There was a quote I saw the other day, that said something along the lines of that whilst travelling, we should take more photographs and spend less money.
Whilst I get the point it’s trying to make- have an experience rather than throwing money at things, I have to say that I fundamentally disagreed with the quote!
We need to spend money in order to continue having the things we like; but hear me out.
Disclaimer: This is not a promotion-post in any way, despite my rather capitalist-sounding article title…
Buy souvenirs from local sources! I know that I’d be pretty annoyed if I spent the day having my items photographed rather than bought; that’s not going to feed my family, is it? If we just take photos and never actually spend anything, how will these market sellers afford to return for you to see the true character and flair of a city?
I’m all for free walking tours and free museum entries etc., but make sure you experience a couple of activities that are worth paying for. At the end of the day, you’re funding that country’s tourism board so that they can continue to provide that service for you! Also, sometimes it’s worth just indulging in those ‘touristy’ guilty pleasures; so, if you want to take a Segway up to the top of Prague Castle, then you take that Segway to the top of Prague Castle!
Promote what you liked about a trip. Write a Trip Advisor review of the quirky café you found down a quiet street, the funny waiter you met, the local artists selling their work in a quiet market square. Leave a note in the hotel guest book. Talk with other travellers and give them recommendations. If you have a blog, give links to the websites of places you visited. Word of mouth reviews will help local companies and communities who otherwise don’t have access or the time to do it.
Imagine if you lost your camera tomorrow. What would you have of your trip? A couple of bus tickets and restaurant receipts. So buy the cheese that reminds you of that delicious starter you had for dinner. Buy those vintage earrings that reminds you of haggling down the price. Buy your friends and families gifts, rather than just sending them a link to your Facebook album. Plus, if you buy things, then you’ll probably have a story to tell about it as well!
Avoid going wild in H&M, avoid having a daily Starbucks, avoid lunching in McDonalds. Invest in the local community; help them out and contribute to the country you are a guest in.
It’s a much more beautiful thing to do than adding the Amaro filter to your market stall photograph with the seller staring on in the distance (who is probably wishing he could smash every Canon camera/iPhone 6). Buy the bloody candle and give it to your mum!