Buying local food at a Thai market

Buying Local

A great way to inject money directly where it’s needed is by buying from local shops and eating at local restaurants. It’s also a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the local culture and have a more enriching experience. There’s nothing quite like being the only Westerner shown how to tuck into a masala dosa with your hands by an Indian family!

local children smiling

One School Pen

It often feels like you’re helping when you give money or items to children, but sadly it can encourage begging and truancy. You can make a real impact by donating money to local charities, taking your gifts to a local school instead or buying hand-made souvenirs. Buying something someone has made boosts self-esteem and worth as well as the economy rather than just giving handouts.

Rickshaw Travel customer, Arida, showing a group of Indian children a photo on her digital camera in India


We all know we should ask permission before we take someone’s photo, but sometimes we get a little shy. It’s important to remember though that some cultures, or just people, have very strong beliefs about this. But also that you can get some even better photos and experiences if you ask. Showing someone the photo you just took builds cultural bridges and who knows, you might end up exchanging email addresses and have a new pen pal!

Human Trafficking

Sadly, human trafficking of adults and children does exist. However, you can help prevent it just by noticing. If you believe that someone is being forced to work against their own free will, are being abused or if you see something that doesn’t look right in a bar, a hotel or a restaurant, report it. Together our actions can make a difference in preventing sexual exploitation and forced labour.

Living Local

Before you go, it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the local culture, customs and dress code. When you book with us we’ll send you a Know Before You Go document with all the details. Not only will you avoid causing offence but you’ll also feel more like you’re part of it. When you also take your shoes off at the local Buddhist temple you make a connection with the local people.

Cultural Artefacts

Cultural objects such as traditional carvings, pottery and antiques make attractive gifts, but be sure you are not unwittingly buying stolen or illegally excavated or looted artefacts. Every day, countless sites and monuments across the globe are pillaged, robbing people of their past. It doesn’t need to be like this; when buying an antique make sure it has a documented and legal history, isn’t stolen and can be legally exported/imported.


In the UK we have an abundance of many resources, but this is often not the case when we travel to far-flung destinations. Remote destinations in particular, such as Bhutan, often suffer from a limited supply of water. You can help by being a little careful about the amount you use, which will also help reduce your carbon emissions – two birds, one stone!

Tiger lying in the grass in Ranthambore National Park in India

Wildlife and Fauna

The killing of protected wild animals and the illegal exploitation of plants and forests are crimes that have a devastating impact on the environment, local livelihoods and biodiversity. You can help stop it; just think twice before buying or consuming something made out of an exotic tree, plant or wild animal, including photo propping, as you may be contributing to their extinction or exploitation. You can find more information here.

View over Torres with aqua green water and snow capped mountains behind

Keep it Beautiful

There are so many stunning locations around the world, together we can keep them that way. You can play your part by taking your litter away with you, leaving plants and rocks where they are and setting an example to locals and travellers alike. We’d all hate to be that traveller that accidentally burnt down half of Chile’s Torress Del Paine National Park by being careless with their cigarette. Awkward!

two women laughing at angkor wat cambodia

Enjoy It!

By far the most meaningful way to travel is to really throw yourself into the destination. Talk to local people, explore, ask questions and try new things. You may never develop a taste for that Cambodian Tarantula, but it’s sure to make a great story!

Meaningful Travel

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