Support The Community When You Travel
Travel is fun and it’s such a great way to let go, be free and forget about all the hassles of life.
We tend to forget that during our holidays, we are directly/indirectly impacting the communities that we find ourselves visiting. We eat, sleep, visit tourist attractions and take part in various activities where we come in contact with locals. You can support these communities by doing some of the most basic things and these are a few ways we do over here when we go on tours and you can incorporate on your next trip.
Eat somewhere Local
This is something we constantly do. We dine like a local at least once during our trips.
Travelling to a new place means you’re ready to experience new things and there’s no reason why food should be any different. Instead of going to the big fast food chain brands, we like to eat locally and try out whatever meal the place we’re visiting is famous for.
Find a locally owned restaurant, get out of your comfort zone and just eat like a local. It’ll probably be the one time you’ll get that meal you ordered in its authentic form. More importantly try to avoid being safe by ordering rice in its most basic form, I mean you can eat rice at home.
Pounded Yam and Egusi from Iya Yusuf
Dining at a bukka in Ekiti State
Pounded yam wrapped in Moi Moi leaves (banana leaves)
Chances are that more often than not, there will be a local souvenir shop wherever you’re visiting. Pick something up for yourself or family/friends.
Haggle on the price (the first price is usually ‘tourist price’) but don’t offer ‘dirt’ for what you’re buying. Remember that this is someone’s means of livelihood and this ‘small business’ is contributing to the community in its own little way.
On our recent trip to Kwara State, we stopped at Dada Pottery and some of us bought a couple of pots and left the potters extremely happy.
Pots at Dada Pottery
Be a responsible traveler
Don’t litter or leave the place worse than you met it. Think of it as your way to reduce pollution in your own way.
Look for a bin to put away your rubbish, if you’re on a tour bus, go along with a plastic bag where you can put your dirt in.
Do not torment the animals you see at the zoos, don’t vandalize and just treat everywhere you visit with some RESPECT.
We cleaned up our camp grounds before leaving
Often times, we get to tourist attractions especially in developing countries where the local communities are the ones preserving the area for our pleasure. I’ve noticed especially in Nigeria that there is little or no govt presence in most our tourism spots.
If donations are needed to keep the place afloat, give. If you have food and drinks to spare why not share with these people who might be barely getting on.
At Owu Falls, there’s no entry fee but they do ask that you put down some sort of donation to help them continue with the little things they do around the waterfall such as signage.
Be respectful and friendly
Sometimes, helping doesn’t have to be monetary. It could also be in attitude and kind. Locals like to know that your respect their belief/culture despite your misgivings.
Show their culture the respect it deserves and more importantly be friendly. This could be the key to untapping a rich cultural experience that you may never have known existed.
Covering my hair as required at the National Mosque, Abuja
Check your attitude and relate with them in a humane way
On several tours, we have found hidden gems we didn’t plan for due to us just being friendly guests.
Amarachi showing kids at Dada pottery their pictures
Do you have any other tips on how to support local communities while travelling? Please share in the comments section.
*Reviews are based on opinions and personal experiences, and may differ from person to person