Ways to Support Small Businesses When You Travel

Rethink where you stay, shop and eat.

Share this article

As travel transitions from desires to travel to booked flights, we have the opportunity to make a difference just by how we plan our trips. Businesses all over the world have suffered loss of revenue from the pandemic that could continue to impact for years to come. The good news is, we can help. Our travel choices can support and sustain our global community as a whole, as well as the specific communities we visit, even something as simple as a quick souvenir stop can help support someone else’s livelihood. .

Tourism cares is just one organization that has made it easier to support local entrepreneurs with its newMeaningful travel card, ” that showcases businesses that promote sustainability, diversity and local economic growth. Here are a few more ways to find and support small business when traveling.

Ask a hotel or local concierge about their favorite business

While the internet gives us virtually all the information we can think of and more, there is nothing more valuable than an insider tip that reveals a place or experience you wouldn’t have known otherwise: an unnamed boutique that sells local jewelry; a food market that is only open outside of opening hours; or a business owner who is making a positive impact in their neighborhood. That’s why, in addition to my often obsessive wishlist of restaurants to try in new places, I also keep a list of businesses to support, with advice direct from locals like hotel concierges, taxi drivers. taxi and restaurant staff.

The most meaningful travel experiences I have had over the years have come from word of mouth, like when a concierge told me about a store, a few blocks from the tourist souks of Marrakech, that sold the most intricate rugs made by a third generation weaver, or when my taxi driver in Puerto Vallarta shared the secret from his favorite food truck, run by his family friends who served the juiciest taco carne asada I have ever tasted. So instead of heading straight for this street flooded with souvenir shops, consider asking a local for suggestions first.

The article continues under advertisement

If you’re not traveling and still want to support small businesses around the world, Local stock exchange offers live virtual shopping experiences. From the comfort of your own home, you can tour the spice shops in Marrakech with a beauty and wellness expert, or visit a store in Buenos Aires specializing in crafts, such as colorful ponchos, pottery, rugs. and wooden objects made by indigenous communities across Argentina.

Exploring side streets and lesser-known paths can be rewarding.

Find a walking tour

Sign up for a local-led walking tour to get an authentic history lesson about your destination. Along the way, you are likely to bond with your guide and other people you meet which can last for years. I usually rely on Google or TripAdvisor to find walking tours in the city I’m visiting, and some of my favorite results include tailor-made cultural tours with Kyoto organized in Japan and Little trip to Africa in Paris. Walking tours are so popular that you can find just about any theme to suit your travel personalityincluding culinary tours that let you sample a variety of street foods and art-inspired walks that showcase murals and galleries.

Stay in locally owned accommodation

While our favorite hotels guarantee comfort and familiarity, part of the trip is exploring something new and that includes accommodation. There are many advantages to sleeping in locally owned places, such as more personalized service or a design that reflects the culture and aesthetics of a destination, such as riads in Morocco.

One of my favorite boutique hotels, the Ivy, is located in the heart of Baltimore. Set in an 1889 mansion, this historic property is a feast for the eyes, with paintings by local artists and students of the Maryland Institute College of Art. If camping is more your style, Harvest hosts is a membership service that allows motorhome operators to book stays night spots, like wineries, museums and even an alligator ranch.

Cooking classes give you skills that last well beyond the holidays.

Introduce yourself to a cooking or wine tasting class

The article continues under advertisement

There’s a good chance you’ll enjoy a nice glass of wine and a good meal on your trip, so why not embark on an educational experience as well? By signing up for a cooking class or wine tasting lesson, you will not only be supporting a local expert, but you can also bring these skills back to your own kitchen.and add to your wine collection. Sites like Eat with, Local stock exchange, and Airbnb There are a number of hands-on activities to choose from, and it never hurts to ask your hotel concierge, locals you meet while traveling, or staff at restaurants and bars you fall in love with for suggestions. of road.

Farmers' markets eliminate the middle man.

Shopping at a farmers market

Browsing a farmer’s market or flea market is a great way to enjoy fresh foods and artisan products, often for less than what they would cost in a store. Best of all, by investing your money in public markets instead of a chain grocery store or mall, you are helping local farmers and artists consistently generate income and show that their services are valuable and valuable. needed in the region. Websites, including Local farmers markets or the National directory of producers’ markets are handy for locating markets if you are traveling to the United States; for trips abroad, a quick google search will point you in the right direction, and if you find a new favorite restaurant once you land, ask the chef where they shop.

Don't fly there for a Burger King.

Eat at a local restaurant

While a number of American restaurant chains find their way to the tourist-oriented streets of the world, it’s always worth skipping the familiar to try something new. An authentic meal at a local restaurant can bring you closer to where you are traveling with every bite. A useful app for finding local American restaurants is ChefsFeed, which provides culinary recommendations directly from chefs. Your guests are also a good source of information. I often travel solo, which often leads to conversations with diners at tables and waiters nearby. These meetings always lead to more suggestions.

Tip whenever you can

Tipping is very useful for many people working in the tourism industry, and tipping is one of the easiest ways to support local businesses when traveling. Especially these days when service workers have lost so much income due to the pandemic, I make it a point to offer what I can, and if I’m not sure what is customary, I’m just asking. The magic number may vary from country to country, but in general I found this tip international to guide Western Union’s helpful guides, as well as AFAR’s own guide to tip in Europe. In general, I at least rounded the bill.

>> Next: AFAR Gift Guide for Small Business Shopping

Comments are closed.