03 January 2016

#ChangeTravelChangeLives – How To Travel Differently in 2016

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Our new Year’s Resolutions this year are all about changing travel – and changing lives – for the better. Here’s what we’re committing to doing in 2016, and how you can be a part of it, too!

Travel has a way of changing our lives for the better. It opens our minds to new experiences, shows us different ways of looking at the world and makes us more open-minded and empathetic. But what if travel wasn’t just transformative for the traveller? What if travel could be a life-changing experience even for those in a destination?

Spoiler: It can! And this year, the Buffalo team is working on showing you how our journeys make the world a little better for everyone involved. But showing you what we’re doing isn’t enough – the key to changing travel and changing lives starts with you. So how can you travel differently in 2016? These are some of the ways we’re challenging you to change lives through travel.

Ho Chi Minh-Saigon-Binh Tay Market-Cyclo-Xich Lo

Go Local

This is the hot topic when it comes to travel in 2016 – but what does it really mean? Going local on your travels is more than just mingling with the local people or eating at a local restaurant. For the ultimate in local experience on a journey, you’ve got the ask the experts – the locals themselves!

We did just that when we created our Essence tours and our Local Life tours – designed by our team of passionate, in-destination experts. We can create amazing local experiences because we live and breath those local experiences every day!

The challenge for you in 2016 is to challenge yourself to go beyond the obvious, and seek out experiences that open your mind to how people around the world live. That could be swapping a private car for a public train, a hotel restaurant for a mom-and-pop food shop or a five-star hotel for a local home stay. When you do that, you’re changing the lives of locals who rely on the local economy’s growth, and supporting entrepreneurs who are part of a country’s bright future.

Local life - Local cooking

Learn Something New

Why just witness something when you can master it? Sometimes the best way to experience local culture is to roll up your sleeves and try it for yourself. Instead of snapping photos and admiring the view on your next journey, include a few classes and workshops for a unique and inspiring twist on cultural discovery!

But how does a cooking class or a Jamu workshop change lives? By taking an active interest in local cultures, traditions and practices, you’re helping sustain local culture. Your travel dollars go toward supporting the locals that carry on these traditions, and empowers new generations to take an active interest in their traditions, too. Plus, you end your journey with a new-found appreciation for local culture that’ll be sure to inspire would-be travellers to do the same.

Cambodia local woman smile

Break Down Barriers

One of the best things about travel is the ability to immerse yourself in the lifestyles and perspectives of different cultures. Nothing helps us broaden our understanding of the world and the people that live in it quite like travel. Now more than ever, empathy is the key to solving some of the world’s biggest problems.

By making a point to treat travel as an opportunity to break down barriers that religion, culture, language and lifestyle put up between us, you’re working toward making the world a nicer and kinder place. Instead of simply snapping a photo of a temple in Bangkok, head out with a local guide and learn first-hand about how locals pray in those temples. Instead of just exploring Angkor Wat in Cambodia, spend a day learning how to weave a bamboo mat with locals in a rural village.

Every time you go outside of your comfort zone and learn something new about another culture, you’re building connections that’ll broaden your mind and theirs.

Become a Responsible Travel Expert

It’s not enough to just travel with a company that counts Responsible Tourism as a priority (though that’s a great start!). Before you travel, you need to know what responsible travel really means in your destination and what you need to do to be a responsible traveller yourself. With the right information, every dollar you spend and every travel decision you make is for the great good!

In 2016, your challenge is to become a responsible travel expert before you ever board your plane to Asia. Read up on the latest responsible travel tips, research the best ways to make a positive impact on your destination, and tell others about what you’ve learned. The Buffalo team is excited to help you become an expert throughout this year with lots of great guides and tips. For now, get started with our guides to responsible photography, souvenirs and social responsibility in Cambodia.

Alex Stephan with local people - smile

Make a Lasting Connection

Your journey and connection doesn’t have to end after you arrive back in your home country. The best journeys are the ones that leave us feeling connected long after we’ve returned home. During your travels in 2016, find out how you can keep supporting the incredible communities, initiatives and organisations that you find during your journey. Regular donations, advocacy and even word-of-mouth can all be a great way to keep making a positive impact long after your travels are over.

So when it comes to changing lives by changing that way we travel, the Buffalo team is excited to find out how you are changing travel for the better.

Have a great story about how your life – or the life of someone else – was changed during your travels? Share your stories, thoughts, tips and even photos with us by using the hashtag #ChangeTravelChangeLives!

Follow along with the Buffalo Tours’ team to find out how we’re changing lives through travel throughout 2016 – and share your own stories using the hashtag #ChangeTravelChangeLives!

Download our Responsible Travel Handbook Today