The travelling community has experienced something of a surge in conscientiousness in recent years with more people than ever making plans to holiday in a more sustainable, responsible way. A report by Travel Technology & Solutions (TTS) highlighted the fact that this new generation of sustainable tourists is being led by millennials, a demographic with a strong desire to give back to the destinations and communities they visit. One way it is possible to do so is shop locally when abroad, particularly when ordering food, purchasing groceries or choosing gifts to take home to your loved ones.
If you’ve ever wondered just what all the fuss is about supporting local businesses – here are a few very good reasons why you should shop locally when abroad…
Shopping local when abroad provides a living for local people. If you spend money in a family run farm shop, you can bet that your money is going to bring up their family, raise the quality of their products and most likely get absorbed into the community as a whole. If you choose to frequent fast food chains or supermarket heavyweights over local options, you’re not only lining the pockets of already ridiculously wealthy directors, you are feeding the machine that will put those charming local concerns out of business.
Whilst we are all aware that cutting down on our carbon emissions is vital for the future of our planet, not everyone understands that shopping locally can help reduce our footprint. Local shops tend to stock locally-sourced goods or even create or grow produce themselves, so you won’t find stock that needs transporting from A to B in order to hit the shelves. This means less fuel is burned, less packaging is required and less pollution occurs.
Whilst it can be hard to adjust eating habits according to the seasons – particularly if you’re partial to a punnet of strawberries in December – bear in mind that choosing food that hasn’t been locally-sourced has likely travelled many miles, often packaged in layers of plastic. By choosing to offer your custom to the local butchers, greengrocers and fishmongers, you are choosing to purchase the freshest and most nutrient-rich food. Additionally, local specialities in restaurants are likely to be based on local ingredients, meaning the recipes will not only give you a bit more insight into the culture of the country you’re visiting but will be as fresh as you can get.
Quirky, independent shops and restaurants provide a community with personality and offer experiences and goods that are unique to an area. Knock those to the side to make room for global superstores and restaurant chains and before you know it, the landscape has lost its unique appeal and the community has lost its identity. Plus, local business people tend to keep their money circulating in the community by purchasing from friends and neighbours – can you really say the same for all large-scale global brands?
If nothing else, shopping as the locals do is likely to save you money, meaning that hard-earned holiday budget will stretch further for longer. Wherever you might choose to travel in the world, you will find that local food is more cost effective to buy than food that has been shipped from a long way out of town. The same goes for quality local goods that make for long-lasting souvenirs. For example, a beautiful, handmade quilt or hand-carved statue from Indonesia is going to cost a lot less than buying the same item from the UK. Exploring local markets and ordering local dishes is also a great way to get up close and personal with the culture of a destination without burning a hole in your pocket.
Whilst your head may be filled with dreams of how you’ll be spending your next trip, don’t forget to take care of the basics before you go. Medical Travel Compared can help you find the best travel insurance for your holiday and ensure that you and your loved ones are properly protected.