So what exactly does Pack your Impact mean? It means leaving a positive print on every place and person that you meet. Whether we’re travelling to see beautiful landscapes, historical cities or fascinating cultures, it’s vital that we do so responsibly. If not, our collective impact as travelers can put all those things we love to see and experience in the world at risk. When we travel responsibly, it helps better our understanding of people, places, and cultures for a more tolerant world.
Before your trip you can spend some time researching the customs of the place you’re traveling to – learn a couple of key phrases and greetings to open up communication; find out if there are actions or gestures that you think are harmless but might be considered offensive; pack something from your home that you might be able to share or trade with a local. A little respect and understanding can go a long way.
During your trip try and keep your activities hyper-local – diversify your itinerary so it not only includes the big and popular attractions, but it also features lesser known gems; try to support local tour operators, vendors and restaurants; eat local cuisine you might have never tried before; take public transport or walk whenever possible, and be mindful of your consumption and waste; most importantly, talk to as many locals as you can, whether it’s asking for suggestions or just getting to know an individual a little better.
After your trip you should try to keep the open-minded spirit of travel alive – share the stories and photos of the places and people that shaped your experience and broadened your perspective; volunteer at a hostel to give visitors to your city a local’s touch; vow to discover something new in your home town; if it’s possible, support or donate to environmental and social causes in the area you’ve visited. For something a little different, take a look at our Unpack Your Impact Dinner Party – a great way to make new friends like you would at a hostel communal kitchen.
HI USA tip: Take our quiz to discover your travel style and how that can help you Pack Your Impact, check out our Responsible Travel Guide series to see how you can be responsible traveler when you visit our hostels, and then book your stay with a HI USA hostel for your next adventure!