Recent developments in tourism have shifted focus towards sustainable, ethical, and socially responsible practices. More people are aware of their impacts as travel becomes more accessible to the average person.
Many large corporations have realized that keeping up with environmental sustainability, social justice, and overall ethics is good for business. Corporations want to be seen as socially conscious so they adopt these values themselves or offer rewards to those that do.
For you as an individual, there are many ways to contribute to this cause. Whether it’s through donating money to charities or educating others about social issues, every little thing makes a difference!
In this article, I will talk about some easy ways to help promote green, ethical, and responsibility traveling while also giving back to the community. These can be done at any time, anywhere, and from any location so no matter what you’re doing, you are able to contribute.
I will discuss both frequent traveler points and general tips to keep your trips environmentally friendly. This includes staying within budget, using public transportation, and shopping around for flights and hotels.
Work with wildlife
One of the most rewarding ways to spend your time while traveling is by helping or interacting with the natural world in some way. Whether it’s spending hours observing nature at its finest, being part of an educational program that features close encounters with animals, or even offering your services as an animal caretaker, there are plenty of opportunities for you to get involved.
Many tourist destinations offer organized tours that feature visits to national parks, zoos, or other types of protected areas. By supporting these sites through donations or employment, you are playing a role in protecting and preserving the natural spaces we all enjoy.
Wildlife can sometimes seem scary or frightening, but more often than not they just want to be noticed and understood. They are intelligent creatures who feel emotions and have thoughts about their surroundings and themselves. Being aware and respectful of this is important if you wish to connect with them.
Animal shelters are another great way to give back while exploring the country. Not only do you help those who are without resources, you also gain knowledge – something every person should strive for!
Be conscious when visiting such facilities so that no animal needs is overlooked or left behind. Check out The Humane Society of the United States website to find one near you and see how you can contribute.
Become a tour guide
Being a tour leader or “tourist guide” is one of the best ways to give back through travel while at the same time making some money. Guides typically lead small groups around a popular destination, taking in all the sites as you would for any normal tourist trip but with more attention given to educating their group about the area.
Many tourism agencies hire guides directly so it is easy to find work without going through an employment agency. For example, most major cities have organizations that recruit local guides to take tourists around and show them the sights. These organizations usually offer training and certification courses before allowing graduates to begin working.
Some areas are very well-connected when it comes to giving back through social engagement, but others aren’t. If you are passionate about a certain cause or organization, then starting a guided tour for off hours can create lasting change and help contribute to the success of your community. It’s a worthy pursuit that doesn’t cost a lot to start.
There are many great resources available online to learn how to be a good tour leader. You will want to make sure you are trained in human rights, safety, health issues, etc. for the site you choose to teach students about. There are also various licensing requirements depending on where you live and what kind of vehicle you use.
Become a personal assistant
Being able to show people who you are as a person is one of the most powerful ways to boost your self-esteem. A personal assistant is someone that works closely with their boss, giving them time and attention while also showing how much they care about the person.
It’s similar to what professional assistants do in companies — only instead of just being there for the boss, you get to help out at home too! This could be helping with chores like making breakfast or picking up groceries, to staying in touch via phone or texting during work hours, sharing doctor and dentist appointments, scheduling outings and meetings, and more.
Interpersonal skills such as listening, understanding others, acknowledging mistakes and changing behaviors can all play a big part in what kind of career an individual chooses. So if you’re looking to improve your own interpersonal relationships, this may be the perfect way to start. It can also be quite lucrative, especially when you factor in the salary margin for additional spending money.
There are many positions available through hiring agencies and/or through referral from friends – it’s not uncommon to find yourself doing jobs you never imagined before. Take some time to do some research and see if any opportunities sound interesting to you.
Work with a NGO
Working with an international non-governmental organization (NGO) can be very rewarding! There are many different types of NGOs, each serving a unique purpose that is special to it.
Most NGOs offer some type of volunteer opportunity(s). A great way to find out if there are any available opportunities is to do some research and read through their website. You should look for clues as to what they do, how they accomplish their mission, and whether or not these things match your values.
By doing some preliminary research, you will know what to expect from a volunteer experience and therefore if this fits you then you can choose to apply!
Some examples of ways to contribute via volunteering at an NGO include: fundraising, program implementation, supporting staff members, etc. All departments within an organization need help so don’t hesitate to ask about potential opportunities in whatever area interests you most.
Work as a cultural guide
A great way to explore a new city is by exploring its rich history and culture. Cultural guides are good candidates for this job, as they are trained in both the history and languages of a place.
A cultural tour can be very educational while also giving you an opportunity to meet other people from around the world. Most places have at least one small group that gathers once a week with a shared interest-cultural tours are a perfect way to join in on that!
Some cities offer free or low cost ways to get involved in the community through language classes, art exhibitions and museums. These opportunities exist not only for those who want to speak the local lingo but also to improve their drawing skills or learn more about the area’s history.
Whether it’s meeting for drinks after work, attending sharing meals together or even just staying in touch online, socializing is another important part of being a traveler.
Join a sports league
One of the greatest things you can do as an adult is to take up something new. You’ll find that most major cities have at least one sports team for every level, from beginner to professional. Becoming involved in this community is a great way to connect with others and enjoy the game!
Team members are usually willing to accept new people so it’s easy start attending games and learning about the sport – even if you don’t know how to play yet!
You might be surprised by how much socializing goes on after the game. It’s not just the players who talk to each other during timeouts or breaks- there are often interviews conducted with either the media or another team. Many coaches and administrators work part-time jobs so they aren’t able to watch their favorite team’s game, which means there’s always someone else doing it for them.
If you’re more familiar with the game than everyone around you, offering your services as an assistant coach or referee is a good way to contribute while also meeting new people.
Join a book club
Starting your own book group is a great way to meet more people, read good books, and inspire conversations about literature. Most libraries have discussion groups for various topics that work well for large communities like yours.
Many organizations hold events or readings where members of the community can attend and participate. This could be for nonfiction books, fiction, best-seller lists, or any other topic they’re offering.
By bringing some needed perspective to an event, you’ve made yourself available not only as an audience member but also as a speaker by asking thoughtful questions and giving insightful comments.
Your local library may even offer free online resources so you don’t need to make use of their facilities to contribute! While it’s not mandatory to do so, being informed and engaging in conversation with others around the same book can really strengthen relationships.
It’s a powerful way to connect with each other and add value to our shared lives.
Start a business
Another way to make an impact is to start your own business. Business owners come in all shapes and sizes, from owning a small restaurant to running a charity or organization!
Running your own business gives you control over what you want it to be, how much money you have access to, and what hours you work. It also comes with its share of responsibilities, such as paying bills, finding employees, and marketing your company.
There are many ways to run a business, so choose one that fits your lifestyle. For example, if you enjoy traveling then why not offer tours through your business? Or if you love to cook, create a recipe website or cooking class platform! The possibilities are endless.
Many people begin their journey into entrepreneurship by opening a coffee shop or burger place. These are great starting points because both require lots of resources (sources of income, customers, etc.) and can generate extra cash at any time.
If you’re looking to spend some time away from work, developing your business idea is the best way to do this. You will likely find yourself spending more time working on your project than expected!
I hope this article inspired you to explore other opportunities to give back while still staying busy.