With such a fantastically diverse world out there just waiting to be explored, it’s not surprising that more and more people today are choosing to travel. Lately, it came to my mind that the benefits of travelling with local, independent companies is probably the best way to travel, unless you have been there before, familiar with the place and wanted it a total ‘free and easy’.
Just imagine, you just arrived at your destination, checked into a 2 stars hotel or probably 1 star, and at their front desk you came across numerous brochures of local affordable tours, that inspired you to book a trip, which then can be arranged through their front desk itself. You could also bargain on the tour fees.
Whether it’s a flexi tailored stuff or a cultural tour or just exploring around, we all want to get the very most out of our trip. Therefore by travelling with the local and independent operators we put ourselves in contact with the experts of that area. These are the people who grew up there, have spent their lives discovering the aspects of the region that may not even feature in the guidebooks! So who is better to help and guide us around.
When I am visiting a place, I absolutely want to see more of their interesting popular landmarks or the best spot to capture a sunrise in the mornings or sunset in the evenings, or a hiking trail that lead to some fantastic views, highlands, villages which enable me to come into contact or mingling around with the locals. Yes! I will also be excited and can’t wait to learn about a restaurant or ‘five-foot way’ hawker stall hidden at the corner of a street loved by the locals for its chicken soup, steamed fish, noodles, fried stuffs or whatever delicacies that I can’t find back home. This is the type of knowledge that I truly value in a guide, a local guide. Another interesting experience is their traditional modes of transport. Be it a ‘tuk tuk’, pony cart, motor trishaw, triple trishaw whatever, they all generates income for their local people as well as helping them to continue preserving their local environment and retain their culture. Surprisingly these local independent tour operators have not yet been given a higher recognition.
I don’t need to travel around in an air-cond coach or car, with planned itineraries, having my meal in a cozy air-cond restaurant. I would rather prefer to walk around, at my own pace, stop anywhere or buying stuffs at whichever shop or stall that caught my attention. So if you are not particular about having to walk a little, getting sweaty a little and uncomfortable, browsing from shop to shop just to get a good bargain, eat whatever come by… why not explore your next destination with a local independent tour operator. They are more than happy to tailored and accommodate to your needs.
In turn, you have the chance to a more personal experience and simultaneously support that very area and its community. Meaning to say, by travelling with these local businesses we are sort of supporting their local people and their business. Our money reaches the people who really deserve it – the people living in the area who make the place what it is, which prompted you to visit in the first place! The $$$ generated by tourism never actually reaches the local communities. So let’s help them to successfully run and maintain their fantastically designed individual enterprises. We in turn could have a more understanding of what life is really like in that place by getting to know their people. As it increases the opportunities to interact with the local, they too may get a chance to know a little more about our lives and homelands/country. Ever noticed the local are actually curious about visitors…???
So, whether it’s an active holiday, cultural expedition, hiking, or whatever it is that gets you excited, try local travel… You won’t be disappointed! We loved it.