More and more people are looking to give something back to the world while they’re traveling — but are they doing the right thing?
More and more people are looking to give something back to the world while they’re traveling, making it a more altruistic experience. But when we take a closer look at the consequences of visiting less-developed countries, are we actually doing the right thing?
Let’s go on a trip!
So, you’re planning your first long holiday of the year. You’re thinking of a more impactful travel destination to broaden your horizon and mindset – but where to go to?
In talking to friends the same countries keep popping up — Vietnam, Thailand, South Africa, Colombia, and India are all popular options. You’re able to find relatively cheap flights, stays, great food and it’s supposed to have a great climate. Sounds like a deal!!
Doing a double take
But something doesn’t feel right. Of course, you want to explore the world, but hearing stories about the impact it’s having on our environment has made you aware of the problems we’re facing — global pollution and an impact on local societies.
Come to think of it — maybe it’s a good idea to give something back to the world while you’re traveling? Help someone out, be kind to others, do your part in bringing people together? You end up looking for orphanages and schools where you could help out by teaching, cleaning or organizing a fundraiser.
Once again, something isn’t right — could it be that you’re making the wrong kind of impact?
The last decade has been all about sustainability — climate, melting ice caps, palm oil, agriculture, they’re all topics that have popped up on people’s radars. Most of them come down to humanity’s ecological footprint.
Recently, sustainable travel has focused on ethical tourism — how does your travel impact the local culture and people? People’s lives will always be influenced when you’re meeting others, be it in a good or bad way. Of course, some communities will take advantage of growing tourism, but most travel will still have a negative impact.
What you can do
While all of this might sound like there’s nothing you can do, the opposite is true — there are lots of ways to leave a positive mark. You could look into eco-friendly lodging, for example — this is a growing trend which has visitors take part in local traditions and help out the community during their stay. Another way to help is much simpler — just make sure you support the local economy by spending money. Supporting local schools and charities can also be a great way to help out those in need and contributes to creating a better society.
Travelling doesn’t harm anybody when it’s done consciously — we just need to be smarter about our choices. Now it’s up to you to go out there and do it!