For many people, the most rewarding aspect of travel is experiencing other cultures. However, too often those other cultures are not themselves rewarded, the tourist's money going straight into the tour operator's pocket.
Responsible (or ethical) travel aims to address this problem by ensuring that local communities benefit fairly from hosting travellers. Village Ways is one such project, working in five villages in the Uttarakhand region of northern India, close to Tibet. The project provides grants for local villagers to build eco-friendly guesthouses and provides jobs for local guides. Guests are invited to help around the village – preparing food or tending buffalo – as much or as little as they want.
The 12-night Ways and Culture trip is a walking holiday where the altitude (2,000m) may take a bit of getting used to but the bucolic scenery never becomes stale. Similar projects are also under way in other impoverished areas: including Benguerra island, off the coast of Mozambique ( benguerra.co.za). RB '