Creating sustainable added value with a trip – sounds great, doesn’t it? With an overnight stay in a socialbnb, that’s exactly what becomes possible. However, for our goal of creating sustainable tourism that benefits everyone, the behavior of travelers is also important. Since the socialbnb concept is still quite new, some things have to be taken into account so that the stay creates added value for all involved. That’s why today we’re giving you an overview of the things to consider during a stay. You will find detailed information in our traveler guideline, which will be sent to you after booking.
1. Avoid Voluntourism
With socialbnb, you are already supporting the respective project just with your overnight stay. Many want to do even more and lend a hand on site. The combination of volunteer work and tourism is booming – but short-term voluntourism in particular has become increasingly commercialized. Needs of local volunteers are put above those of the project target group and competition of unpaid volunteers to local labor is high. In addition, volunteers are rarely qualified.
You counteract these problems with a booking at socialbnb, because you create an alternative financing for the respective project – through this, for example local workers can be employed. So it is not necessary to help during your stay in a socialbnb. With your overnight stay you already make an important contribution. You can read more about the consequences of voluntourism here.
2. Protection of the projects
Special and insightful encounters with local people are an essential part of the socialbnb experience. However, these encounters should take place respectfully and with everyone in mind. Above all, the protection of vulnerable groups, such as children, is a point that plays a far greater role in tourism than many first think.
Some projects with which socialbnb cooperates also offer educational programs for children.
When travelers visit those places, there is a risk of invasion of privacy in some cases. For example, if a school is visited, children can easily be distracted, which has a negative impact on concentration in the long run.
If you visit such accommodation, you should only visit social institutions in consultation with trained staff – and only if daily routines are not negatively affected. Always ask your host if it is possible to visit the project work. All our hosts receive information about the protection of their project target group and responsible interaction with guests.
Another problem is child labor. You can avoid supporting this by not buying goods offered by children. If you feel that a store is exploiting underage children, report the case to a child protection hotline or the police.
Children are particularly vulnerable to sexual exploitation in tourism. This happens not only far away in Thailand or Kenya, but also in European countries. So always travel with your eyes and ears open. If you suspect sexual exploitation of one or more children, report it (anonymously) for example on the page Dont look away of our partner organization Ecpat. You can find more information about this and our measures in our child protection policy.
3. Human rights and intercultural exchange
Tourism would not function without people. They perform all services from transportation to gastronomy and events to overnight stays. That is why it is all the more important to respect human rights and thus promote intercultural exchange. Unfortunately, the violation of human rights in tourism is commonplace, for example through exploitative working conditions of employees.
The situation in your destination country may be very different from what you are used to; also the local legal and social reality regarding discrimination may be quite different. Therefore, it is important that you are well informed about the destination so that you can travel safely.
One of the best things about traveling is meeting the local people. However, it is important that you do not cross the line from interacting with the locals for a nice exchange to invading their privacy.
4. Activities with animals
Animals have long made tourists happy on their travels, which is why more and more tourist attractions are focusing on experiences with wild animals. Unfortunately, animals are often captured for this purpose and put on display in such a way that populations are endangered and the animal has to suffer from becoming an attraction.
To prevent cruelty to animals and to spare them unnecessary stress, avoid direct contact with wild animals and look at them from a distance. And watching animals in their natural habitat is actually the most beautiful thing, isn’t it?
Therefore, here are some tips: If you want to visit the wild animals with the help of other organizations, make sure that they do not allow any contact between visitors and the animals. When photographing animals, turn off the flash so as not to irritate them. Also, do not visit animal shows or zoos. Wild animals are kept in cramped and unnaturally small spaces. If you do not visit them, the profitability of these institutions will decrease, which will hopefully lead to a reduction of this inappropriate keeping in the long run. Also animal fights torture animals unnecessarily, also here a renouncement of the visit leads to the fact that such a thing is no longer profitable. The organizations you can support with an overnight stay on socialbnb are selected according to high animal welfare standards. We are supported by our partner organization Animondial.
5. Respect nature
Mobility in tourism in particular is associated with the emission of climate-damaging emissions or noise emissions with high negative consequences for our environment. Air travel in particular is very harmful. But if you can only travel by plane, stay longer on site and use alternative means of transport if possible. With a train trip, for example, the climate is up to 85% less polluted than if you fly! And of course you can offset your flight – even if it doesn’t erase the emissions.
Here are some other tips for more sustainable transportation on your trip.
But not only the transport has an impact on the environment. For example, be sure to separate your trash (according to local conditions) and bring a refillable water bottle to avoid plastic waste. If you are interested in Zero Waste, you can learn more about it here. You can also protect the local ecosystem by staying on the signposted paths or by using resources sparingly in general. Also a sunscreen without microplastic or similar environmentally friendly products help to protect our environment.
6. Your own Safety while traveling
So that you can enjoy your trip from front to back and take away as many positive experiences as possible, a good preparation is super important. We have put together a few points for you in our guide. For example, it is important that you inform yourself about the situation in your destination country (safety, recommended vaccinations, entry requirements…) in good time before you start your trip. Also, you should know where the embassy in your destination country is located in case you have an emergency. Your most important documents (e.g. passport, insurance number, credit cards…) are best secured by copy and/or digitally. In case of theft, you can easily organize replacement documents.
Getting sick on vacation is never nice. However, if it does happen, it is even more important to have a small first-aid kit with you. If you want to try out alternative healing methods on site, you should inform yourself about the ingredients and manufacturing methods of the medicines beforehand. Why? Many medicines are sold on the black market or contain herbal or animal ingredients whose existence may be endangered.
7. Choose the right activites
You wouldn’t believe it, but even in your local ventures, there are still some things you can consider that will contribute to a positive impact there.
When shopping, you can avoid disposable items and buy products with an organic label. Buying local and seasonal products will reduce your carbon footprint, just like at home, and so will your avoidance of animal products. If you find local markets or stores, feel free to sample there as well. This way you will get to know the local culture much more authentically and intensively, promote the economy of the country and support regional businesses.
At some socialbnb’s you have the opportunity to taste the local cuisine or even take cooking classes. Definitely take your chance here to get to know the country’s cuisine authentically. Unfortunately, in some countries animals are caught especially for exotic dishes, which has a negative impact on the stocks. Therefore, the same applies here: Inform yourself in advance and avoid whale meat, for example, for reasons of species protection.
Taking home a piece of your vacation in the form of souvenirs is a wonderful way to make memories. If you’re looking for a nice souvenir, buy locally made products. By doing so, you’ll be promoting local and sustainable economic growth. However, be sure not to bring souvenirs of animal origin. The wild animals from which such souvenirs are made are often endangered and should never be sold as cheap mass-produced goods.
8. Capturing memories
If you have stayed at a socialbnb, you are welcome to give your hosts a little feedback at the end of your stay. We as the socialbnb team are also very happy to hear your opinion about the service and your stay – because this way next travel experiences can be optimized even further. If you want to use social media to share impressions of your trip, ask your accommodation beforehand if you are allowed to take pictures there. Always make sure not to take pictures of people without their impressive permission. And remember, you’re only here as a guest, not the hero of the story. Use your reach to spread the word and draw attention to the inspiring stories of the local people working on the project.