Cast your eye across any travel blog, or Instagram account, and nobody would blame you for thinking the world was full of caring, sharing philanthropists lightly treading about, oozing empathy and respect for other cultures.
Given the power to pan out on most of those cuddly images, there’s a high chance you’d find several disgruntled locals, just out of frame, staring in horror as another great, galumphing tourist lumbers through their ‘oh, so authentic’ lives.
Meaningful Travel gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in your travels in a responsible (and fun!) way, giving you a taste of the true spirit of a place or its people.
But actually travelling meaningfully without causing offence, chaos, or taking complete (mostly unintentional) advantage of local communities, isn’t as easy as several million selfies imply.
Rickshaw Travel specialise in Meaningful Travel and, for over a decade, they’ve been designing fantastic adventures for families who want to wander the world lightly, thoughtfully, and responsibly; have authentic experiences, and leave, without leaving a trace.
Characterless package holidays in tourist areas aren’t the Rickshaw way. You choose from the bite-size experiences that Rickshaw offer and they do all the hard work behind the scenes so you don’t have to worry about a thing.
The selection is diverse, ranging from overnight stays in remote Vietnamese hill villages to traditional Indian dance classes to jungle trekking in Borneo. Drawing on the first hand knowledge of Rickshaw’s team of seasoned travellers, every experience is authentic, unforgettable and entirely original.
The only standard element of your family holiday is an unwavering commitment to Meaningful Travel, and that’s just how Rickshaw works.
They know and understand the communities they partner with; local people benefit directly from tourism; social, cultural, and environmental responsibility informs every single experience; and low-impact isn’t wishful thinking, it’s a Rickshaw rule.
Good to remember sometimes, that every family holiday you take influences the way your kids will travel themselves one day.
Hopefully for them, Meaningful Travel will be the norm. Until then, have a look at how extraordinary it is with Rickshaw Travel right now.
Vietnam is mesmerising and complex and most families stick to holiday islands, visiting Hạ Long Bay or settle for city tours of Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi.
But to see Vietnam as a country and not just a destination, you have to get to know its people, travel to less travelled regions and explore their traditions, culture and customs.
That’s the side of Vietnam that Rickshaw understands intimately. Kids probably won’t notice the learning experiences, because they’ll be having too much fun but you’ll appreciate them, along with intriguing places to stay and breathtakingly beautiful landscapes. If you want some beach time built-in, that’s easily arranged too.
Everyone knows Borneo’s legendary orangutan, but Rickshaw Travel are just as well acquainted with the island’s curious Iriwaddy Dolphin, mischievous monkeys, dozens of frog species, and forests full of show-off fireflies.
So their family tours in Sarawak are intrepid enough to satisfy free spirits completely, designed round the type of wildlife spotting that leaves ardent young zoologists stunned on a minute-by-minute basis, and an open door to the intriguing life of Malaysia’s oldest tribes; and some of the noisiest frogs on earth.
India is a limitless land of wonders, so immense and diverse, it should really be a continent.
It’s also densely populated, speaks more languages than anywhere else on earth, and has some of the most awe-inspiringly loud and chaotic cities you’ll ever have experienced.
Introducing kids to this astonishing country takes skill, and that’s where Rickshaw’s range of family tours excel.
They’re colourful, thrilling, exotic, and endlessly enthralling, but on the right side of the chaos that can make India seem like a daunting prospect. And of course, they’re local, which is the best way to meet some of world’s kindest, friendliest, and most hospitable people.