Author: Amanda DiSilvestro Page 2 of 8




Ethical Elephant Tourism: An Interview with Thai Mahouts

Posted by on February 19, 2020 · Leave a Comment  

When it comes to the ethical treatment of animals, there are many different layers to consider and therefore many different beliefs that exist. Discover Corps went into the field to learn about the complex question of elephant tourism from those who have been working with the elephants for generations – the mahouts in Thailand. 

In short, we do not support elephant riding in any way, shape, or form. However, we believe that the problem is not so black and white, and in fact, focusing only on elephant riding is doing a disservice to the animals, the travelers seeking to understand them, and the conservationists working to protect them. 

“Now, the biggest problem we face is that in the past, there was plenty of space for the elephants to graze and feed. Now there is a lot less space, and local laws do not allow them to graze on public land [..] so it can be difficult to find them enough food.” – Boon, Head Mahout at the Elephant Nursery 

We believe that travelers need to vote with their dollars by going to truly ethical camps, the mahout tradition needs to be celebrated, governments, companies, and citizens need to prioritize proper care to establish standards, and we must work to restore lost habitat. 

Watch the video below and get to know the mahouts from our Thailand: The Baby Elephant Experience, and write any questions in the comments!

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Questions about Cuba Travel? Ask the Experts [Webinar]

Posted by on January 28, 2020 · Leave a Comment  

If you’re intrigued by Cuba travel but aren’t sure how to obtain your visa, what the process will be like when you arrive, how to remain legal, or even what the Cuban people might think of American travelers, we’ve got you covered. Check out our one-hour webinar below, featuring the Founder of Discover Corps, Andrew, as well as our Cuban partner, Dayron – both experts on Cuba travel!

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Hiking in Cuba: 7 Must-Visit Cuban Trails

Posted by on January 25, 2020 · 2 Comments  

Apart from the vibrant and colorful streets of Havana, Cuba has something more to offer on the completely other end of the spectrum – a lush countryside.Hiking in Cuba means you’ll get to see a display of vivid greens and blues while walking along revolutionary roads that were once witnesses to the rich history of this beautiful country.

Walking sticks at the ready? Check out this list of best hikes in Cuba below.

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7 Ways to Become a Mindful Traveler

Posted by on January 10, 2020 · Leave a Comment  

Let’s get this straight: Just because we have the means to travel does not mean we can just go out there and do our thing willy-nilly. Not really thinking about the choices we make could affect us, our surroundings, and our environment.

Mindful traveling is not as hard as you think it is. It does not take much effort from you to practice a travel lifestyle that is both beneficial to your well-being and for others as well. If you do not know where to start, consider the seven tips below to set you on a mindful path forward.

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10 Books That Will Inspire Your Children to Travel the World

Posted by on December 9, 2019 · 2 Comments  

Books with a travel theme are a great way to open your children’s minds to new adventures and excitement about the world around us. They give us the opportunity to show our children about the people, places and events that are currently outside of their own experience.

So grab your soon-to-be adventurers and read one or more of these books together. Teach them about our wonderful world one story at a time!

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5 Steps to Creating a Sustainable and Responsible Family Vacation

Posted by on November 23, 2019 · Leave a Comment  

Maybe it’s your New Year’s resolution or maybe you have been living “green” for awhile, but it’s safe to say that sustainable living is not just a fad. It’s a responsible life choice if we want to maintain our quality of life and the planet we call home. Sustainable living doesn’t begin and end with recycling and reusable grocery bags. If you’re truly going to live “green”, this should extend to your travel habits as well.

In fact, it’s even more important to pay attention to your waste while traveling because oftentimes vacations lead to many non-eco friendly choices: unnecessary plastics, more waste, one-use containers, etc. And if you’re traveling as a family, that just means more waste in general. It’s easy to get in the mindset of “I’m on vacation, but I do well at home”, but over the years this has added up.

Check out several steps you can take to plan a sustainable and responsible family vacation.

1. Purchase Carbon-Offsets for Your Flights

This growing trend is an easy way that travelers can work together to reduce their overall carbon footprint, and a flight has a big effect. Most forms of travel generate emissions in the form of carbon, so to combat this, carbon-offset companies have created a formula to calculate the emissions from your vacation. Then, these programs will match you with a meaningful project that puts those carbons back into the environment – for example, planting 100 trees in the Amazon. The fee you pay will ensure that this project gets completed, thus completing the circle and helping cancel out the damages your flight may have cost the planet.

