As we gear up to restart traveling and tourism throughout the world, many travelers are starting to examine their relationships with the communities that host them. Sometimes, it can be very difficult to support these communities while traveling – in some locales, big business has taken over much of the tourist ecosystem and local communities can even be almost completely invisible. To give these communities our support during our travels, we can lean on the three pillars of what is sometimes referred to as “responsible travel”. By keeping these pillars in mind while traveling, we can do our part to preserve these wonderful locations for generations to come.
Of course, one of the most direct ways to support local communities is with our wallets. As mentioned above, huge tourist destinations and big business almost always go together. And while it’s sometimes unavoidable, there are plenty of ways to ensure your travel money goes into the hands of the locals. Eating out at locally-established restaurants, shopping for souvenirs from local vendors, going out on tours given by local guides – it sounds basic, but it goes a long way towards supporting local communities.
Learning About and Protecting Traditional Culture
In any big tourist destination, there is a risk that cultural traditions will become watered down to cater to the needs of the tourists, ironically putting those very traditions in danger. Making cultural traditions accessible is certainly important for visibility – but your engagement with that culture should not just end there. Consider doing some research of your own as well – this can go a long way in helping you find local indigenous artisans and other tradespeople to support. It can also help you build a deeper connection with the traditions and the culture of your travel destination, making the experience a much richer one!
Protecting the Environment
All travel will involve generating a carbon footprint of some kind, but there are many actions we can take to reduce the impact of our own travels. When visiting a nature reserve, park, or other outdoor destination, be kind to your environment and don’t litter. Carry reusable water bottles and use fabric shopping bags when out shopping to reduce your need for plastic. Consider walking or taking public transportation while out in the city instead of ordering an Uber or Lyft. Eco-conscious tourists could also consider purchasing carbon offsets for their air travel as well.
Explore the World with AESU!
Are you ready to plan an adventure of a lifetime? AESU offers unique, thrilling travel programs for college students and young professionals at affordable rates. Each trip is action-packed and informal—designed just for people your own age. We are also able to design custom tours just for your group.
Experience an exhilarating adventure in 2022 on the Cosmopolitan, Great Escape, Greek Island Hopper tour, and more! 2022 tour dates are now available! If you have any questions or want help booking your next adventure, please contact AESU by calling 800-638-7640, or fill out the contact form found on our website. Follow AESU on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.