How to Use Your Travels to Help the World

1. Choose your destination wisely 

Have a look at lists of the poorest countries. The money you spend as a tourist could help in places like Tanzania, Haiti, Malawi and Madagascar.

Baobub trees in Madagascar

2. Spend locally 

When you do visit your chosen country, spend locally, not on the worldwide brands you know. Buy your lunch from somewhere unbranded. It’ll be an interesting experience whether the food is good or not.

Try something different, out of your comfort zone and live a little. As soon as you start paying for brands abroad you’re paying over the odds anyway.

3. Think about your accommodation 

Some of my favourite travel experiences have been down to my accommodation choices. Choose somewhere local, run by locals and staffed by them too and you’ll be pumping money back into the system. Stay at chain hotels and that money will be going straight to the fat cat at the top – usually American or Russian owned.

Backpacker hostel dormitory

4. Make the effort to talk to a local

Put yourself in situations where you get to talk to locals, or just strike up a conversation.

Talking to locals promotes a cultural understanding that works both ways. The people you meet are usually the most interesting thing about travel anyway.

5. Don’t act like a fool

Gawd, I’ve seen some idiot backpackers on my travels. And that’s putting it nicely. Don’t be one of them. How would you want your parents to see you behave? Would you be mortified if they saw you drunk down the Khao San Road or, even worse, disrespecting the locals?

When people from poorer countries don’t have the money to travel – as many don’t – their only impressions of your country depend on how you, their citizens, act abroad. A destination that only ever sees nationals drunk, disorderly and disrespectful is not going to have a good impression. Travel, and you’re an ambassador for your country – project the best impression you can.

Behave responsibly when travelling

6. Volunteer wisely

Find the right volunteering project, dedicate a good amount of time to it and you could make a big difference to the people or animals you help. Volunteering is a great way for anyone who’s privileged enough to travel to give something back to the world.

7. Only use tour companies with a responsible tourism policy

Choosing which tour company to travel with can be confusing. One of the most important things to look out for, to help the world, is to check that they have some sort of responsible tourism policy.

This will ensure that any activities involved in your trip have been assessed for their effect on the local environment. It also means that whoever put the tour together will have done so with the aim to support the locale, in a way you never knew you could if you’d been travelling independently.

If you’re looking for advice on how to find a responsible animal experience, we’ve put together an expert guide.

Responsible tourism - orangutan

8. Embark on your own photo project

You’re going to be posting pictures on Facebook and Instagram, right? Why not make it your mission to try and override the negative assumptions and beliefs you know people back at home have about the destination you’re in?

Every day go out and take a photo that challenges the general thoughts about your destination and post it online with well thought out captions. It’s these little messages and anecdotes that can totally change the way a country is considered. And those positive messages will spread.

9. Don’t feel you need to do it all 

Changing how and where you plan to travel might seem overwhelming, but just choose a battle or two to start and stick with that. Stay local a few nights, try a local restaurant when you would’ve gone for a chain or choose one of the more needy countries and make sure to get out and about to spend your money and invest back into the system.

Travelling to new destinations and promoting a better-informed view of the world to our friends and family is one of the best ways to help others see the world in a different light right now.

Source: gapyear

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Raj says:

    Also I would like to add…. understand the local cultures before you go, be in a group specifically in under developed countries. Choose destinations wisely don’t put yourself in to danger. Talking to locals is a good idea but make sure you are not taken for a ride. Try to find reputed people from social networks and take their local help.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes it sounds reasonable and it is a great plan before you choose a destination. You look like a man who have travelled a lot…good for you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Raj says:

        Yes Phil I have traveled lot, but learnt the things hard way too. I see many people from developed parts of the world sometimes get into trouble because of the lack of understanding. So pointed it out. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I have travelled too, and i faced some examples which i couldn’ t explain. Some people act with an undespicable qay..this isn’t gonna change


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