The Flash Pack Foundation has partnered with grassroots projects all over the world to directly support the communities and people we work with. Engaging with local communities is part of the joy of travelling and an essential part of responsible travel. Here are our community travel tips.
- Eat local food, drink local drinks
- Shop for groceries at markets
- Avoid unethical souvenirs like shells
- Ask permission before photographing people
- Don’t give money or sweets to children
- Avoid school or orphanage visits
We all love our home comforts; however, buying and eating local products supports the local community and reduces the energy used to transport your food. Importing international products such as peanut butter or beer comes with a high environmental cost, and these imports are often far more expensive than they are back home. Getting out of your comfort zone is part of the joy of travelling, you might even discover your new favourite food!
We also recommend shopping for groceries at the local market. Not only will you get the chance to live like a local and broaden your horizons by tasting local delicacies, but local produce also cuts out overseas travel, packaging and fuel consumption.
When it comes to buying souvenirs, we really encourage Flashpackers to consider the ethical implications of their purchases. Never buy souvenirs of shells, corals or endangered species. Often, where a souvenir was made is displayed on the underside of a product so look and see if you’re getting a genuine souvenir from the community.
Flash Pack adventures are crammed full of photo opportunities, however, it’s important to be conscious of who and where you photograph and to always ask permission if you’re snapping people. Responsible travellers also recognise that monks, children and tribe members are not photo opportunities.
Flashpackers should never give sweets or money to children. We understand that Flashpackers are always well-meaning but child welfare charities agree that when we give, it creates a perpetual cycle of poverty. By choosing not to give, you will be fighting organised begging and encouraging kids to go to school.
We also always avoid school or orphanage visits. This is not permitted in western countries, so you shouldn’t expect it to be acceptable anywhere else. Schools are places of learning, not tourist attractions. Visiting orphanages only reinforces a system of exploitation that thrives on breaking up families.