How to Give Back While Traveling Best Western Experience | Travel Zone by Best Western

How to Give Back While Traveling

By Stuart Hughes

Many of us are blessed to be able to travel the world, yet sometimes, we take for granted the opportunities to visit new and exotic destinations, see incredible historical sights, and discover alternative societies and cultures. Creating unforgettable memories is one thing. However, it’s essential to recognize that our journeys can have a less than positive impact on the people and places we visit, so it’s important to give back while traveling. 

The importance of sustainable tourism

Sure, we can still enjoy our pursuit of exploration, but there is a growing trend for more sustainable travel practices that allow people to have a positive impact wherever they visit. By actively volunteering in local community projects, buying goods from local vendors, and fundraising for affected causes, you support local communities and create a platform for the next generation of travelers to follow in your footsteps. 

If you’re planning an upcoming vacation, join us as we explore some of the simple ways you can give back while traveling. Discover new ideas and concepts that you can adopt to help reduce your travel footprint and secure a destination’s prospect of embracing future sustainable tourism practices. 

Support local businesses and artisans

First, let’s start with some of the most practical ways to give back while traveling and you might be surprised to hear you may already contribute to some of these practices without even knowing it. Wherever you visit from now on, whether it’s Alaska or Zimbabwe, it’s vital to support the local vendors and businesses in the area. 

Simple acts like buying necessities such as sunscreen or clothing from local shops and business is a welcome investment directly into the regional community. Similarly, try to avoid big chain restaurants and only eat at local cafés or family-owned restaurants You’ll be surprised, as not only are you supporting the community, but you’ll find the food is more fresh and delicious and every meal is served with a genuine smile. 

Volunteering opportunities

Volunteering on location is a fantastic way to give back while traveling, and you don’t need to be a trained healthcare professional or a skilled construction worker to help out. Often, local communities are in need of  volunteers to help with community events and projects. This could be as simple as spending an afternoon of your vacation raising awareness about local wildlife conservation efforts with fellow tourists in the area. 

Additionally, if you are staying at a destination for an extended period of time, assisting or teaching in schools is a brilliant way of giving back while traveling. For example, communities in poorer funded areas of the country or nations where English isn’t their first language often welcome people who can help teach the local children. 

Environmental conservation efforts 

Another impactful way to give back while traveling is to support or volunteer in local and regional environment conservation efforts. While tourism can be financially beneficial to a community,the environmental damage and impact on local wildlife can often remain unseen during a short stay. For instance, if you’re staying at a beach resort or coastal town for a week, see if you can join a local beach clean-up drive or campaign for an afternoon of your vacation.  

There are also some unbelievable benefits to supporting animal preservation drives that money just can’t buy. Wildlife protection projects and conservation efforts often take volunteers behind the scenes to witness incredible events that the public can’t see. For instance, volunteering for a Turtle conservation project could see you joining researchers on nightly beach walks to observe nesting turtles laying eggs on some of the most picturesque beaches in the world 

Donations and fundraising

Additionally, giving back while traveling doesn’t have to end once your vacation or trip has finished. Gaining a first-hand insight on  how tourism  negatively affects a region can be inspirational in raising awareness once you’ve returned home. 

Passionate support in the form of setting up a monthly donation or using social media and online giving pages such as GoFundMe and JustGiving can generate invaluable fundraising possibilities for your chosen cause. Raising funds to support schools, healthcare facilities, and wildlife campaigns provides an endless opportunity to continue to give back while traveling and beyond. 

The world is your oyster– now share it with others. 

Taking the time to see behind the scenes how your vacation potentially affects others is the first step toward being able to give back while traveling. After all, small actions can have a huge impact when embracing a more ethical approach to travel and tourism 

Best Western® Hotels & Resorts have always strived to work with local communities to reduce the impact tourism can have. So, if you’re planning a future vacation, reach out to local organizations and environmental campaigns where you are heading to create new, long-lasting memories and also to give back while traveling. 

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