When you’re planning a trip and dreaming about all of the wonderful memories you’re going to make with your cherished loved ones, the last thing on your mind is a pandemic. No one wants to think about emergency situations before, during, or after travel, but they’re a reality that every traveler should prepare for.
When they hear about “sustainable travel,” the first thing that comes to most people’s minds is the environmental aspects of traveling. People think of eco-lodges practicing the classic reduce, re-use, and recycle model or mission trips spent getting their hands in the soil. While these are important parts of sustainability, this is a topic that goes beyond the environment; it encompasses the economic and social components of traveling, too.
Tourism can be a boon to local economies; tourism accounts for more than 35% of GDP in some locations, such as the Maldives and the British Virgin Islands. However, the money you spend in a country may not always stay there. Rather than staying in the local economy, it may go to business owners overseas.
To combat the drain of funds from the community, travelers can make tweaks to their itinerary. Selecting locally-owned accommodations and local tour guides are great ways to ensure that the money spent stays where it’s spent. When buying souvenirs, choosing handmade goods from the artisans themselves rather than frequenting the tourist shops also supports the community.
You don’t need to take a mission trip to an orphanage to have a social impact on a community, and in the case of working directly with orphanages, you probably shouldn’t (kids get attached and then you leave). Consider how your actions while traveling affect the people in the area; do they empower or create a culture of dependence? Are you leaving locals in a better place in the long run, or just temporarily?
If you want to have a positive and sustainable social impact, donate to local nonprofits that are transparent about financials and employ community members. Choose to buy from vendors that give back to the community or have programs that empower women. Don’t expect the locals to cater to tourists, either. Sometimes the very culture you have come to experience and cherish gets swept away with the influx of outsiders expecting insiders to conform to their norms.
There is much more to be said on this topic. If you would like assistance in planning a sustainable travel experience, I would love to help you get started. If you’re intrigued by the topic and want more information, take a look at some of the resources below:
Sustainable Travel International: https://sustainabletravel.org
Intro to sustainable travel: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/13/travel/sustainable-travel.html
Tips for sustainable travel: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/lists/sustainable-travel-tips/
Countries that rely most on tourism: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/maps-and-graphics/Mapped-The-countries-that-rely-most-on-your-money/
Green Traveler Guides: https://greentravelerguides.com/tips/resources/
A cheer erupts as the crisp, white double doors open. The music that had been previously contained within the room suddenly spills out, bass pounding down the otherwise silent hallway. I walk forward and I’m greeted by enthusiastic women on both sides of me; some give high-fives, others give hugs, all of them wear beaming smiles. Am I at a concert? Some sort of pep rally? No, it’s just the opening day of the Book More Travel Workshop.
Most families have a legend or two about a distant relative who was an outlaw in the Wild West or the head of an Irish clan back in the 12th century, but few people ever venture to the stomping grounds of their kin. However, with the prevalence of DNA testing and the continuous digitization of family records, genealogy travel has become more accessible than ever. Have you ever thought about tracing your roots, but weren’t sure how to begin? Here are a few tips to get you on the right track.
When you visit a new place, it’s easy to walk around admiring the beautiful and unique architecture without understanding the significance of what you’re seeing. However, architecture is an art form, and like any era of art, the buildings built at a particular time reflect the values and happenings of their day. This week, we’re headed to Budapest, Hungary, to examine three styles of architecture that you’ll find in the Queen of the Danube.
Ottoman (Turkish) Architecture
Author: Debra Harris
As founder of Life’s Journey Travel, I’m deeply passionate about creating custom travel experiences that allow my clients to truly savor the journey.