How to Give a Vacation to Frontline Medical Workers When You Book One Yourself

Book a future stay (or buy a gift card) at a participating hotel, and the purchase includes a donated room night or gift card for health-care workers so that they can take a well-deserved vacation once they’re able to.

How to Give a Vacation to Frontline Medical Workers When You Book One Yourself

The only thing better than dreaming about a future vacation right now is knowing that a health-care worker will be getting one too.

Courtesy of Outrigger Hotels and Resorts

If you’re anything like us, you’re feeling a bit helpless these days. After all, when it comes to ways you can help flatten the curve of the coronavirus pandemic, if you’re not a doctor, nurse, health-care, or essential worker, it feels a bit like having your hands tied behind your back—there’s not much you can do other than to stay home. That’s why we were particularly taken by a new offer that aims to offer assistance through one of the things we’re best at: travel.

A group of some 30 domestic and international hotels and hospitality brands—including some of our favorite properties, such as the Fairmont portfolio, Langham New York and Chicago, and the Meritage Collection resorts—have joined forces to launch what they are calling the Buy One, Give One program: After you book, the property will donate room nights or gift cards to organizations that include the American Nurses Association (which represents the country’s 4 million registered nurses) and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital (which comprises 10 hospitals throughout New York and has 47,000 employees and affiliated physicians). The donations will be given to medical professionals who can use them toward future vacations.

The hope is that this program will serve double-duty by giving to health-care workers while also aiding a hospitality industry that has been severely crippled by the coronavirus pandemic. Approximately 70 percent of hotel employees have been laid off or furloughed due to the COVID-19 crisis, and 8 in 10 hotel rooms currently sit empty, according to the latest data released by the American Hotel & Lodging Association.

If you’re concerned about the need for flexibility in terms of canceling or changing the booking, check the policy for each hotel: Most hotel bookings include the ability to change or cancel a future booking without a fee. The majority of booking offers we browsed allowed for travel well into 2021, but you can also find a property that is offering a gift card that you can buy for yourself—or for someone else—with no expiration date.

The hotels and companies represent options around the world; Fairmont Hotels & Resorts alone consists of a portfolio of 75 global properties. There are also hotels throughout the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, Mexico, and Europe participating in this promotion.

The beautiful and charming Estancia La Jolla in San Diego is on the list of participating resorts.

The beautiful and charming Estancia La Jolla in San Diego is on the list of participating resorts.

Courtesy of Estancia La Jolla

The initiative runs through June 30, and the full list of participating hotels and travel companies is available on the Buy One Give One website. To see what each property is offering, just click on the property or brand.

As an example of what’s available, if you buy a $300 gift card with Fairmont (which feels like a really great gift, too, by the way), the company will donate a room night to health-care workers. Discounted bookings at Outrigger Hotels and Resorts in Hawaii will result in up to 1,000 room nights for health-care workers—the number of giveaways Outrigger has pledged (we played with the booking tool, and it allowed us to book as far out as November 4, 2021).

Purchase a $500 voucher for Meritage Collection resorts—which include escapes such as the Mediterranean-styled Estancia La Jolla Spa & Resort in San Diego, and the playful and modern Paséa Hotel & Spa in Huntington Beach, California—and the company will give a complimentary room night to local health-care workers. Looking for some sophistication? Book a bed and breakfast reservation at the upscale Langham New York, and a complimentary stay will be donated to the American Nurses Association. If you’re not sure when you will want to stay, you can book as far out as January 31, 2021.

>> Next: How to Help the World When You Can’t Leave the House

Michelle Baran is a deputy editor at AFAR where she oversees breaking news, travel intel, airline, cruise, and consumer travel news. Baran joined AFAR in August 2018 after an 11-year run as a senior editor and reporter at leading travel industry newspaper Travel Weekly.
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