Here are six ways you can support local businesses while traveling, ensuring a memorable and meaningful journey.
Traveling is not just about exploring new destinations, it’s also an opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and support the communities you visit.
One of the best ways to do this is by patronizing local businesses. By supporting local entrepreneurs, artisans, and establishments, you not only contribute to the local economy but also experience the authentic flavors and unique products that make each place special.
Ready to plan your next New York City getaway? Read on for great ways you can support local businesses during your travels here.
1. Stay at accommodations with strong local ties.
The stronger ties your hotel has to the community where it’s located, the more opportunities there are to benefit the neighborhood and direct surroundings. When it comes to where to stay when you travel, opt for accommodations that are unique to their city–like Park Terrace Hotel in New York City–both for a true sense of place that the big chain properties can’t offer and for the chance to support the local business supported by those local hotels too.
While there, check out Terrazzo Lounge & Terrace, with craft cocktails and spectacular city views of Bryant Park from the sixth floor. The hotel’s wellness offering also spotlight local talent, Ginger Gibson, renowned tristate hypnotherapist.
2. Shop at the local markets.
A quick google search can lead you to a nearby pop-up, farmer’s market, or flea market when you’re here in New York enjoying a staycation. Not only will you enjoy browsing stalls of interesting goods among locals, you’ll likely be introduced to some cool local products that make good souvenirs to bring back home to friends and family.
By their nature, farmer’s markets attract small producers looking to sell their niche product–whether that’s artisanal goat milk soaps, heirloom tomatoes, or natural sea sponges–with less overhead than a brick and mortar store requires. Vintage stores and flea markets are also good places to shop for second-hand goods that might otherwise end up in a landfill from people who will see the direct benefits of your purchase.
3. Mine the minds of locals for their favorite spots.
Hotel concierges, the local librarian, a valet attendant, and the person bagging your groceries are among the many locals you might encounter during your stay in a new destination who are treasures troves of small business intel.
When asking for a restaurant or shopping suggestion, try asking for a person’s favorite spot that’s not a big chain (instead of the most popular place) and you’re more likely to receive suggestions that lead you to small businesses you wouldn’t have likely found on your own.
4. Spread the word about the places you find.
Word of mouth and things like Trip Advisor and Yelp reviews can be the fuel that keeps small businesses prospering. So if you’ve had a great experience on your travels, don’t wait until you’re back home. Jot off an online review for that excellent guided tour of all the great local attractions or that hole-in-the-wall Mexican taqueria selling the best birria tacos you’ve eaten in ages.
Posting your finds on social media and why you loved them–in a quick Instagram post or on Twitter or Facebook–can also help spread the word about a local treasure and reach far larger audiences that you might imagine. Be sure to tag the small business on social media and share their posts too to pay it forward.
5. Seek out local tour guides and activities.
A person who’s actually from a place and owns a tour business has so much insider knowledge to share. From a guided tour of public gardens to a street food walking tour… the options are endless.
They are also a great way to get a lay of the land while you discover neighborhoods and parts of the city you might not have known existed. Not only is this another terrific opportunity to support the local community, it is also a great way to glean the best tips for local restaurants, breweries, boutiques, activities, and more.
6. Make a habit of supporting local businesses where you live, too.
When you’re at home, make putting your hard earned money into the hands of local businesses a habit and it’s something you’ll naturally tend to continue doing on the road, too.
The more small businesses you discover doing cool things and providing an option to the big box stores, the more you’ll notice that these opportunities to support them can be found in almost every town.