Travelling is an incredible experience that allows you to visit new places, enjoy exciting new activities, and learn about different cultures around the world. Tourism is a valuable source of income for many small businesses and it is important to support local companies when you are on holiday or travelling. Here are some suggestions on how to support local communities while you travel.
Stay in locally owned accommodation
One of the easiest ways to support local businesses when you travel is by choosing to stay in locally owned accommodation instead of large chain hotels or international resorts. Staying in a local guesthouse or hotel can offer several benefits including better value for money, a more personal experience, and the chance to interact with local people. Staying in local accommodation also means that you will be putting money back into the local economy, rather than funding large global organizations. You can find locally run accommodation by searching on websites such as Airbnb or Couchsurfing. These sites can help you save money on accommodation while travelling, while also giving you the opportunity to learn about the local culture by staying with a local.
Donate to relief efforts
Many charities and relief efforts appeal to tourists and holidaymakers to gain funding to support local community projects or emergencies. You can help communities when you travel by donating to local causes or volunteering to support local projects such as building a school or constructing a temporary shelter for the homeless. Donating money to an emergency cause can also be a great way to support local people in need. For instance, a hurricane relief donation can be used to provide disaster victims with essential supplies and medical care in the aftermath of a hurricane.
Eat in local restaurants
Local restaurants tend to offer far better value for money when compared to food venues targeting tourists. They also offer a more authentic experience and allow you to sample traditional dishes cooked by a local. With that in mind, you should always try to be adventurous with your food when you travel, and support locally run restaurants and cafes. You can get recommendations for the best local restaurants and read customer reviews by visiting travel sites such as Tripadvisor. If you have a positive experience, then be sure to leave a review to support the local business and assist other travellers searching for recommendations.
Buy souvenirs from local markets
Many people like to collect souvenirs and mementos to remind them of their travels. If you are planning on buying anything, then make sure you visit local markets rather than buying items in the airport or at large tourism shops selling mass-produced items. Going to a local market will give you the chance to see work from local artists and find unique, ethical souvenirs. You will also get to see how local products are made and give money back to the local people and economy. Handmade local souvenirs are far more meaningful than factory-made items, making them a great option if you are buying gifts for loved ones back home.