For a truly solidary trip, it is necessary to pay particular attention to the consequences of your vacation on the local populations. This means making sure that the economic, social and environmental consequences of your stay have a positive influence on the life of locals. Here are 8 attitudes to adopt to make your journey more solidary
1/ Consume locally
One of the most effective ways to have a positive impact is to consume locally. Indeed, buying objects and food produced on the island supports the local economy. The money you spend on housing, at the market or restaurant will benefit local producers and workers. As a bonus, consuming local contributes to the environment preservation and will allow you to experience a more authentic trip.
2/ Respect the environment
Environmental degradation is one of tourism’s main negative consequences. Yet your vacation destination is a place to live for the locals. It is therefore necessary to protect these living spaces as much as possible, in order not to deteriorate the quality of life of the inhabitants. Several habits can be adopted in order to limit the environmental impact of your presence on site:
- Don’t forget to bring along something to dispose of your garbage (even biodegradable) when you travel.
- Be careful not to venture off the marked hiking trails, as this may damage the environment.
- In order to preserve the local fauna and flora, do not pick flowers or plants and do not disturb the animals you may encounter.
3/ Travel out of the school vacation periods
When traveling to countries affected by mass tourism, consider planning your trips outside of peak travel periods. This will have several benefits, including supporting the local economy during slower periods. This is especially important for islands where tourism is one of the main sources of profit, as it will allow people to benefit from income during non-peak periods. In addition, you will be able to enjoy a more authentic vacation, away from the multitude of tourists who discover the country during school vacation periods.
4/ Learn the basics of local language
It is always good to learn the basics of the local language. Indeed, being able to greet or thank your interlocutors in their native language is a simple but very virtuous attention. First of all, it is a sign of consideration, which will be highly appreciated by the local population: you have taken the time to learn and made an effort to be able to discuss with them. Furthermore, you will create a contact with the locals, which will make your trip richer in encounters and memories.
5/ Learn about the local culture
So as not to make any mistakes during your stay in the Vanilla islands, try to learn a little piece about the local culture before your trip. It would be a shame to unintentionally offend your hosts or a waiter in a restaurant simply because you were unaware of some customs! Norms of politeness differ from country to country, so it is important for all travelers to be prepared.
6/ Keep an open mind
There will likely be many differences between the ways of living and doing things in your home country and where you go on vacation. You’ll then need to be open-minded, without belittling local traditions – especially those that will surprise you the most. Leave your preconceptions aside and experiment with the typical practices of the region you are in.
7/ Choose an ethical and sustainable accommodation
Accommodation is a fundamental part of a trip’s organization. It is therefore necessary to choose it carefully. In order to achieve a solidarity trip, it is essential to make sure that the establishment you choose employs local labor, remunerates them fairly, and offers good working conditions. Reading a few customer reviews on the internet usually makes it easy to identify which establishments are to be avoided.
8/ Volunteer for a local association
If you desire to maximize the impact of your time there, it is possible to spend one week or more helping out, which will make your trip truly positive for your host country. From teaching and accompanying young people to animal protection to construction and renovation missions, you are bound to find a cause to support.
You now hold the keys to make a solidarity trip, and to ensure that the local populations benefit from your presence in their country. The Vanilla islands Association wishes you a wonderful stay in the islands of the Indian Ocean!