In addition to helping the plant, most companies utilize local communities to carry out the projects, which can play a big role in the local economies you are visiting as well. You can check out Discover Corps’ carbon-offsetting program here and learn more about how this can work when it comes to travel.

2. Choose Eco-Friendly Transportation Options

Once you arrive at your destination, consider biking, walking, or using public forms of transportation. Discuss with your children the environmental benefits of using these forms of transportation instead of renting a car. Check with your hotel as they may offer bikes and have bike racks available for use. If you’re in a city, you may even consider renting an electric vehicle.

3. Book a Sustainable Hotel

Many hotels are meeting the criteria necessary to become eco-friendly. There are several guidelines a hotel must follow in order to be labeled an environmentally sustainable hotel. Some of them include: dependence on the natural environment, proven contribution to conservation, and incorporating local culture.

Hotels around the globe are working to conserve energy and water. This ranges from things like kitchen equipment to linen and towel reuse programs. Other sustainable options hotels are offering include toxic-free cleaning products, fresh local produce, and plastic-free room keys. You can make an informed decision by checking out the hotel’s website or calling the front desk to inquire about sustainable efforts.

Talk to your kids about the efforts a hotel is making to stay green, and explain to them the importance of conserving resources. They should know why they’re reusing towels, and why it’s important to take shorter showers and turn the water off when brushing their teeth. If they understand the why, they’re more likely to make good choices.

4. Recycle

When packing for your trip, consider bringing along reusable bags, food containers, and water bottles whenever possible. When you are planning out your day, think ahead and pack some snacks to eliminate purchasing plastic convenience items (because with kids, you know you’ll need snacks!). If you do have to purchase plastic, consider reusing it or recycling it on your own if you are unable to find proper receptacles. If you are dining out, consider asking if they have paper straws instead of plastic (you would be surprised how much of the world is adopting this), or bring along a metal straw if preferred or if your children need one.

5. Book an Organized Tour

Oftentimes there is little planning or thought given to the lasting impacts of tourism to a destination. Mass tourism can have negative environmental, economic, and social impacts to an area. Find a travel agent or a sustainable travel company that specializes in eco-friendly tourism. They can help you book a tour that focuses on social responsibility. It isn’t always easy to navigate, so letting someone else do the work for you is usually a great way to go that can also be cost-effective for a family.

Another component to consider is voluntourism. These tours are a great way to give a hands-on experience for your youngsters, all while leaving a lasting impact on your destination of choice. Take advantage of a great learning experience as well as an opportunity to educate your family on social responsibility, volunteering, and being environmentally conscious.

Your Turn

As tourism continues to increase, it’s more and more important that we become conscientious travelers. Traveling with our environment in mind can support local communities and conserve cultures and habitats. Taking a few extra minutes to think about your impact on the world can make a huge difference, and following the steps above can really make a difference when it comes to preserving your destination of choice. You and your family can also make a pledge to travel better.

Learn to leave a lasting impression and less of a carbon footprint, and then instill these values in your children so that the generations to come know and understand the importance of conserving resources.

Amanda DiSilvestro is the Marketing Manager for Discover Corps, an organization offering Vacations with Purpose for families and friends across the globe. An adventure lover herself, Amanda believes sustainable, responsible travel can change the world. Connect with her for content marketing services at




Tips to Overcoming Language Barriers while Traveling

Posted by on October 17, 2019 · Leave a Comment  

It happens pretty often – people who do not speak foreign languages avoid traveling to non-English speaking countries, or they think the language barriers aren’t worth overcoming for a one or two week vacation. Whatever the reasoning for this trend, the truth is that if you want to immerse yourself in new cultures, nothing should stop you. If you organize your trip in the right way, you will face no difficulties caused by the language barrier.

Let’s consider seven travel tips on how to overcome language barriers and get the most of your trip.

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How to Talk to Your Friends About Sustainability (and why it’s so important)

Posted by on July 3, 2019 · Leave a Comment  

There’s no doubt that the environment is changing – CO2 levels are the highest they’ve ever been, massive heat waves (and cold fronts) are popping up all over the world, and the Earth’s heat-repelling ice is melting. It’s becoming more important than ever that every citizen of the Earth make a noticeable effort to reduce their impact on the planet.

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