Ways to Give Back to Local Communities When Travelling

Lexa Pennington's picture

Supporting the local communities of places we visit as tourists and travellers is a great way to give back, show your appreciation, and receive a warm welcome from the locals. After all, we’re visitors in their hometowns, so the least we can do is show respect and offer support in simple yet impactful ways. Wondering how you can give back on your travels and make yourself a better traveller?

Here are a few starters to think about for your next trip…

Ways to Give Back to Local Communities When Travelling

Stay in Locally Owned Hotels

Try to avoid the big chain hotels and instead, rest your head in an independent and locally owned hotel. Instead of your cash landing in the pocket of rich businessmen or large corporations, it will go back into the local economy and help to keep small, often family-run businesses alive. Plus, independent hotels have way more charm and quirks than large, standard, all-inclusive resorts. Bonus: locals always have the best advice on places to eat and visit to!

Support Local Artisans

Steer clear of mass-produced rubbish. Instead, source your souvenir from a real, local artisan. This is a much more authentic way to remember your travels, and it puts money back into the community and supports the local artists and craftsmen. These souvenirs, whether they be a piece of artwork or homeware, often have a much smaller carbon footprint—and you’ll also have the pleasure of meeting the person who made it!

Ways to Give Back to Local Communities When Travelling

Learn the Language

Ok, you’re not expected to be fluent by any means, but knowing the basics will help you greatly when trying to converse with locals. It also shows great respect, and benefits both parties. Make sure you learn key phrases, such as hello, thank you, how are you, and so on. Language apps such as Duolingo can be a great help here! 

Ways to Give Back to Local Communities When Travelling

Spend Time Volunteering

There may be the option to volunteer on your travels. It doesn’t have to consume your whole trip; even just a few hours of your time can go a long way. Opportunities will be largely dependent on the area you’re visiting, but it’s best to research this before your travels, to see if there are any opportunities to donate some of your time—in the right way.

Respect the Local Area

Treat the area as if it were your own home, do not litter, and be mindful of your actions. Try and minimise your use of plastic and opt for refillable water bottles instead of buying one-use plastic which are damaging our oceans. If you do spot litter, pick it up and put it in the trash or recycling, it takes just a few seconds but makes a whole load of difference. If you can, participate in organized cleanups.

Ways to Give Back to Local Communities When Travelling
Photo: Alice Toussaint Pittman, The Best Way to Teach Kids about the Ocean and Environment

Share Your Experience

Did you find a gem of a local restaurant? Stumble upon a quirky little boutique bursting with locally made pottery? Tell people about it! Spread the word on your social media (we love yelp), and take a few seconds to leave a review online, if possible. Word of mouth is a powerful form of marketing and can mean a lot to a small business. Ways to Give Back to Local Communities When Travelling

How do you give back to local communities, whilst travelling?