Be Local

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Be Local creates 7-day co-living experiences for curious minds. We want our groups to go beyond the obvious and really understand the places they visit. We do it by avoiding superficial planning and exploring in-depth the locations we visit, as well as other locations within the region. Local hosts lead the adventure so visitors can see these places through the eyes of someone who understands them. We adapt each tour to group size, weather, etc; so each departure is unique. Public transport, local suppliers, encouraging the discovery of surrounding areas and only visiting tourist hotspots at alternative times to avoid overcrowding are part of our formula!
Member since: 18 Nov 2019

How the minimum criteria of the responsible travel standard was met...

Economic responsibility

All our hosts and suppliers are locals (transport, activities and accommodation). We also encourage visiting and
buying from small and independent business whenever possible. By exploring and staying in alternative parts of the
city we contribute to distributing wealth across neighbourhoods. We do not work with charities at this point but we do
compensate emissions through atmosfair (yes, we know your stand on this but we think some of atmosfair projects do
make a little difference). We use public transport in all our experiences which also contributes to the preservation and
improvement of local infrastructure.

Environmental responsibility

A fundamental part of our business model is the use of public transport in all our experiences. All our clients are
provided with a local transport pass so they can easily move from minute one. We only have a couple of activities
where we hire private transportation (unfortunately, public transportation is not an option).
Most of the activities we have picked have a low environmental footprint. From an eco-farm paella contest to exploring
Peneda-Geres national park with a horticulturist, cycling to Tyniec Abbey in Krakow, or walking the trails of the 20
million-year-old “laurisilva” forest in Tenerife. All the exploration within the cities is done by public transport, cycling or
We make sure our guests separate rubbish accordingly at the accommodation and we encourage them to be
responsible for water and energy consumption. Towels are not changed every day but only when guests request it.
Also, through the compensation programme we use (atmosfair), we contribute to reducing poor households
expenditure on energy through energy efficiency initiatives. We know carbon offset is a controversial topic and we are
aware of your stand on this, but we do believe that if we can make the life of a family in very adverse conditions a bit
better, whilst reducing emissions, we are not harming anyone. Unfortunately, in many cases, we do not have a viable
alternative to flights, and in the meantime, we want to contribute somehow.

All our team works remotely. Some of us from Porto, others in Krakow, Prague, Tenerife, Riga, Valencia, etc. The idea is that our hosts are locally based so they don’t have to travel to the destination (with the consequent emissions), but they’re already there. Not one of our team members owns a car (it’s not something we ask for though), we all use public transport, walk or cycle everywhere. We do not print out any of the material we use or provide to customers, it’s all digital. We all have been recycling for years as individuals and it is something we would immediately incorporate if we had a central office (no need for now).

Yes, we do suggest travellers be conscious of water use. Firstly, at our accommodation (shared flats/houses), towels & sheets are not changed every day but only when requested by the traveller. We ask travellers to be conscious about shower time and to turn off the tap while brushing or doing dishes.

We do not provide reusable bottles but we definitely suggest bringing one or getting one. We lead by example and make clear that tap water is safe for consumption in all our destinations.

From 2020 we will be providing a tote-bag so travellers can use it whilst shopping at local markets. We also encourage people to give up plastic straws and fruit/veggies wrapped in plastic (they’re naturally wrapped!) and just avoiding unnecessary plastic in general.

As I previously mentioned, not one of us owns a car. It’s not something we planned but I guess the nature of the project itself has attracted like-minded people. We strongly believe frequent car use in major European cities can be easily avoided, as public transport, cycling lanes and pedestrian areas are widespread and easily accessible.

The places where we take and suggest to our groups are independent, small, family own business. We always try to include activities where environmental & social responsibility are taken into account. We do not just take a group to taste paella, we go to an eco-allotment where ingredients are collected by our groups, as we are explained the importance of the “huerta valenciana” in the local economy. We take our groups to “guachinches” in Tenerife - The most local and authentic eateries of the Canary Islands, where all products are seasonal and the money spent truly contributes to the economy of rural areas. These are examples of what we are trying to do. We are a small and new company and getting our basics right is the most important thing we can do right now!

Social responsibility

By having a local leading the adventure, we do not only provide the best possible experience but we also make sure
money goes to local business across the city/region. We want to be part of the solution against overtourism by “going
around” our destinations. Therefore, income and visitor numbers spread throughout the region. All the activities, local
guides and restaurants we use during our experiences are small players within the industry. We also select
accommodation outside of neighbourhoods that cannot handle more visitors. We want our clients to have a great time,
but we also want them to understand what makes these places unique past the beautiful facade most people go for.
Our strict small group policy is a way to guarantee we minimize social disruptions and have access to local/real-life
experiences. We always encourage integration and most importantly, adaptation! Language, traditions, taboos,
culture, history, cuisine, politics are as important as the main monuments people post on their profiles.

We want our groups to be conscious of the reality of our destinations and not a mere witness of just a “pretty facade”. We do send digital info and links about the destinations prior to our departures but as experience has taught us (some team members have been tour leaders for over 7 years), people do not read! So, our hosts make special emphasis during welcome meetings. This face-to-face encounter is way more powerful than any written material and it is the moment when you truly get the groups attention.

Travellers are given suggestions to minimize negatives impacts on local cultures. This is a constant process during the trip and hence the importance of a local who really understands the location where the tour takes place. We want our groups to understand, adapt and integrate as much as possible. The number of participants (max. 10 people) is also a way to guarantee minimal social disruptions.

Our local hosts are always present during the activities taking place and many of our included activities also require a local guide. We really respect the function of local guides and we know it is the only way to truly understand a location. Locals know better!

We try and include or suggest visits/activities that have a positive impact on local communities. From supporting local rangers and guides at Peneda Geres National Park spread good practices and knowledge of indigenous flora and the dangers of introducing foreign species (eg. eucalyptus), to supporting people who have experienced homelessness and are now local guides in Prague. We will certainly look into incorporating and working with more local social projects as we grow.

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