In our mission to become responsible travellers, we are constantly looking at ways in which we can reduce or offset our carbon footprint, support local communities, and benefit the countries we visit.
Responsible tourism is finally making the headlines, and tour operators, travel agents and travellers alike are being to understand the importance of travelling in a way that is not only enjoyable, but also environmentally friendly.
While we have a long way to go and much to achieve, we believe we are moving in the right direction, and would like to share our Top 10 Tips on becoming a Responsible Traveller, in the hope that you will share some ideas of your own!
1. Carbon Offsetting
Carbon offsetting is a great place to start and it isn’t as expensive as you may think. Airlines will often offer this service but you may find it cheaper and more beneficial to go through an independent company such as ClimateCare.
2. Choose Tour Operators or Travel Agents that promote responsible tourism
If the Travel Company you book with promotes and supports responsible tourism, you are already moving in the right direction.
3. Travel in smaller groups
Larger escorted tours tend to have a more detrimental impact on the environment than small group tours, especially when it comes to wildlife encounters, so wherever possible stick with smaller group escorted tours from environmentally responsible tour operators.
4. Reuse, Reduce, Recycle
Reuse your hotel towels, reduce the amount of water and electricity you use, and recycle your newspapers and water bottles, just as you do at home!
5. Stay in Local Hotels
By staying in locally owned hotels rather than those owned by big chains, you support the local economy and provide the locals with employment opportunities.
6. Take Public Transport
There is nothing more exciting that jumping on a bus in Bolivia full of locals, their children, chickens, dogs and just about anything else they need to carry! Cheaper and more environmentally friendly than hiring a car – it’s a great way to see a country while being a responsible traveller.
7. Eat in Local Restaurants
A highlight for any traveller is trying new foods, and while you may be tempted to head for the first Mc D’s, you are not doing the local community any favours. So why not try that local delicacy instead!
8. Spend a day at a School / Animal Shelter or Soup Kitchen
Offer to help out at a local school or charity organisation for the day. These organisations need all the help they can get, and by walking a dog, cooking a meal, or teaching English to a child you can leave the local community with a positive impression of foreign tourists.
9. Buy locally made Souvenirs
Buy your souvenirs from local markets and street vendors, but please avoid having pictures taken with “wild animals” that are often exploited.
10. Leave the Country as you found it
Do not take shells, coral any endangered animal or plant species home. Leave them where they belong for the locals and other travellers to enjoy.
Being a responsible traveller is not difficult and may make your travel experiences even more enjoyable, so why not join this growing revolution and put the planet first next time you travel?
We would love to hear your tips and tricks on responsible tourism, so please feel free to share!