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What if you could strengthen small communities around the world, simply by doing what you love? The good news is that you can do that by approaching a traveller mindset, (instead of a tourist mindset) and looking for community-based experiences.
No matter where your next adventure takes you, keep an eye out for activities hosted by locals and spend in a way that does good for the area. Finding ways to give back while travelling will connect you to a greater purpose and offer you deeper insights into the local culture.
Here are some easy ways you can support local communities when you travel:
One of the most fulfilling ways to know a place is through its cuisine. While traveling, stay open to savoring new cultures. Visit a local farm, go to a local market or eat at a restaurant that promotes locally sourced ingredients.
Eating in small restaurants, having a picnic at a shepherd’s hut, or making a stop at a local gastronomic point is a sure way to give back to the surrounding community. The best places to eat are usually off the beaten path, so don’t be afraid to ask the locals and explore the area.
One of the best parts about traveling is finding unique items to bring home for family and friends. But unfortunately, most souvenir shops in tourist areas are imported products. Our suggestion is to look for authentic goods that you can purchase directly from local artisans, craftsmen, and creators.
This way, you can bring home an authentic piece of pottery, a handmade woven carpet, an artisan sculpted wooden spoon, jewelry, or a delicious organic chutney that you can’t really find elsewhere.
It’s always a good idea to bring culture into your travel itinerary. Visit local museums and historical sites to get a glimpse into a region’s past. By visiting and donating to museums and restoration foundations you directly contribute to preserving the cultural heritage.
When visiting Transylvania, make sure to stop and visit some of the unique fortified churches, castles, or citadels, as they are part of the last medieval landscapes of Europe. Entrance tickets and donations are one of the main sources of income used for preserving and restoring these outstanding places.
Take a step back and think about the way you travel. Do you make conscious choices about how you spend your time or just run from one place to the next, out of your fear of missing out? For many people, more than half of their vacation time is spent in airports, bus stations, or in traffic jams. But is that really necessary?
Consider spending more time in fewer places in order to immerse yourself in a destination and have deeper, more meaningful experiences. Leave some room for magic, and spontaneous discoveries and experience less stress. Slow travel is an environmentally conscious choice that gives you a real chance to connect to the communities that you visit.
So, you have found local food, local souvenirs, and landmarks, and you slowed down. If you wonder how to give back even more, look into locally owned and operated businesses in the area you’re visiting.
For example, book a tour with a local guide to get the opportunity to see a place through the eyes of a local, or rent a bike from a local bike shop for the best tips and tricks on routes. Look for authentic experiences or ask your accommodation’s staff about the best things to do around.
At Bethlen Estates Transylvania we are dedicated to giving back to the community by creating jobs and working with local firms to contribute to elevating the local economy. We source ingredients from local farmers or foragers for our restaurant and facilitate tourist activities organized by local entrepreneurs. See more about what you can do in Transylvania here.
176 Criș, Judetul Mures