We get it, travel is part of a lifestyle now. It is no longer a luxury, but rather a necessity to live your best life, and of course, to be able to geotag your photos on Instagram (Admit it. Our team here is guilty of it too). However, with travel there can be a large margin of tourism leakage where less than 10% of your hard earned money actually goes back to the local community.
With this in mind, how can you make that your traveling activities benefit those who need it most? Read below for our tips on how to be a more impactful traveler and still have an awesome, authentic experience.
1. Stay small
As a conscious consumer, make it a habit to always do your own independent research prior to making a purchase. The same goes for when you’re making your travel itinerary.
When booking accommodation, aim for smaller businesses like homestays rather than big hotels. Homestays are often founded by locals that want to profit from the already present tourism industry. Furthermore, this means that at least some of the money you spend is going back to the locals by giving them a share of the tourism pie.
2. Reach out to locals
Don’t be afraid to make friends, especially with the locals. If you’re already in a touristy area, chances are the local you’re having friendly conversation with knows someone who is a guide, or they might even be a guide themselves! This way, if you choose to have them as your guide, you pay directly to them. Sometimes tour and travel companies cut a percentage of tour guides’ pay. That being said, keep in mind the average price for tour guides in that area to keep the locals from hiking up the prices.
Indonesia ranks 21st in the World’s Most Friendliest countries, with 83% of foreigners saying the country has a friendly attitude towards out-of-towners. This means, if you’re in Indonesia the chances of you striking a conversation with the locals is pretty big. You can get insider tips on the best time to see some of the tourist destinations, or perhaps even a hidden gem that only locals know!
3. Be mindful of your waste
This should be common sense by now to those who travel often. If possible, try to travel as minimum waste as possible. Switching to zero waste traveling can be intimidating for a lot of people, that’s why we encourage small steps such as using zero-waste travel toiletries. Not to mention, it’s often cheaper to adopt the zero waste lifestyle while travelling.
Here in Indonesia we have a tax on plastic bags. This is due to the fact that Indonesia has a huge waste management problem. In spite of that, local business are now going back to our traditional ways of packaging with banana leaf.
4. Shop Local
Support the local economy by shopping in the local’s market. Ask your homestay tenant where they go out to get shopping, chances are its not where you are told to get your souvenirs. Not only do you get a more authentic feel of the local handycrafts, food and produce, but also you often get a cheaper price tag. We have mentioned about our wonderful pasar tradisional, and can’t emphasize enough on its importance in the local economy. By shopping in Pasar Tradisional, Indonesian tourist are directly contributing to the backbone of the grass-roots economy. Oh, and have we mentioned you can haggle? Therefore, you can easily get a cheaper price for a more authentic item.
5. Eat what the locals eat
There’s a great Indonesian activity called jajan. It’s an all encompasing phrase that can define an activity and also an object. To jajan means to buy small snacks and jajanan is the food item. Admitedly, Klana team members jajan way too much that we sometimes don’t know what to do with the extra food…but that’s beside the topic.
Culinary travel is a great way to literally get a taste of the local lifestyle. Most of the time, the food that you’re eating is made not far from where you’re staying. In addition, it’s likely that the locals use seasonal produce.
Above are just some simple ways you can be more impactful in your travels. And certainly, we’ve put in some examples of the things you can do to be more impactful in your travels to Indonesia.
What kind of things do you like to do to support local communities in your travels? Comment below!