There is often a sense of disparagement when it comes to ‘the regular tourist’. Even in the title of this article, you may feel that attitude surrounding things, just like a negative aura. There’s nothing wrong with tourists. In fact, they can often provide much needed economic boosts, which is why countries spend so much marketing their location to prospective travelers.
That being said, there’s a spectrum of tourists. There are those, such as many traveling Britons, who head to sunny shores, drink plenty of alcohol and cause damage and chaos in small residential towns. Of course, this is over-generalizing to a quite worrying degree, but it also shows that not all tourists are as healthy as they can be.
However, as a tourist yourself, you can be the change you want to see. Thankfully, this isn’t some set of vague ideals that you can only help you are of certain affluence or demeanor. With the following advice, you will be sure to embody more of an interest than just the ‘regular tourist’ idea.
Learn A Little About The Place You’re Visiting
Now, we do not mean to be dismissive or patronizing. But it’s not uncommon to see many tourists heading to a certain area because of a television program they have watched or because it may have looked nice in the travel brochures. There’s nothing wrong with this, of course. However, learning a little more about the place you’re visiting can actually help you enjoy it much more profoundly. For example, watching a movie trilogy is often an enticing and memorable experience, and can help you fall in love with the world. But reading the book series will give you so much more insight than it becomes deeper, more contextual, and much more enjoyable.
Some might decide to simply read a little on Wikipedia about the town they are visiting, which is fine. But some might invest themselves, taking time to learn with Japanese language books and wishing to visit the lesser-known historical monuments that can see their education come to true life. Learning more about a culture is not hard work, it is fascinating through and through. Like anything, you get out of it exactly what you put into it.
Make The Effort
It can be daunting to talk to the locals of another country, particularly if you struggle with the language. But finding someone who can help you through your broken diction for a nice conversation can help you gain a much more intimate connection with the people you find there. It might be that the local baker you visit that morning recommends one of their favorite restaurants for you and your partner that evening. When you make the effort, you unearth hidden treasures you may have never seen otherwise.
Support Local Business While There
Being a good tourist is mostly impacted by what you do with your economic power while there. Instead of simply giving your money to high street corporations, support local businesses. Go to local restaurants. Head to local stores. You can still use websites such as Yelp or Tripadvisor to see the places that earn your custom. If you do this, you can have a real positive effect on the local economy.
With this advice, you’re certain to be more than just the ‘regular tourist’.
Bonnie is always on the road with some amazing adventures ahead. Her favorite continent is South America and she’s passionate about culture-focused traveling and ethical and sustainable tourism. During her time in university as a research assistant for a sociology professor, she realized she can’t fully understand cultures from a safe distance. She quit her job to become a full-time “voluntourist,” which brings her to places where she can immerse in local communities and support their causes. On top of writing, one of Bonnie’s priorities is offering women advice on how to stay safe while solo backpacking.