What is responsible travel? Like we saw in a previous article, responsible travel is the act of travelling while minimizing negative impacts, whether they be being sensitive to the environment, respecting local cultures and boosting local economy. To make sure that our travel is as responsible as possible, one has to follow a certain set of rules that I’ll develop below.
1) Make sure you choose your travel agency and accommodations carefully. Do they practice responsible tourism? Is the staff locally employed? Do they recycle? Conserve resources? Make sure you ask all these question before you go.
2) Educate yourself! Most tourists act irresponsibly because they act out of ignorance of the cultural aspect of the places they visit. The more you know about a place before you go, the more responsible you will be when you arrive there. Try to learn about the culture, tradition, clothing, and proper behavior to adopt. Knowing all those things will help you to be more respectful of the cultural differences. Even better: learn the language.
3) Support the local economy. Most hotels are part of big groups that keep all profit for themselves. Choose to live in locally owned hotels or inns, eat at local restaurants, buy local products and crafts. Anything that can sustain people.
4) Conserve the environment. Protect resources, choose transportation that have the least environmental impact, turn off your TV, or light, don’t take long showers… The locals may not have access to these resources, so be careful with them.
Travelling responsibly is really simple. Just keep these few rules in mind and your travel experience will be pleasant for both you and the population of the place you visit.