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How to be a responsible traveller: Kaya Tip 7: Why buy local?

When you are preparing for your travels people may tell you to “buy local”. So why buy local? Here are our top 5 reasons:
  1. Meals and snacks use natural and manufactured ingredients grown and produced close to their source, so they:
    a. Are fresher
    b. Are tastier
    c. Have a lower carbon footprint due to reduced packaging and transportation costs. It also takes less fuel used to get them from the farms and factories to the markets
  2. Businesses make a profit which goes into the local economy
  3. Artisans have access to a local market to sell their products. They also don’t waste time through travelling to markets, or money through transporting goods
  4. Regional and indigenous skills and crafts are preserved through demand and their sales of their products
  5. Smaller firms tend to employ staff from local communities, keeping jobs and money in the community

At Kaya, when we say “buy local”, what do we mean? At Kaya we mean use local stores, and choose local brands and souvenirs. Where possible, we recommend you avoid large chains and look instead for local alternatives. Consider if you need to buy a famous brand of soda, burger or flip flop. A local brand will make an excellent alternative, and meals will be delicious as they are sourced and cooked locally.

Buying local can also be a great deal of fun. Why not head to a local market and purchase your lunch, or haggle with a street seller? If you are unsure where to go or what to buy a good rule of thumb is do what the locals do. Find a street stall where locals eat their lunch and ask your homestay family or the staff at your guesthouse for recommendations. You will find that most people are more than happy to help and enjoy seeing you experience their culture.

At Kaya we recommend that our volunteers and interns do this and help to become more of a responsible traveller. Next time you travel buy local in shops, airports and cafes, supporting local businesses in your destination.