I don't know about you, but it is so easy when you visit beautiful places to forget about the impact that your trip has on the local community and environment. Responsible travel is about a more authentic holiday experience that enables you to get a little bit more out of your travels, and give a little bit more back to the destination and local people.
Responsible travel maximises the benefits, and minimises the negative effects of tourism.
Sometimes people think that travelling responsibly means never leaving the country, but that isn't true, you don't need to think "oh no I can never take another holiday". Here are my top 16 tips for travelling
responsibly whether it is locally or overseas.
1. Ask to see the tour operator's policy for responsible tourism - all good operators should have one. Make sure it explains how they minimise environmental impacts and support the local economy
2. Reduce your carbon emissions, I believe you should reduce the amount you fly, rather than flying the same as before and offsetting
3. Take fewer and longer holidays, which obviously reduces the amount you fly
4. Take some holidays closer to home, the UK has some amazing places!
5. Travel by train and public transport where possible, often this can be much cheaper
6. Book direct flights as much as possible, avoiding transfers
7. When you fly, make it count by booking a responsible holiday that increases benefits to local communities and environments
8. Read up on local cultures and learn a few words of the local language - travelling with respect earns you respect
9. When packing your bag remove all excess packaging around items - waste disposal is difficult in remote places and developing countries
10. While you are there buy local, rather than imported goods, and if in doubt ask!
11. Hire a local guide - you'll discover more about local culture and lives, and they will earn an income
12. Do not buy products made from endangered species, hard woods or ancient artifacts
13. Respect local cultures, traditions and holy places - if in doubt ask advice or don't visit
14. Use public transport, hire a bike or walk when convenient - it's a great way to meet local people on their terms and reduce pollution and carbon emissions
15. Use water sparingly - it's very precious in many countries and tourists tend to use far more than local people
16. Remember that local people have different ways of thinking and concepts of time, this just makes them different not wrong - cultivate the habit of asking questions (rather than the Western habit of knowing the answers).
If you regularly travel responsibly tell me your tips in the comments below.....