There are two types of locals in many tourist areas and most people don’t realize it. There is the real locals, that lives, eats, and works locally, raising a family ect. And there is the other type, that has moved there to make money and will literally do anything to get it. Many people think using websites like Air BnB support the local people when in fact it does the exact opposite. Locals barely get anything while some internet savvy person cashes in on them. Not only that but it jacks the rent prices way up making it impossible for the average local to even rent, let alone survive.
You often times see tourists at Walmart and stores alike in countries that offer the freshest meat and fish locally at low prices, wondering to myself.. why? Willing to pay 3-4 times the price for food because they don’t know a lick of the language and don’t care to know. Throwing their cash around without realizing they could have fed an entire family for the price of a vegan hamburger at some fake tourist restaurant.
I can’t count how many times I’ve been in a tourist area and said buenas tardes or que onda to a European and they simply ignore me. A white dude from Wisconsin. They simply don’t have the cognitive function to 1) Figure out I’m a white dude that speaks English. 2) Learn basic communication of the location they are visiting. 3) Respond with a smile or simple hello. Instead they ignore me, let alone the locals. As they buy up the beach front property for vegan popsicles and nail polish, air bnb’s, and expensive hostels. Once again driving up the price for locals.
If you want to support the locals as you travel start with your attitude, perception, and awareness. Instead of being a frugal idiot spending 50 bucks on a vegan milkshake or night in a hostel, invite some locals nearby for some tacos and beer. They might have a room for rent for the week for 1/2 the price you’d pay on an Air BnB or a hotel with a family of fun and food with local reviews and guidance. You’ll soon find out they are spending far more than you on the night of fun and food. Yet you would never be in this situation without looking around. Without knowing some basic language and communicating. Without supporting the locals you’re just another corporate idiot throwing his money at a Walmart Abc or D or big name hotel Hilton.
Instead of a big name store why not the local market? For some bracelets and nicknacks. Instead of the tourist area where you get overpriced crap… move into the local areas and find old school Mayan and Aztec. The locals wandering the streets selling real home made hand made clothing that will last a life time for a fraction of the price. Yet that money can last them for several days with food or more chickens. The reality is you live in a fantasy land when traveling as you throw your money away, pretending to support the locals you really drive them out.
When it comes down to it, the way you travel is a full reflection of yourself. From what I can see, mostly narcissism.