HI Hostels Blog

Giving Back to Local Communities

Get Your Guide China Tour

How to Travel the World & Make a Difference

Philanthropic travel is not always at the forefront of every traveller’s mind, so we like to ensure our guests have the option to do so just by staying with us. After all, culture is the reason WHY we travel, right? Volunteering isn’t for everyone, but there are plenty of ways to show your support and give back to local communities on your journey.

Whether it’s 2 days, 2 weeks or 2 months, here are 6 ways you can give back.

1. Eat Local

food market in chiang mai, thailand
chiang mai, thailand

One of the biggest parts of travelling is experiencing different cuisines. Something you can’t deny, is that everybody loves food, making this the easiest way to “give back” by far. Not only are you supporting local businesses, providing jobs and enjoying something new, the food is likely to be better and more authentic!

One thing you can’t always account for, however, is drinking water. What if we told you that it’s possible to buy a single straw that not only supplies you with clean drinking water wherever you are, but that same purchase has global impact? Every LifeStraw purchased gives a child clean drinking water for an entire school year and you can get 15% off all LifeStraw products here.

2. Shop Local

cotton merchants' market, jerusalem
cotton merchants’ market, jerusalem

Don’t spend all of your money in one place, buying products from local artisans helps businesses and entrepreneurs thrive! And if you’re stuck on where to find these hidden treasures, take a tour with Urban Adventures and let them help you find a souvenir that has a tale to tell.

3. Stay Local

Make sure you take full advantage of perks you won’t find anywhere else! Get insider perspectives into the local area, the best places to eat and don’t fret about how much you can see in so little time. The best part? Not only will you literally be giving back to the community, it is also the most honest form of accommodation you will ever receive.

Every single HI hostel is ran by cultural staff willing to assist at every corner, however if you’re looking for that perfect travel itinerary to keep you busy day to day, look no further. Discover unique experiences in the places everyone wants to visit and Get (10% off) Your Guide here.

Images featured from Get Your Guide’s Simatai Great Wall Tour

4. Work or Volunteer

We love volunteers and host them all over the world in our hostels, but it’s safe to say it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. They are sought after across the world for their passion, and many organisations offer short-term and long-term opportunities which can seem endless; from building wells in Uganda, working on an animal conservation project in Costa Rica to teaching English in another country, it’s no surprise!

It’s always best to do your homework on the legitimacy of the organisation you’re looking to work with, how much impact they have and things like whether they will provide accommodation or whether you have to pay in order to participate.

For those of you who have or are going to work abroad, find out if you’re eligible for an international tax rebate.

5. Track Your Footprint

Ooty, India
Ooty, India

Leave no trace when you travel by taking as little with you as possible, recycling as you go or even get involved in local initiatives to give back where you can.

It is impossible to totally avoid emitting CO2 while travelling, so instead, why not try to offset your impact? By consciously choosing where and how you eat, stay and shop you are already taking a big step in reducing your carbon footprint. Looking into companies who share your ideology is a big start.

Check out our donations page, where we have calculated the emissions of various stages of your trip, through our patner MyClimate. By offsetting in this way, you are donating directly into projects that support hostels reduce their carbon emissions and contribute to sustainable initiatives!

6. Share Your Experience

Belo Horizonte, Brazil

If you find yourself giving back to a community regularly or it’s the first time that you’ve helped others on your journey, sharing your story not only has an enormous impact, but it inspires others to do the same and give back.

Here at HI, we always aim to promote a peaceful and sustainable way of travelling. This year, we want to hear YOUR stories of peace, sustainability or how you give back to communities and for this reason alone, we are delighted to be hosting a giveaway.

To enter the competition and win some great prizes from Interrail & Eurail AND Get Your Guide, simply post your story on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #SleepforPeace (make sure we can see it, NB: no private posts!)

Take a look at just ONE of @Jerrepicures.be’s submissions below ✌️

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