If there’s one thing we know about our Kiva lenders, it’s that they care about people around the globe and love traveling the world! That mindset plays perfectly into a growing trend in the travel industry called “social impact travel.” This new approach to traveling values exploring local cultures while contributing to local economies and preserving the natural environment.
While some people book social impact vacations with certain companies or nonprofits, making a positive social impact on your next vacation doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive! Here are some easy tips for having a positive impact on your next trip. And these practices aren’t restricted to international travel. Keep them in mind whenever you’re exploring a new place, even in your own country!
Respect the culture
Learn some of the local language beforehand. Even a few phrases will help you get around, impress the locals and show respect for their culture
Do your research. Learning about the culture before you go can avoid any awkward situations with unusual local customs
Take a cooking class, visit a local crafts center or browse local art!
Get off the beaten track - visit less well-known places and explore regions unknown to typical tourism
Be adventurous and try new foods at local restaurants
Support the local economy
Stay with locals for an authentic experience - find a homestay or AirBnB
When possible, support family-owned local businesses that employ local people rather than large international companies
Hire a local guide! After all, they know their home country better than anyone
Visit fair-trade plantations such as coffee, tea, or chocolate!
Travel during the off-season: cyclical vacation trends make it difficult for locals to subsist on sporadic incomes. Besides, it’s cheaper and less crowded!
Protect the environment
- Bring a refillable water bottle and a water filter so you don’t have to waste plastic. Besides, it’s cheaper too.
- Visit national parks - your entry fees contribute to preserving nature
- Eat vegetarian on your trip, or make sure your meat is sourced ethically and locally
- Don’t buy souvenirs made of endangered plants or animals (we’re lookin' at you, ivory!)
- Minimize your carbon emissions and pollution: try to book direct flights and keep domestic flights at a minimum
- Ensure that tour companies have good animal treatment practices - especially if the tour involves interacting with animals
Make sure to keep these in mind whenever you travel, and join the growing global community that values making a positive impact on the world.