With 50 offices stationed around the globe, luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent can grant you access to some of the world’s most remote and geographically desirable locales. Combining personalized service with unique “insider-access opportunities,” Abercrombie & Kent can lead you through the Andes Mountains by land, on the Galápagos shore by water, or to Machu Picchu behind the lens of a local archaeologist and a residential Mayan family. The travel company known for not only bringing vacationers to marvelous destinations, but rather into these places also hits home to the many locals that live there. Through its nonprofit organization Abercrombie & Kent Philanthropy (AKP), the company works to sustain and preserve the local habitat already established–the natural wildlife, the landscape, and the surrounding community. In 2013, Abercrombie & Kent Philanthropy stretched across seven continents—bettering the lives of 70,000 men, women, and children with its 20-plus local grassroots projects.
Elephants You Won’t Forget
Seventy miles east of Chiang Rai City, where Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos converge, you’ll find the Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort. On its own, it’s a lush jungle paradise with achingly beautiful vistas, gourmet food, cooking lessons, and spa. However, its heart and soul is the on-site mahout (elephant trainer) village, founded in 2003 in tandem with the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation (helpingelephants.org). The foundation, which rescues endangered elephants and performs street rescues, provides a sanctuary for the gentle giants as well as training for mahouts as well as veterinary and environmental studies students from around the world.
While guests can partake in elephant rides in many parts of Thailand, interaction with elephants here is meaningful with Anantara’s “Elephant Learning Experience” (learning elephant essentials hands-on with a research assistant from Think Elephants International) or the “Mahout Experience” (spending an early morning learning the correct, humane way to ride an elephant and elephant care basics).
Getaway 2 Give: From Vacation to Vocation
Some vacation souvenirs from exotic lands and cities collect dust or fall apart. Others, especially memories made when getting to know a place’s people and culture, are built to last. Unlike other vacation clubs or timeshares that put clients into the lap of familiar luxury, Getaway 2 Give (or G2G) endeavors to get its members out into the world (in any of 30 countries) and immerse themselves wholly in another culture’s lifestyle, causes, and future success.
With a one-time membership fee of $7,500 and a donation of $7,500 to your charity of choice, you get access to your own dedicated Destination Manager. This expert will work with you to select the right destination and structure an itinerary that includes adventurous activities and opportunities to donate your time and expertise to local individuals and groups who can benefit from your life and business experiences. What you get in return, besides unforgettable photos, is intimate knowledge about an exotic, fascinating locale as well as the satisfaction of making a difference in the lives of those people you meet along the way.
Partnering charities include the American Red Cross, Access, Autism Speaks, Boys & Girls Clubs, St. Jude’s Research Hospital, and Unicef.
Elevate Destinations, founded by Dominique Callimanopulos, transforms dream vacation destinations into golden opportunities for travelers making those places better. It coordinates worldwide trips for altruistically-inclined families, couples, and groups who want a top-tier luxury experience that will also involve them in conservation and community activities. Examples of customized packages include assisting with orphan elephants being released into the wild in Kenya and volunteering at a school in Tanzania or the Peruvian Andes.
Elevate Destinations works with a prolific network of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and community groups to empower travelers to do their part to substantially improve conditions for local inhabitants, and, in turn, broaden their appreciation for those destinations.