Instead of travelling in traditional path as mass tourists, many travelers nowadays choose themselves better practice. The ways of travelling, how travelers spend their money and time, their behaviors toward destinations and residents decide a lot on how their visit will impact on the communities and bring the change to the destination. Once they decided to bring positive influence to the communities, they engage in what we call “responsible travel”.

There is an idiom says “Travel broadens the mind”. Indeed, travelling is the best way to open up the doors to the world which is both amazingly joyful and desperately unfortunate. Whilst most of the people choose to concern more about their daily basis, how much money they can earn, when they can update smart phones,… somewhere in the world there are a lot of tragic lives happening. 

Various ways can be found for travelers to help make a big difference to the people’s lives in the world. By simply open their minds, be more hearted and educated, travelers can bring remarkable changing wind to the destination visited.

Here are some ways to become responsible travelers as well as contribute to the improvement of others’ lives:

Volunteers

Spending some of the time in travelling period to do volunteering jobs is really meaningful and also amazing, which bring one’s trip with memorable moments and wonderful experiences. There is a whole multitude of choices for volunteering jobs for both those who skillful and who are not highly qualified. Travelers with health care experiences, social care, or technical background such as engineering or architecture can find a lot more ways to use their expertise in good use to help the communities. Those who are not familiar with those aspects can also have many beneficial ways to contribute their time, for instance, teaching English in rural schools, helping locals with their jobs, repairing and decorating houses, or engaging in natural conservation projects available in visited destinations. Contacting local NGO is another good idea if travelers pursue to help.

In general, volunteering at the local is weighty and worthy, but travelers also should consider the purpose and effectiveness of the jobs they commit to do. If spending money to pay for the high cost in NGO in engage in community-based job is more effective than directly donate that amount to the local?

Localize the travel

Most of rural and mountainous areas are still suffered by the poverty and residents there have few options for the job to improve their living standard. Thus, choosing how and where to spend the money can create massive impact to the local community. Simply buying local products, staying in local houses and having dinner in homestays of traditional shelters, travelers are helping to inject money into the local economy. This is way which not only generates benefits to the community, help local people improve their lives, but also help to create travelers with authentic and fantastic experiences.

Choose sustainable suppliers

Deciding where to put down the head and which operator to take out for incredible experience can bring a world of change. There are thousands of options available for travelers to choose. They can find in almost all of places they visit businesses working with local communities and having sustainable practices in helping to protect wildlife and the environment. It may take a little bit more time for researching those organizations, but the efforts are worthy. One of the great examples of this ideal business model is Vietnam Homestay in Vietnam. This organization was established based on the idea of building a culture bridge that enables travelers to access authentic and interactive experiences while visiting the country. This homestay network also aims to connect guests to homestay owners to help local people access income and employment from tourism while also contributing to local economic development. As any other community-based organizations, Vietnam Homestay only works with local residents as being hosts and guides for visitors, and also provides extra training to improve local people with basic background and skills. By working with such those businesses, travelers indirectly give a hand to local communities for better livings.

Respect local wildlife and culture

Many travelers before their trip may always dream about riding elephant, swimming with dolphin, or taking picture with a tiger. However they do not recognize how those activities put burden on wild animals which deserve to be preserved and protected. If a traveler desire to visit animals, he or she would come to one that is registered NGO which is transparent in its business. 

Wildlife is not the only thing a traveler must respect at the destination visited. All of us know that one of the greatest rewards in travelling is the opportunity to witness different cultures and customs all around the world which are diverse and full of amazement. Each country, each region and land has its own cultures, customs and traditions required to be respected. For example, some of Asian counties have strict principle in outfit worn when visiting spiritual monuments, or gestures in different regions have different meanings in expressions. Do take a little time to learn a bit about the local customs can help travelers make sure they will not offend anyone, and also create closer connection with the destination they will pay a visit.  

To be continue...