The idea that travel can be educational and positively influence international affairs motivated the first Reality Tour in 1988. Global Exchange’s Reality Tours are not designed to provide immediate solutions or remedies to the world’s most intractable problems, nor are they simply a kind of voyeurism. Rather, Reality Tours are meant to educate people about how we, individually and collectively, contribute to global problems, and, then, to suggest ways in which we can contribute to positive change locally and internationally. We offer participants an opportunity to journey to other countries to examine a situation first-hand, to see beyond what is communicated by the mass media.
As a human rights organization dedicated to promoting global justice, we know that travel can be used as an educational tool to build understanding across cultures and borders and can inspire you to challenge and change policies. Reality Tours is founded on the ethical principles of socially responsible travel. Our tour groups stay in locally-owned lodgings, employ local program officers and guides, and always support the local host economies.
For decades Reality Tours has promoted experiential education and alternative, sustainable and socially responsible travel as a way to empower our participants while promoting the local economy and wellbeing of our hosts. Relationship building is essential to this transformation. Each trip seeks to establish people-to-people ties through introducing participants to local individuals that most travelers would never meet on their own. These ties, we hope, will also prompt participants to examine their own societies and inspire learning, sharing, advocacy and engagement after the trip is over.
We coordinate dozens of trips per year that examine contemporary political, social, economic, environmental, and cultural issues around the world. You can begin your search for an open public tour here. We also offer customized trips for a wide range of groups including universities, schools, organizations, professional associations, companies, or any group of friends and family.