Asia | Sustainability

4 reasons why taking a guided tour is the best way to connect with local communities

Recently updated on November 27th, 2023 at 05:17 pm

Traveling is not just about exploring new destinations; it’s about experiencing a place through its people, traditions, and stories, and forging meaningful connections with local communities. While there are many ways to get to know a destination, guided tours with responsible travel operators like Trafalgar offer unparalleled access and genuine support. From local expertise and guidance to authentic and ethical experiences, here are four reasons why a guided tour with Trafalgar is the best way to connect with local communities.

1. Unparalleled access and connections

With over a century of experience traveling the world and forging local connections, Trafalgar can offer local experiences you just wouldn’t get on your own. We’ve taken the time to venture off the beaten track and really get to know the people and places we visit. We also work directly with local communities to offer experiences that showcase the true culture and spirit of a destination. Because of this, our guests are privy to authentic, exclusive experiences, often not available to the average traveler. 

RELATED CONTENT: 7 immersive experiences you can only have on Trafalgar’s tours

family standing in an olive grove Trafalgar Be My Guest experiences

Be My Guest experiences

Time and time again, our guests say our Be My Guest experiences are the highlight of their Trafalgar tour. We first introduced these special experiences ten years ago, after recognizing that our guests wanted to really connect with local communities, not just see the tourist attractions. Our Be My Guest experiences offer moments of genuine connection, where local hosts proudly open their homes, inviting guests to enjoy a home-cooked meal, while sharing stories about their lives and culture. We’ve found that our guests aren’t indulging in a meal, but immersing themselves in the local culture, history and traditions, often leaving with cherished recipes or food rituals. 

Every meal tells a story. You could dine on local specialities under the stars in a Berber camp in Morocco. Share a traditional hangi meal at a Māori village in New Zealand. Sip on ancient wines with Tuscan winemakers in Italy. Or discover Indigenous food traditions with Native American tribes in the Dakotas of the United States. Through these shared meals and conversations, Trafalgar has been a bridge for thousands of travelers and communities, fostering meaningful connections and understanding.

RELATED CONTENT: Why the Be My Guest experience has never been more important

man holding pan of grilled octopus in Hvar, Croatia Trafalgar Be My Guest experiences

2. Ethical and responsible experiences

Trafalgar is committed to ensuring its tours are ethical and beneficial to local communities. We recognize our responsibility to leave a positive impact on the people and places we visit. When you travel with Trafalgar, you know that when you connect with local communities, you’re helping ensure the true economic benefit of travel is felt directly by these communities. 

RELATED CONTENT: 4 reasons why travel and sustainability are the ultimate power couple

Women demonstrating Quechuan weaving in Peru local communities

MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences

Our MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences are one of the key ways we ensure your tour makes a positive difference. Backed by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, our MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences are specifically designed to support and benefit local communities and cultural practices. Exclusive to Trafalgar and its family of brands, MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences are unique and authentic encounters that cannot be found elsewhere. We’re proud to say we now offer MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences on at least 63% of our tours around the world. 

Our MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences focus on introducing our guests to local cultures, traditions and sustainability initiatives. We do this in collaboration with local communities and businesses to ensure they gain direct economic benefits from our tours. You could meet traditional Quechuan weavers in Peru or Tibetan refugees in Nepal. You could chat with locals about life on a Native American reservation in the Dakotas or learn about organic farming practices from the farmers of Vietnam’s Thanh Dong Organic Village.

By choosing Trafalgar, you aren’t just observing from the sidelines or participating in exploitative practices. You’re engaging in enriching experiences that directly contribute to sustainable tourism and community upliftment.

RELATED CONTENT: 3 ways Trafalgar’s Make Travel Matter experiences connect you to a destination 

man dancing in Native American traditional regalia local communities

3. Respectful and uplifting encounters

When you travel to new destinations, it’s important to be respectful and aware of the locals and their cultural etiquette. One of the reasons why taking a guided tour is the best way to connect with local communities is that we help you navigate cultural nuances and customs. We’ll let you in on the do’s and don’ts and help facilitate respectful and uplifting experiences with local communities. You’ll also get to know different cultures through immersive experiences like cooking classes, traditional dance lessons, or workshops led by passionate locals. 

RELATED CONTENT: These 6 Trafalgar tours uplift, celebrate and respect Indigenous communities 

Martha Cucchia showing Trafalgar guests traditional weaving techniques in Perugia, Italy

4. Led by local experts

We know the best way to get to know a destination is through the eyes of the locals themselves. That’s why our tours are led by Travel Directors who are either locals or long-term experts. Our Travel Directors are more than tour guides. They’re incredibly knowledgeable about their destinations and are passionate about sharing them with their guests.

RELATED CONTENT: Two generations of Travel Directors: Meet the Creegans

You’ll also meet expert Local Specialists for insightful encounters at different places, from ancient ruins to national parks. Our carefully chosen experts possess more intricate knowledge about traditions, cultures and history than any guidebook ever could.

You could explore Ireland with the Creegans, an Irish family with four family members hosting Trafalgar trips across Ireland. In Kenya, you could meet safari guide Dedan to get an in-depth insight into the extraordinary Masai Mara. Or in Switzerland, Germany or Austria, meet Travel Director Ellen. She lives near Lake Maggiore and has spent almost 30 years as a Travel Director across Europe.

RELATED CONTENT: Meet Dedan, a Maasai safari guide for Trafalgar

What are your favorite ways to connect with local communities on a Trafalgar tour? Let us know in the comments below!

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