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Now, I’m not saying there is anything wrong with being a tourist. After all, it can provide you with a wonderful experience, and the areas in which you are visiting a much-needed income. However, for some people, the idea of dropping into a location, and soaking up all it has to offer before flying out just as quickly doesn’t sit right. The good news is there are some strategies you can use to be less of a fly-by-night visitor and make more of a positive long term impact in the area you are visiting. Keep reading to find out what they are.
Interact directly with the locals
It can often feel as if there is an invisible barrier between travellers and the locals, especially if you have booked your trip through a provider that organises everything for you. Of course, the issue with this is you don’t really know how much of the money you have spent on your trip is going into the location and communities you are visiting.
With that in mind, it is a good idea to do what you can to interact, and trade directly with the locals. There are several ways of doing this including eating locally while you are there. Some people even choose to stay with local people in their homes, something that directly supports them financially and can also help to provide a much more authentic experience of the region for the traveller.
Another smart way to directly benefit the region in which you are staying is to do some volunteer work while you are there. Indeed, if you are looking to volunteer abroad you will find that there are many possibilities to do so, with companies specialising in gap year, student, and adult opportunities.
The opportunities to contribute to the community in which you are staying are pretty diverse as well, and you can expect to be involved in all parts of activities from dog rescue, to teaching English, to conservation activities.
Extend your stay use local transport
You can also make a more significant contribution to the community you are visiting by extending your stay. That means if you planned on spending a few days in a particular location you should try for a week or even more.
The reason that longer stays are better for the places that are being visited is that they provide more income to the community. Additionally, visitors are likely to explore and do more while they are there and so income is spread out to more restaurants and attractions rather than the most famous and popular ones.
Finally, if visitors stay longer they are more likely to invest in the culture of the place they are visiting and do things like learn the language or have interactions with the locals. Of course, this is a major advantage because it provides a more equal and authentic interaction for both parties. It can also act as a stimulus for the visitor to share their experience and encourage more vectors later down the line.