Travel With Purpose
Industry expert Mary Jean Tully shares her tips for an authentic and socially conscious travel experience.
What advice do you have for being a more ethical traveller?
My biggest piece of advice for being a more ethical traveller is to consider the impact of your travel and question the effects of your actions; Is what I am doing environmentally friendly? How can I positively contribute to the places that I am visiting? Does this tourist attraction negatively impact animals and wildlife? By asking these questions, being present and being mindful, it will help you in choosing where to visit and companies to support.
What are the most important things to pack when travelling somewhere internationally?
One of my biggest philosophies, in both my professional and personal life, is to "pack with a purpose." Bringing the simplest items has the potential to make the most meaningful impact on the people you meet during your travels.
Some easy go-to's are: bringing toiletries and first aid kits. Many remote communities do not have access to healthcare/everyday toiletries/sanitary items or need to wait for medical teams to visit their areas before receiving any treatment. Providing these items can mean the difference between life and death in some cases.
Sports equipment and school supplies are other great items to bring along with you. I like packing deflated soccer balls, soft toys, puzzles, or solar-powered calculators, which are all compact, and then I bring them to children in the local communities.
One of my personal favourites is Luci lights - they are solar-powered, collapsible lights with mobile charging capabilities that provide hours of light for reading, working at home, cooking, etc. Seeing the look on a child's face who receives one of these gifts is truly indescribable.
Reading glasses are another cheap and cheerful solution that you probably never think twice about bringing along but can help both children and adults. Knitting needles and glass beads can help unemployed women generate income. The list goes on and on!
What are some travel industry trends you think we'll see next year?
More and more, people want to have unique experiences paired with excellent customer service. Clients want something they can share with their families and trips that are meaningful while still having all their creature comforts. Adding a component of volunteering- or voluntourism as we like to call it ha become more and more popular. All of our travellers are inquiring more about these types of opportunities as it gives them something meaningful and memorable to take away from their trip. Families want to leave a legacy and I think we will see this more and more, moving into 2020. it's a big part of why I love what I do!
Mary Jean's Travel Tips:
HIDDEN GEM DESTINATION:
Dar Ahlam in Skoura, Morocco, is about a 3-hour drive from Marrakesh, located on the edge of the Moroccan desert. It is a Relais & Chateau property known for being one of the most private and beautiful boutique luxury hotels, with only 14 rooms and 100 staff, overlooking the Atlas Mountains the perfect little hideaway where you feel secluded, in the best way possible. When you're at Dar Ahlam, you don't leave the property, everything is taken care of for you. Meals are customized with thoughtfully selected ingredients - they have over 450 gourmet recipes from top chefs. Not to mention, they create the most unique and magical settings and atmospheres for all your meals every day - think private picnics viewing Legzira Beach and the Atlantic waters, just the perfect way to enjoy some serene relaxation.
MUST-VISIT DESTINATION FOR FIRST-TIME TRAVELLERS:
For first-time travellers, who are dipping their toes into this beautiful world, I would recommend the Amalfl Coast in Italy, the Greek Isles or Los Cabos. These are all stunning destinations with tons of sites and activities for first-time travellers. Your senses won't be disappointed!
TOP 3 FAVOURITE RESTAURANTS GLOBALLY:
Le Bernadine in NYC
Lung King Heen in Hong Kong
French Laundry in Yountville
BEST DAY TO BOOK A TRIP:
There is really no rhyme or reason as to how the airlines sell and price flights, so it's important to stay on top of when prices fluctuate and do your research into different airlines/carriers.
HOW TO TRAVEL LIKE AN EXPERT:
Be open to new experiences and what different cultures have to offer. It will make your trip more meaningful, creating memories that will last a lifetime.
Educate yourself. Read about the issues that face different parts of the world and become a global citizen.
Talk to an expert. The best way to travel like an expert is to talk to one! A travel agent will help you find exactly what you're looking for in a trip. This will help to build the foundation for your travel experience and overall knowledge when it comes to planning trips for the future. Internet reviews can only provide so much detail, which can be incorrect or content that is paid for.