Youth, Let’s Be GOOD Travellers!

Anna Blackmon
Jul 23, 2023

This post is a contribution from guest blogger, Anna Blackmon. We are keen to encourage more bloggers and individuals working in tourism, conservation and sustainability to reflect on their experiences while providing suggestions and tips for future GOOD travellers. If you'd like to share an idea that you believe incorporates GOOD values and practices, please email us at We look forward to sharing more guest posts like this one!

Travel extends the boundaries across continents, uniting us in a way like no other. 

By interacting with local community members and engaging in new opportunities, youth can experience a culture outside of their own. In 2014, 50% of youth travellers — aged 15 to 29 — were “undertaking experiential travel such as work abroad, language study, higher education, au pairing, and volunteering” (WYSE Travel Confederation); “55% of youth travellers wanted to interact with the local people and 45% wanted to experience life in another country” (UNWTO). 

Over 23% of the 1 billion tourists travelling every year are youth. They make up 330 billion tourism dollars spent and have the power to create immense change through their choices. 

The Positive Impact of Youth Tourism

According to Passport Health, travellers can have an authentic experience at the destination site through tasting new foods and drinks, speaking with the local community members, participating in activities, among others. Youth travellers also positively impact the local economy. For example, “the tendency of young travellers to seek out local suppliers […] reduces economic leakage and drives more expenditure towards local businesses” (WYSE Travel Confederation). Youth travellers can inspire others to visit the destination sites through “food-spotting, online food photography, and blogging” (UNWTO), which leads to more local items purchased, and an overall positive, sustainable impact on the community’s economy.

GOOD Mother and Daughter Trip to Peru

In mid-March 2020, however, travel came to a screeching halt; our days were suddenly met with never-ending Zoom calls, stay-at-home orders, face masks (not the cleansing kind!), and social distancing. However, after over a year of isolation amid the COVID-19 pandemic, travel restrictions are beginning to loosen as more people get vaccinated. (For a map of travel restrictions by country, click here.) 

“As we consider our future travel experiences post-coronavirus – or even begin planning them – it is important to consider the power of our impact on communities around the world.”

How to Be a GOOD Youth Traveller

As we consider our future travel experiences post-coronavirus – or even begin planning them – it is important to consider the power of our impact on communities around the world. Here are a few tips on how to make lasting change without inflicting harm. 

Tip 1: Plan to Listen

Before visiting the community, youth travellers must examine their intentions. For example, they should ask themselves: “am I travelling to add another item to my resume or to learn?” If the youth travellers decide that they are travelling to “develop an empathy learning approach to community development” (Daniela Papi), then they are on the right track!

Tip 2: Research the Community

Travellers should study the destination site and learn as much of the local language as possible. The travellers should utilize the days, weeks, or months before departure to gain an in-depth understanding of the local community. 

Tips 3: Focus on Your Strengths

Once they have arrived at the destination site, travellers should focus on their own skill sets and expertise, lending to their “strengths, not [their] weaknesses” (World Vision). If they engage in a project — but have no understanding of how to complete it — they may end up causing more harm than good. 

Tip 4: Support Local Businesses 

Check out GOOD Travel’s trip to support Peruvian Hearts, an organization that inspires young girls in Peru to follow their dreams and pursue an education.

Tip 5: Think Before Posting

Youth travellers should ask for permission before posting a photograph of local community members on social media. President of the Fund Inga Nymo Riseth states, “when you only show sad pictures of hunger and poverty, it only shows one side of the story. It creates prejudice — makes you think that poor people are stupid [for not being able to help themselves] — and makes you think you can only change things by donating money.” Before taking, or posting, that photograph, the travellers should ask themselves: “Would I do this in my own community?”

Interested in joining a future GOOD Travel youth trip? Click here.

July 23, 2023
5 min read