For many people, traveling the world is one of life’s biggest joys. However, it’s important to be responsible and respectful when visiting far-flung destinations. Every destination has its own environment and culture that makes it special. Having some awareness when you travel can help ensure that these wonderful places aren’t negatively impacted by the effects of tourism. Here are 5 tips to help you be a more responsible tourist.
Make it a habit to respect the environment.
No matter where you go, it’s always important to be respectful of the environment. The entire planet is currently dealing with the effects of climate change and population growth, so you should bring the best practices you use at home on the road with you. One thing to be particularly mindful of is your waste. According to World Bank, global waste is set to grow 70 percent by 2050, and you can be a part of helping to prevent that. In many countries, recycling isn’t an option, so opt for products that don’t have as much packaging. You should always avoid littering and leave every place you visit the way you find it. If there isn’t a good place to throw something away, carry your trash with you until you find one.
Be respectful of animals and plants.
Unique wildlife around the world is a huge tourism draw. However, it’s important to be thoughtful when interacting with it. Observing wildlife is fine, but any action that could negatively affect the biome is not. It’s also best to avoid activities where you interact with animals directly, like elephant rides. Many of the organizations that run these attractions don’t keep the well-being of the animals in mind. If you’re interested in any sort of wildlife attraction, do in-depth research on the organization first to make sure they are ethical. It’s also important to be aware of how your tourism affects endangered species. For example, the Komodo Islands have struggled to maintain the population of Komodo dragons, and there have even been times when they’ve had to limit tourist access to the islands because of it. If you’re visiting an area known for an endangered species, research them beforehand so you can interact with them without affecting their habitat.
Support the local economy.
No matter where you’re visiting, your tourism dollars can make a huge difference to the people that live in the community. Instead of eating at chain restaurants, opt for independent, family-run places. Not only are you supporting hardworking locals, but you’ll also probably get a tastier meal at a more affordable price. The same goes for shopping – buying souvenirs from local artisans can really help the community continue to thrive. If you’re in an area where haggling is part of the culture, be mindful when doing so. Pay what’s fair instead of just trying to get the cheapest price possible.
Learn the local culture before you go.
You should always keep in mind that you are a visitor in this country. How would you want visitors to act when they visit your home country? Be gracious, especially when taking photos or doing anything else that could be considered intrusive. Before you go, learn a few key phrases in the local language. You should also learn about local customs. You may need to dress more conservatively than you’re used to when you’re out and about. Gestures that are acceptable in your home country may be considered rude in the place you are visiting.
Be mindful of the way you travel.
Did you know that some modes of travel are more sustainable than others? For example, flying has negative effects on the environment. It accounts for as much as nine percent of climate change impact. If you have the option to take a train or a bus instead of flying, do it! You should also opt for public transit instead of taxis whenever possible. Many resorts even offer their own shuttle buses! It’s affordable and reduces your carbon footprint. Of course, walking is always the most sustainable option, and it will give you an opportunity to explore the neighborhood.
Amber International offers a mindful luxury resport experience for travelers. According to Booking.com’s Sustainable Travel Report, 87 percent of travelers want to travel sustainably, and we create an experience that fills that need. We partner with local businesses and governments and use environmentally friendly practices in all of our resorts. If you’re looking for a unique way to experience these beautiful locales, invest with us today.