Travelers, who have had authentic local interactions while visiting various destinations understand the vital role the community plays in creating a rewarding travel experience.
These natives, with the wealth of knowledge gained from them, one way or the other, adds a certain flavor to the trip, making it extra special. Giving back to them therefore has a way of making the trip much more fulfilling, especially when the ultimate goal is to show your gratitude and appreciation for the effort they put into making your stay worthwhile. Looking for ways to get started? Howng.com, Africa’s No. 1 online hotel booking site offers 7 ways every traveler can give back to locals.
Attend a paid event
Most destinations, especially those most frequently visited by tourists, usually have events they host at intervals which yield proceeds beneficial to the society as large. Purchasing a ticket and attending such events can be a great way to contribute to the society. Though indirect, this tactic benefits both the traveler and the community.
Volunteer your skills where you can
Most visitors likely have a specific area of expertise, talent or hobby that could be of value to the local communities. Sharing the things they know or love to do with the locals is another way of giving back to them. For instance a visitor who had a knack for surfing to a local beach in Lagos can teach a few of the local children the sport. Also, a photographer can arrange to take pictures of the locals and their environment, make prints, and have them sent to the locals after the trip.
Patronize the local shops and markets
When visiting a destination, pack light. Leave anything that is not ultra-essential behind and instead, buy them from the local markets when you arrive the location. Purchase eccentric crafts and artifact, you could collect them for personal use or to give out as souvenirs when you eventually return home. Also, the streets usually have local delicacies that any adventurous traveler would enjoy savoring. Patronize the vendors on the street and visit the local road-side bukkas rather than the exotic restaurants.
Donate to charity homes
Almost every local community has a charity organization or a charity homes such as orphanages and adult homes. Make out time to visit these homes while visiting a location and either donate gifts or donate your time in service. If you while traveling you purchased extra clothes or belonging, donate the old ones you came in with at local drop-off locations before you leave. Also, lightly used items which you planning on replacing soon anyway.
Participate in a local contest
Step out of your hotel room and have fun by enrolling in a local contest. It could be a beauty, sport or simple online contest. Charity contest are however most preferable as instead of prizes, the proceeds won, go right back to the residents of the community. Participating in contests is a great way for travelers to give back in the areas they visit.
Visit the ultra-local attractions
Rather than visit prestigious places in the location or touring new sites that are not originally owned and managed by the indigenes, consider including ultra-local attractions that offer visiting hours on your list of things to do while on the trip. For instance, instead of going to a privately owned beach, or a big chain resort, visit a local riverside where the gate fee may be less but is of direct benefit to the people in the area. You can find these options from online research, scanning and skimming through local newspapers, stopping at tourist offices, inquiring at your hotel front desk, or just asking the locals.
Chatting up and befriending the locals
Giving back does not always have to be in material ways, it can also come in the form of ideas exchanged during a casual conversation. These usually form the framework for forging a friendship that can be of mutual benefits and last a lifetime. A traveler’s efforts towards forging a connection with the locals can make a difference in both parties lives.