Dalai Lama said ” If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito”.
Every traveler can make a difference no matter how big or small they are. Travelers impact the world in a big way. Their spending patterns, likes, dislikes etc influence communities in different parts of the world.
You do not need you to shell out a lot of money or have reserves of courage to make an impact. Here are a few tips to make an impact. These tips are easy and simple to follow.
1. Do not litter. This is such a simple obvious thought yet one we always forget.
2. Cut out the middle man. When you go to buy souvenirs try to find a co-op or a women’s group. In addition to being able to see the artisans at work you can also make sure that you are helping a family and paying the artisans the money they deserve.
3. Before you order fish at a restaurant ask around for the seasons of the different fish. It is illegal to catch certain species of fish during a particular season.The reason is that they breed during that season. So if you find an off-season fish on your menu do not order it. If you do then it starts a vicious cycle – the restaurants buys more of that fish causing the fishermen to go out and fish and soon the species nears extinction.
4.When you pass by local people stop and talk to them before you take their picture. You may not know it but some of them will know a little English but lack people to practice it with. Your short 5 minutes can do a lifetime of difference with the confidence they gain.
5. When booking hotels ( this is a tough one) try to book one run by a family. Unlike big hotels who order large supplies from vendors family run business reach out to their community.Plus you get an authentic taste of life in that community.
These are just 5 simple tips ( there are more, but baby steps ok!). They are not difficult to follow. Like how little drops of water make the mighty oceans these simple actions of yours will go a long way to create a ripple effect and eventually make a difference.