Travelling is not just about scenic beauty, it can also be about impact. No doubt a lot of people just want a break, to curl up and see the waves crash on the shores but you can do that and you can also contribute a little to the betterment of society. None of your exploration, relaxation or tourist shopping is affected with responsible shopping. You can have a lot of fun and also help the local community. It is not very hard, in fact, it’s something you already do perhaps, but now you can do it mindfully and understand that these small deeds help make a better world. These small efforts mean a lot for the local people and community. Small stones make a huge mountain and similarly with a little bit of effort, we will also go a long way.
If you are planning for a long trip, an escape, or a break from your routine life, why not volunteer? There are lots of local NGO’s and organisations where you can volunteer. Volunteering will also save you some money, help you stay for a place for long, and will keep you sufficiently busy. You can volunteer for farming, teaching, spreading awareness, at eco-organizations or animal rescues, local childrens NGO’s or even Volunteer for a local cause, it’s your choice. Not only shall it benefit the local community, but it will also provide you with hard skills, local insight and an amazing experience. Volunteering period changes from organization to organization, usually its between 1-4 weeks.
Spend your money on the local inhabitants. You can buy their native art, support their artisanal products and promote their culture this way. You can eat at local eateries and try local food to experience and promote their food. Visit local festivals, spend money on the local shops, you can also take a local guide to see around the place. A local guide can not only take you to the best spots in town he can also introduce you to the best dishes to eat there. Stay at a local homestay if available and experience their daily lifestyle. You can experience something new, make local friends and expand your local contacts this way too. Buying local is a way to ensure that your money is invested in the local community and not in corporate houses. This way you can make a difference by donating to the local economy and supporting their livelihood. Your contribution will pave their path to being self-sufficient.
A lot of tourism depends heavily on reviews, advertisements and word of mouth. Most local businesses, homestays and properties do not have social media presence or any advertising. The local inhabitants thus have to rely heavily on word of mouth. Most of their customers are recurring travellers or their recommended friends and family. You can help them by promoting them. Write about their stay or their business on your social media account. Share their picture if they are comfortable with it. Your thousands of friends and followers can thus know about their business and avail their facilities if they are there. This way you can help these local communities prosper, drive more people to their place and contribute to their livelihood. You can also leave reviews on their property page if they are listed anywhere online.
You can learn the local way of life, their beliefs and traditions. In exchange, you can also teach the locals of that place what you know. Cultural exchange is a massive part of travelling. Always be open to new experiences, opinions and exchanges and share knowledge with fellow people. I am not saying impose your view on anybody, I am saying that you should learn and share what you have learned and then judge for yourself and unlearn what you do not need.