Highlights from this week’s episode
Sara on why we need to be more thoughtful about planning our vacations:
We have been binge traveling. It’s so easy. It’s so cheap, and there isn’t much of a reason to think twice about it. And in addition, I should add, you’ve got social media, right? Social media is massive. It’s also just messed everything up. And one of the things it is additionally messed up is travel because destinations get popular. They’re pretty. They’re photogenic influencers post photos about them. More people want to go there… So there are a lot of destinations around the world that have just seen such an influx of tourists that it’s really been damaging. Some of those places include Venice, which is pretty well known. Barcelona islands in the Philippines of Maui, parts of Hawaii, some national parks, even especially during the pandemic period, when people were really funneling into fewer places of the Great Barrier Reef down in Australia. They’re getting more tourists than they can reasonably handle and also maintain infrastructure and also maintain local quality of life. That’s a really big thing when you’re talking about a place like Barcelona. One of the things that initially drew people there is it’s just such a lovely place to be, and the quality of life is so great. But once you fled that place with tourists and homes are being turned into views left and right, and there’s no the local stores are closing and being replaced by things that cater to tourists, that local quality of life starts to go away. And the very reason that people love that place in the first place just disappears.
On how to use social media differently in order to be a more thoughtful tourist:
And here’s a way in which social media can really be a powerful tool instead of just using social media to look for inspiration: I encourage people to look for context. So don’t look at the travel influencer who’s showing you a beautiful picture and like all the litter and all the crowds are cropped out of it, right? Look for people who live in Hawaii. Look for people who live in Hawaii who are who are dedicated to the well-being of that place and see what they’re saying about the impacts that tourism has. In fact, there are people out there, even in Hawaii who are who are putting out information about how to be a better tourist, how to be more respectful, how to tread more carefully.
On how to benefit the local economy when visiting:
Local lodging, local dining. Those are two on the ground, big things. When it comes to lodging, the truth is a lot of the hotels that we might know about, they’re not locally owned. The people who are employed there are locals. In a lot of cases, the people who are employed there who are local have the lower paid jobs, right? Often they’re not running the hotel. They don’t own the hotel. They’re not benefiting from the investment return, but they’re working as servers and pool attendants and housekeepers. But choosing small, locally owned properties can really keep a lot of that financial power in the hands of the local community, which I think is really important. And the same goes for for eating, eating at small restaurants, eating at locally owned restaurants. Eating farm to table means you don’t just support the staff and owners of those places, but you also support local agriculture.
To hear more of Sara’s advice on how to be a better tourist, we recommend listening to the full episode.