Responsible tourism may not seem to go hand in hand with the USA, particularly when its most shouted-about tourism offerings are often Disneyland and Las Vegas. And yet over the last couple of years, we've been looking more closely at this vast country, and have pulled out the hidden hideaways, cycling and hiking trails...
Calls to boycott the country until it stops the hunting and the infamous Taiji dolphin drives are frequent, but is this the best course of action for travellers anxious about animal welfare? Should we boycott Japan, or should we instead focus our attention on supporting an, albeit slowly, turning tide of change?
When we don't speak the local language, most travellers rely on gestures to express ourselves in a foreign country. These can be particularly helpful when you have lost your phrasebook and urgently need to communicate something to a local. However, it is a good idea to familiarise yourself with other countries' customs before embarking on a trip..
Yes the lights are green, but environmental concerns should not be the only ones on our mind if we head off in search of the Northern Lights this winter. Of course, limiting our impact on the fragile Arctic landscape is important, but to truly connect with these places we need to understand, respect and help preserve the cultural traditions and the people which have shaped them.
In our pursuit for adventure are we unwittingly fuelling an ongoing demand for more elephants to be illegally captured from the wild, with dire consequences? With no more than 45,000 Asian elephants left in the wild, are there better ways that we as tourists, could appreciate and help conserve these incredible animals?
So go to South Africa and explore its wilderness and wildlife - it's stunningly beautiful - but definitely don't consider its culture an afterthought. However, each province and its people has such a unique heritage, such a complex, fascinating story to tell that trying to taste every flavour of this rainbow nation in one trip will simply water everything down.
I travelled with Spirit of Soccer's founder, Scott Lee, and his five talented coaches to Poipet, located on the Thai-Cambodian border. As we rumbled up the narrow road, flying past huts squatting on stilts above stagnant swamps, and old ladies selling rice stuffed into roasted bamboo straws, he tells me that this region sits in the middle of the 'T5 mine belt'.
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.