to take action!
As we got back onto the bus, the entire sentiment changed from feeling helpless and sad to joyful and happy knowing that we tried to make a difference in one small way. While we didn’t save the world that day, the feeling of giving back and taking action filled up our hearts and stayed with us for a long time.
We asked ourselves “What if we could use our entrepreneurial skills and passion for travel to create an easy way for travelers to give back to the destinations they travel to?” After four years of research and development, the answer was KindTraveler, launched in late 2016, a public benefit corporation and the first socially conscious ‘Give + Get’ hotel booking platform that empowers travelers to benefit local communities, the environment, and animals. Travelers get exclusive hotel rates and perks when they give a $10 nightly donation to charity that positively impacts the destination visited, or to any charity on the platform. 100% of the donations goes to charity creating a triple win amongst the traveler, charity, and hotel.
…What kind of an impact can travelers know they are making when booking through Kind Traveler?
JB: Travelers can see the type of impact they will make when they click on the local charity associated with each hotel -- every charity has a “What $10 Can Do” section so that travelers will see the exact impact they will make. For example, a $10 donation to New York’s City Harvest will provide 40 nutritional meals to in-need individuals.
TCB: What keeps you up at night?
JB: You cannot turn on the news or go online today without witnessing human, animal, or environmental suffering. As a passionate animal advocate, I get emotionally distraught when I witness such despair (more species are going extinct and becoming endangered today than any former time in history and when it comes to domestic animals in the US, more than 1 million dogs and cats are euthanized every year simply because they don’t have a home).
We all have an opportunity to do something about it or sit back quietly and do nothing. But when we combine purpose with our passions, it’s possible to create a happy and fulfilled life. There is much work to be done in creating a healthy and sustainable future for generations to come -- this is what gets me up every morning and keeps me up at night.
Sweet Deal for The Cause Bar Community!
Use code CAUSEBAR to book and receive a Kind Travel Kit (a $50 value)…BOOK NOW on Kind Traveler, and safe travels!