Did you know that by learning about and respecting local cultures you contribute positively to local communities? It’s true! During your next trip make it a point to support localism by following these easy steps that make for better travel experiences:
1.) Live like a local: Eat where they eat and shop where they shop.
Getting to know local traditions, history and culture can enrich any travel experience. One way to immerse yourself is by sampling regional cuisine at a local farmers market. Green markets have been a staple of civilization for
centuries and can be found just about anywhere in the world. So, dive into a local market, try fresh fruits and vegetables you’ve never eaten before and ask farmers and locals for recipes. If you have access to a kitchen, bring home a bagful of homegrown produce, fresh flowers, and the fulfillment of having contributed to the livelihood of a farmer and their community.
2.) Buy local – This puts your tourism dollars into the hands of the community where you are visiting.
Another way to practice sustainable travel is to buy local. The most unique gifts you can find when traveling are those made by local artisans. Your purchases contribute to the local economy, while encouraging the development of future artists in return. As we become “global consumers, shopping at chain stores and online, it’s easy to forget how crucial small, independent businesses are to our collective well-being,” said William Powers. Your monetary contribution has the added benefit of reducing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions as mass-produced “souvenirs” are shipped internationally from industrial countries. So keep it eco-friendly!
3.) Familiarize yourself with new languages.
Make an effort to learn phrases such as, “hello, please, and thank you” in the language of your travel destination. Luckily, today translation apps are just a quick download away. By blending in with the local culture you’re often met with a more rewarding and authentic travel experience, which encourages deeper connections with the people and places you’re traveling to. After all, it’s not just the attractions that make a place; it’s the people.
4.) Ask for recommendations from locals.
Be sure to ask questions like, “If you had a free day, where would you go?” or “What would be a perfect day if you could be a tourist in your city?” Don’t forget to ask the hotel staff what attractions they recommend and the best days and times to visit them. Most concierges are extremely knowledgeable sources and are more than willing to point you in the right direction of where the best of the best can be found. In addition, try hiring a local tour guide to go sightseeing. This way you are more likely to learn more about the culture, stories, history, traditions, places and people.
By adding these travel actions into your future trips not only are you helping with the eco-friendly sustainable travel movement, you’re also rewarded with enhanced travel experiences at the same time.