Javier Valdez, Myght Founder
Why We Love Travel, and You Should, Too – Pt. IIII
We’ve already discussed how traveling broadens your perspective, how it challenges you, and how it builds cultural sensitivity. But we’ve yet to mention one of our favorite things about travel ( it’s actually the reason Myght exists):
Traveling Provides the Ultimate Opportunity to Do Good
Reasons for traveling are as varied as the places to which people travel. Some depart from their home to veg out on a beach, while others choose to climb a gigantic mountain or attempt to wrap their heads around a world wonder.
Some may leave to find themselves, while others might leave to (secretly or not so secretly) find a soul mate. And though they’ll never admit it, some trot across the globe to simply check off a box and capture the perfect profile pic. Suffice it to say: reasons for traveling are varied and endless. But what holds true for every trip is that there is always an opportunity to turn your traveling into a positive, meaningful force.
You’re probably thinking this is where we present you with a bunch of volunteer opportunities throughout the world and the various ways you can make an impact by simply sacrificing one day of your vacation. Sure, you could do this and for the most part we encourage thoughtful and carefully vetted voluntourism, but this is not the only way to make traveling a force for good.
Friends doing good
Being a responsible traveler — someone who makes travel a force for good — is a role we can all assume on every trip we take. This is largely because making travel a force for the good is as simple as having a mindset committed to being a good traveler: trying to understand and respect local customs, not taking part in obvious exploitative practices that damage ecosystems and wildlife, and (though it’s a little dreamy) trying to be a good ambassador for your country and helping to build bridges of understanding and peace. These are all simple things that some people would simply call being a decent person.
However, there is another component to being an impactful traveler: being an informed consumer who leverages all available information to ensure that every part of your travel plan has a positive impact.
When you travel, you enter a new economy. Every day, through the purchasing of accommodation, food, attractions, etc., you are giving money to people and organizations that are directly shaping their country’s, and by extension the world’s, future. It's in this arena where we can make the good effects of traveling felt. This is especially true in areas like Macau, Maldives, and Cambodia, where tourism makes up a large part of the economy. In Macau, for example, tourism makes up 41% of the country’s GDP.
But before you can truly wield your consumer power to make a difference, you have to have the knowledge and information to know who’s committed to making travel a force for the good. By making use of the wealth of available information and reviews online, you can likely get a good sketch of who’s taking part in exploitative practices or irresponsible tourism.
However, confidently navigating the 7 trillion dollar (USD) industry that is tourism and discovering who is integrating good practices can be difficult to do on your own And this is where we would suggest contacting responsible travel advisors, people who have built a network of reliable partners who are also committed to the positive effects of travel — environmentally, culturally, and economically.
With the help of these professionals, you can find out how to make sure every step of your travels is positive, whether this means only staying at places that are committed to sustainability, eating foods produced locally, or supporting businesses that are community-minded.
As we’ve said before, tourism is a massive industry not without its fair share of problems. But perhaps even greater than those problems is the untapped, raw positive potential of the growing industry. Tourism may be the most viable force we have for peace and mutual understanding. Now more than ever, tourism and travel must serve as a means for economic development, preserving nature, sharing cultures, building understanding, and creating a more peaceful world. '
Read Part 1, Part 2, or Part 3 of this series.
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Explore Travel with Myght to learn more about responsible travel and to begin planning your next big (and impactful!) adventure.