Guidelines for Travelling Responsibly
Check These Out
The tips from Responsible Travel build on the basic principles in the 6 guidelines laid out here. They are practical, solid and focus on package tourism but are also apt for independent tourists.
Intrepid weave their responsible travel philosophy into their organised travel adventures. Their policies are responsible, well thought through and well explained.
We heartily endorse the philosophy of G Adventures – ‘travel is an exchange not a commodity’. Piles of great information about tourism benefiting local communities, child welfare, animal welfare and plenty more.
Can I Make a Difference?
In short…yes, you can. If you follow a few simple guidelines when you travel you can make a very real difference to the environment and to the lives of local people. A lot of it comes down to awareness and common sense. Of course the guidelines and their emphasis can change with the destination. But there are common threads, and what many people don’t realise is that a small effort on your part can translate to a far more satisfying trip, as well as a genuinely positive impact on your destination. It’s a win – win situation.
Travel in developing countries or emerging destinations is where your impact can be the greatest. While these destinations, such as most of Africa, offer the greatest risk from the negative impacts associated with tourism, they also provide the opportunity to make a real difference. The difference you can make from a positive cultural exchange with members of a local community, by supporting local conservation efforts or by making a small targeted investment towards a local need can leave a substantial positive footprint. As well as creating memories that will last a lifetime.
Six Key Guidelines for Sustainable Travel
The following guidelines are not meant to be comprehensive but they are designed to get you thinking. They are also practical enough to be utilised on your next trip overseas. Sustainable tourism and its importance – economically, culturally, environmentally and socially – is growing quickly as today’s tourists ponder issues such as overtourism, pollution, and animal welfare. We’ve kept the guidelines short and succinct on purpose but if you want to read more widely or delve deeper into ways you can travel responsibly, then we have also supplied some links to some of the best online sources on Responsible Travel. And for some of the best advice and tips read articles from the experts here.
If you have feedback for us on our guidelines, from your travel experiences, we would love to hear from you. And if you’d like to keep up to date with our latest articles on responsible travel, and to hear more about the projects we support, subscribe to our newsletter.
Don’t be shy
Engaging with local people, learning something of their culture, and opening up about yourself, are great ways to show you respect your hosts. Travel is at its best when there is a genuine exchange – that is how true friendships are made that cross cultural borders.
Leave no trace
Before you think about having a positive impact, think about ways to avoid having a negative impact, such as leaving plastic at home, taking a reusable water bottle, and avoiding places that suffer from overtourism. Remember the old adage – leave only footprints.
Spend your money at local shops, vendors and markets as much as possible to contribute to the local economy. The purchase of handicrafts can help sustain a traditional craft, while purchasing food and drink helps benefit families in local communities.
Consider animal welfare
There are few places you can go without impacting wildlife. Never feed or touch a wild animal, and organisations that encourage interaction between tourists and elephants should be avoided. If you’re going to Africa, think hard about good wildlife-watching practices.
Think about giving back
If you want to have a positive impact, consider different ways of giving back, including volunteering your time at a place where you can be genuinely useful or making a targeted donation towards a local need. Give back and complete your journey…
Pack an open attitude
Be accepting of difference, embrace it, and learn from it. Make time to spend with locals, especially in places where they normally hangout. Be patient, insightful, interested and tolerant. Break down stereotypes and get used to a different pace of life…