15 Ways To Give Back When You Travel in 2019
What can we do to give back when exploring the world on our travels?
According to statistics from the World Tourism Organization, approximately 1 billion travelers cross borders every year. Imagine the positive change in the world if every traveler did something to help the place they were visiting!
There are many choices you can make as a traveler to ensure you are giving back when you travel and that you are leaving the communities you visit better than you found them.
Here are 15 ways you can give back when traveling in 2019.
1. Eat Local
Part of the joy of travel is the opportunity to enjoy the local cuisine and try new foods. When you do so, we recommend dining at a locally owned eatery. Your money will be supporting local businesses and providing jobs for members of the community. (Plus, the food will likely be better and more authentic!)
2. Hire a Local Tour Guide
Hiring a local guide to show you around will give you an insider’s perspective into the location and make for some very interesting experiences! It’s also a great way to support the local economy and give back to the community.
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3. Buy Products Made by Local Artisans
Shopping local is also a great way to give back when you are traveling. If you enjoyed your stay so much that you want a souvenir to bring back with you, why not make sure that your money ends up going to a local person?
When you buy local products, you not only provide jobs to the community – you also encourage new entrepreneurs to start businesses. The more locally run businesses in a community, the stronger it becomes!
4. Don’t Spend All Your Money in One Place
Instead of staying in one hotel and eating all of your meals there, try to visit a variety of restaurants, shops and cafes during your stay. You’ll be supporting multiple local businesses and spreading your money all throughout the community (Plus, you’ll get to engage with a wider group of interesting people.)
5. Go On a Volunteer Trip
Help build a school in Ethiopia. Work on a sea turtle conservation project in Costa Rica. Care for orphans in Cape Town. The possibilities to help out around the world are endless.
Of course, before you go on a volunteer trip you should do your research to make sure that the organization you are working with is legitimate. You always want what you are doing to actually benefit the local community. Here are some tips for ethical volunteering around the world.
6. Stay At a Locally Owned Guesthouse
Another way you can give back to the community when you travel is to stay at a locally owned guesthouse. You’ll be supporting the family who own the guest house, rather than a large hotel chain.
Plus, local guest houses can be a lot cozier and more welcoming – and the hosts are often happy to give you recommendations of what to do during your stay.
7. Bring Supplies
Leave some extra room in your suitcase and bring some much-needed supplies to donate to the community. The charity Pack for a Purpose helps you to find out what is needed in the area you are visiting – whether it’s school supplies, medicine or any other essential that might be hard to get.
You bring the supplies with you and leave them with your hotel or tour company when you arrive. They will then be passed along to the relevant school, clinic or project. Plus, you can fill the now-empty space in your suitcase with souvenirs and crafts made by local artisans (see #3 above.)
8. Teach English
English is quickly becoming the universal language. Learning it opens a door to a world of possibilities for employment.
If you have the time to volunteer teaching English, you could change the lives of others for the better. This is especially helpful in remote villages where they may not have the means to hire an English language teacher in the traditional way.
9. Book With a Responsible Tour Company
When booking activities and organized tours on your travels, look for businesses that give back to their communities and practice responsible travel.
By choosing a company that doesn’t exploit wildlife or vulnerable people, hires local guides and gives a cut of the profits back to the community – your trip will have a more positive impact. Here are some tips from Lonely Planet on how to choose a responsible travel operator.
10. Donate What You Don’t Need
If you have some clothes you don’t wear any more, or other packable items that are otherwise gathering dust in your closet – bring them with you and donate them at your destination. You can give them to locals you meet, or to a local charity shop.
Rather than sitting unused in your home, your possessions can improve the lives of someone in another country. You can also bring some dollar store items with you to leave behind for cleaning staff in third world countries. It’s a small gift that will be very much appreciated!
11. Give Away Your Airline Miles
If you travel frequently, you may have amassed plenty of airline miles by using your credit card. Sure, you could spend them yourself and enjoy a free hotel stay or flight. But did you know that you can also donate them to the Make-A-Wish foundation?
Every mile donated helps Wish Kids with critical illnesses and their families travel to destinations around the world. What a beautiful way to give back while traveling that costs you nothing!
12. Check Out Charitybuzz
At Charitybuzz, you can bid on travel, events, activities and experiences and the proceeds will benefit a charity. For example, you could bid on a luxury stay in a hotel, lunch with a celebrity, airline tickets or backstage passes to a concert.
The sponsor of the event chooses the charity the money will go towards. Another similar site is Bidding for Good, which also features luxurious trips, getaways, cruises and hotel stays.
13. Use Travel for Charity
An incredibly easy way to give back when traveling is to book your trip with a charitable travel portal such as Travel for Charity. You will be able to get all of the same rates and options as the best online booking engines, and for every booking made Travel for Charity donates 30% of the service fees they receive from their vendor partners to a featured charity.
The featured charity changes every month. Currently, it’s the Missing Children Society of Canada – an organization that provides help and support for families with missing children.
14. Support Employment and Skills Training
Do some research to find social enterprises in your destination and support them while you are there. For example, in Cambodia there are several non-profit restaurants that train disadvantaged youth in cooking and hospitality.
This gives young people from the streets a chance to learn skills and gain experience that will give them a chance to have a career and lift themselves out of poverty.
15. Spread the Word When You Return
If you’ve had a travel experience where you’ve successfully given back to the local community and helped others – be sure to share your story with others when you get back home. Write about it on social media, tell your friends and encourage others to help out too.
Traveler’s Q’s is committed to giving back.
Traveler’s Q has partnered with SAVI, a non-profit organization that provides Veterans with education regarding VA benefits and custom resources to support their civilian objectives.
As a veteran-owned business, Traveler’s Q is committed to helping others in their journey post-military. We hope that you’ll consider learning more about SAVI’s programs and mission. Please visit www.savivets.org for details and ways you can give back to our nation’s Veterans.