4 things to stop doing when traveling to the Global South

Heard of the Global South?

 

The Global South is an emerging term used to refer mostly to countries of Africa, Latin America and developing Asia. As followers of the responsible travel trend, we need to be more considerate and extra-prepared when roaming the cities of these countries.

Before I dive into my 4 tips, I’d like to share a quick statistic with you that made me rethink my choices and interactions on my trips very early on in my travel days.

 

 

The money virtually leaves these countries through foreign-owned tour operators, hotels, airlines, imported foods and beverages, etc. This trend is called “tourism leakage” and results in no profit for local communities from tourism. This is just a brief of a major problem we are to solve.

And now, onto some quick and handy tips you could consider on a personal level.

 

1. Stop relying on private transportation and learn how to use the public one

 

Simply spend some time on efficient, comparative research before you land on a decision of which public transportation system to use. Your choice affects how much you’ll end up paying for your journey.

Why is this important? Well, there is a high chance you’d get ripped off by the airport taxis (who charge high fares—I speak from my experiences to most places I’ve been to). Not to mention, you’d be helping out the environment big time by reducing your individual carbon footprint. Plus, you’ll actually be living just like the locals do, which’ll hopefully instill in you an awareness and appreciation for their way of life.

 

2. Stop bargaining in local shops

 

A lot of us like to bargain when buying souvenirs, thinking we’ll save ourselves a bunch of dollars in the process. The truth is that these few dollars can make a big difference for the local shop owners who work very hard to compete and get some income.

So, next time you’re about to pay for some souvenirs, maybe let it go. And hey, why not actually slip in a small tip for the good service you are getting! You’d be contributing more than you think to them.

If you think this will be hard for you because you consider yourself a good bargainer, then I recommend you try your skills elsewhere. Go to the Apple store and try to bargain $1 less than the actual price of an iPhone face with stuck-out tongue

 

3. Stop giving bad reviews and start giving constructive feedback

 

Most locally-owned accommodations in the Global South are self-taught themselves. Their customer service and other staff are trained in-house as well. If you did not enjoy your stay for some reason or have an objective reason to feel like you got way less than what you paid for, think like a human. Try to be understanding in your approach of getting your message across. There’s always a constructive way to support these locals rather then destroy their reputation and result in them possible running out of business.

 

4. Don’t hand out donations and free gifts

 

Giving away money or gifts might seem like a good thing to do, but actually it is not economically sustainable. It makes people rely on the wrong things and may even encourage laziness or worsen a national poverty/low education issue further.

When you want to give, make sure you do it for a clear reason i.e. in exchange for a service or a good.