I was fortunate to attend one of my favorite travel events of the year last weekend: Chicago Seminars. If you’re not familiar with it, it is one of many conferences around the world (or “DOs“) where travel enthusiasts from experts to rookies gather to share stories, tips, tricks and ideas. Furthermore, it raises thousands of dollars for great charities such as: ASPCA, Habitat for Humanity, The Wounded Warrior Project.
In addition to absorbing “earn and burn” content and meeting old friends and new, I was particularly interested in bending some people’s ear about our upcoming trip to Thailand. My travel philosophy is simple: meet diverse people, see amazing places and travel with purpose. So in my opinion, while flying in business class, lie-flat seats and enjoying upgraded suite accommodations makes any trip more enjoyable, you must literally step out into a community to experience it. Walk its streets. Taste its foods. Start up conversations. Go where the locals go. AND do your part to leave some positive impression.
The LOOK OUTSIDE
One of our Thailand stops will be at the popular luxury destination Conrad Koh Samui. As my standard trip planning prep goes, I follow a hotel’s Facebook and Twitter accounts to get a feel for the property and to see what upcoming special events may be occurring. And true to form, Conrad Koh Samui has provided the common social media flow of amazing photos and details on amenities such as massages and dining. But today, they posted:
Conrad Koh Samui’s 30 team members helped to refurbish the Kirimas primary school, located near the resort. These efforts included roof fixing, painting and tree planting. Another 15 team members organised a donation drive for the Samui Learning Centre of Special Needs, collecting cash and other necessities to support the Centre’s needs #TravelWithPurpose
Kirimas School is a small governmental primary school near the resort with 80 students and teachers. Samui Learning Centre of Special Needs is a non-profit organization in Koh Samui that caters to the learning and development needs of autistic children and their parents.
Quote from Ms. Dalin Ruangaisoon, Head of Samui Learning Centre of Special Needs:
“On behalf of Samui Learning Centre of Special Needs, children and their families, I would like to thank the Conrad Koh Samui team for visiting to our Centre. Even though we are a small organization on the island; at the beginning, there were only three children and there are about 20 children nowadays, Conrad Koh Samui which is a well-known hotel brand in the world has extended great support to us. We ensure you that our goal is to give the children an ability to look after themselves well and live well in the society; with your support I believe this would help them a lot. We would like to once again thank you, Conrad Koh Samui team, for organizing the activities.”
In celebration of Hilton Worldwide’s second annual Global Week of Service, October 6 – 12, almost 700 volunteers across different departments in Hilton Worldwide in Thailand served and collaborated with 10 community partners in Bangkok, Pattaya, Hua Hin, Phuket and Koh Samui. These community partners comprise not-for-profit organizations, foundations and schools. All nine Hilton Worldwide properties in Thailand participated in Global Week of Service.
The STEP OUT REMINDER
So, you’ve learned how to use multiple credit card sign-ups to earn travel points to amazing new destinations and four-star hotels. Your family and friends are baffled by your six figure (or seven figure!) mileage and points balances, putting you at the symbolic “front of the line” for travel. I love it! I’m hooked too! Nevertheless, while you enjoy your time in that private plunge pool and toast with Cuvee Dom in first-class, remember to step out.
Step out into their community. Step out to hear from the locals, share your thoughts, learn their issues. And if you can, make some impact. From volunteering to delivering a care package to acknowledging and thanking others for their work, remember to always travel with purpose.