Packing Purpose Into Your Travel

By Alex Malcolm, Founder Jacada Travel


‘Purpose’ as an idea is a moving target that can seem quite fuzzy or superficial. At Jacada Travel, we like to look at it in terms of making travel uplifting and having a positive impact. While purpose may start off as secondary to the overall impetus for a trip, for many guests, it quickly becomes a much deeper part of their travel with us.

One aspect is crystal clear:  It is absolutely possible to head out on an adventure with a strong sense of purpose and wrap oneself in luxury along the way. 

The underlying purpose principle is vital for making travel enriching for everyone: clients, the communities they visit, and our own team, which is a community in itself. Each of our custom-made itineraries is designed to be an uplifting experience for all involved, with a positive impact across the board. Taken together, they are about cultivating connections with everyone who becomes part of the Jacada story and inspiring them to pursue travel that is as responsible as it is transformative.

So, how do we pack purpose into travel?

1. Co-creation: The first step for Jacada Travel is to ensure that everyone on our team is aligned in purpose. We encourage a culture of lasting impact by creating a fulfilling work environment that attracts people with the same sense of purpose. The company’s values are constantly at the forefront, and regular workshops encourage team members to express what they mean to Jacada and themselves personally. We welcome open discussion to come up with new ways to live our values, giving the team a sense of ownership over Jacada’s purpose so that acting on it comes naturally.

2. Implementation: From that very first call with a client, we keep our purpose clearly in focus. As we get to know them and their interests, we’ll create a completely bespoke trip that not only ticks all the items on their ‘must-do’ list but also encourages them to explore further than they expected. Initial conversations flow organically, with our travel designers paying attention to what clients are passionate about and finding where that overlaps with our purpose. Once that connection is found, it’s easier to share our values and get our guests excited about them too.

Coupled with our expert understanding of the regions we visit, what we learn about our clients helps us suggest ways for them to connect more profoundly with their destination. One practical way we do this is to encourage them to stay at lodges and hotels that hire from the surrounding area and are committed to training up people who might not otherwise have access to the hospitality industry.

We also proactively promote experiences that are aligned with our values. For example, when we have potential clients keen on participating in animal interactions, we see it as an excellent opportunity to share why we discourage this sort of activity, but also to suggest other options that are far more in line with our purpose and make for more meaningful experiences.

Whether it’s getting involved with the Pack for a Purpose initiative, identifying needs in communities before a trip, or suggesting activities they would never have contemplated, we advise guests on the best way to make a difference during and after their trip.

3. Live our purpose daily: We choose to work with the right suppliers and people who are part of organisations that demonstrate the same sense of purpose. We keep in constant contact, ensuring that our visions remain aligned. We encourage feedback from clients too, and any suggestions or concerns, especially those related to the guest experience and the impact on communities or the environment, are addressed swiftly. Our teams also pay regular visits to their regions, which helps them get a real sense of what is going on on the ground. Holding our suppliers to the highest standards is vital to ensuring that Jacada’s purpose is being acted on.

4. Get practical: Jacada is committed to helping to uplift the communities we work with through donations as well as practical assistance where possible. At the moment, that takes the form of partnering with Wilderness Safaris to support their conservation and social impact projects. Among those are Children in the Wilderness, which runs weekly Eco Clubs through schools in seven African countries, teaching over 3,300 children about sustainability and conservation issues. In Namibia, Wilderness has teamed with Save the Rhino Trust to help protect these beautiful creatures, and in Rwanda, they are working to restore and expand Gishwati-Mukura National Park. We are very proud to support all of these projects and are looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together with Wilderness.

Shifting Perspectives

As experienced travellers ourselves, we have felt first-hand how the meaning and purpose of a trip can shift. There can be a huge difference between what someone anticipates and their actual unique, lived experience in a new part of the world. It can be an incredible mind shift, that is, one that will stay with them forever.

Quite often, that shift is from the inanimate to the animate, or from places and lavish fittings to the people. We create trips that include luxurious accommodations and world-class service, as well as meaningful connections and experiences with a real sense of purpose.

Jacada is here to show that travellers can, and should, ask for more from their travel experiences. Gone are the days of simply paying extra to offset any negative impact a trip may have; making a practical, genuine difference is the way forward. One absolutely can expect travel to change lives. It’s not just about those two or three weeks. It’s about what travel does for travellers afterwards, for the communities they visit, and for the world.

Curiosity is Key

We feel strongly about using our voice in the industry, especially as a company that caters to thousands of travellers a year and brings a significant amount of business to places around the world. We’ve learned that sometimes our purpose can be carried out simply by asking questions and by helping those who might not be quite there yet find their own path to having a positive impact. Leading the way, being passionately curious, and passing that interest on to others is among our company’s core values.

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