The travel industry is one of the world’s biggest industries — making up around 10% of global GDP, as indicated by the World Travel and Tourism Council — and it has no signs of slowing down.

Yet, the financial advantages that the travel industry brings can have unfavourable effects on the public that lives in well-known travel destinations, and even on the destinations themselves. Around the globe, tourists have disrespected holy monuments and even tainted landmarks when they wanted to leave their mark. And we haven’t even mentioned the usual wear and tear that happens even because of the well-behaved travellers.
So what really is Responsible Travel?

Also called conscious, intentional, mindful, green travel and no footprint travel – The essential reason for responsible travel is to lessen any adverse effects your travel could have on earth.
Responsible travellers are travellers that care, individuals who do not litter and do not exploit the resources, traditions, culture, or individuals of a foreign land – Explorers who have enough sense of consciousness to follow the rules in a foreign land and responsibly represent themselves and their countries.

Here is a guide to some top tips on how to travel responsibly.

1. Pick your destination carefully

Regardless of your reasons, do your research as to where you want to take a quick trip and check whether you are adding to the existing issue. Are the full moon parties bringing about Thailand’s mass sea pollution as we see in the news? Find other destinations that are more earth-conscious.
Want to go to a beach and party destinations? Search for eco-resorts or similar places that do the minimum amount of harm to the environment without jeopardising the kind of holiday you want.

2. Public transportation is the way to go

People getting on a busImage Source

Limit carbon emission as much as possible. Get on the train, the metro, or a bus as often as possible to limit your effect on nature. Or on the other hand, better yet, rent a bike for a fantastic method to see a city while getting a bit of work out in! Public transport also saves you a lot of money.

3. Try Not to Use plastic water bottles

Plastic water bottles create a lot of waste and are always found in large amounts in beach cleanups. Fill up your reusable water bottles from a water purifier to reduce your consumption of plastic water bottles. Your consciousness can save the earth.

4. Do not waste the water

Wasting water from the showerImage Source

Use water cautiously while bathing, cleaning etc. Water is a human right, but then the travel industry is one of its greatest exploiters. Do not leave the water running when you leave your hotel. Do not use the shower every day- use a bucket to bath and do not keep the water tap running while you are brushing the teeth.

5. Turn off the lights when not required

People often leave the lights and fans on in hotel rooms while leaving for the day. That wastes a lot of energy unnecessarily. Save power by turning off the lights, fans and air-conditioning when you leave your hotel room.

6. Avoid using straws

Straws are mostly made of plastic – Do not get straw when you order your iced coffees or lemon sodas. Ask if they have steel or reusable straws. Straws are one among the top 10 items that get collected in beach cleanups.

7. Think twice before interacting with wildlife

Elephant rides are cruelty towards animalsImage Source

While attractions like holding sea turtles in the Cayman Islands or elephant rides in India may appear to be an excellent method to interact with nature, but those animals are regularly abused. Around 75% of wildlife attractions around the globe really propagate wildlife cruelty, according to a study at Oxford. Do not let them get exploited. Educate other travellers about animal abuse as well.

Do you know why we should discourage Elephant Ride and Parks?

8. Shop from local sources

Whenever possible, shop at local food markets. Purchase gifts from artisans rather than big stores. Support local people. Local arts are dying gradually. If you support these local craftsmen, they will be able to put food on their table and will be encouraged to keep the art alive.

9. Try to eat local

It is always exciting to try the popular eateries suggested by Lonely Planet. However, go to some little, Mom-and-Pop shops as well. Often this is the place where you’ll discover the most delectable and most authentic food at an affordable price.

10. Give preference to homestays

Staying with locals helps you experience their culture closely. It allows you to enjoy their home-cooked authentic local food. Locals will know about the less popular but extremely scenic places you can visit too.

Reasons why you Should Stay in a Homestay?


11. Avoid booking AC rooms

AC causes carbon emissions and pollutes the environment. Chose AC rooms only if it’s unavoidable. If you are going to a Hill station, you won’t usually require AC.

12. Reusable Bags

Reusable bags are a must. Keep one or two with you at all times when you are going out. Bring reusable bags to stores or markets to limit buying additional bags. Travel with these Eco-Friendly bags to help lessen waste and preserve water.

13. Do not litter

Man throwing litter from the window of his car

Just do not. Regardless of whether local people litter, do not do it. For each local who litters, there are numerous who do not. An outsider throwing garbage on the ground in their home can be viewed as discourteous.

14. Follow the rules

Read the rule signs at tourist spots and follow them. When it says, “Do not climb” – DO NOT CLIMB. It is very straightforward, yet numerous travellers neglect this. As a rule, these signs are set up for a valid justification: to decrease erosion, to protect a sacred place for future generations, or even to protect individuals.

15. Be like a guest

When you go for a vacation to a place, remember that you are a guest in their home. How would you act in someone else’s house? Act accordingly.

16. Ask before taking photos

If you need to snap a picture of somebody, ask first. And wait for their response. If they gesture their head “yes”, snap a picture or two. In case somebody shakes their head “no,” value their privacy and go to someone else.

17. Pay fairly

Keep in mind that the individual that you are purchasing from has to make a living. In numerous nations, it is alright to bargain. Yet, do not exploit this, do it respectfully. Be ready to pay fairly.

18. Research about the tour companies you select

Try to support local organisations rather than global ones, and make sure they pay their workers reasonable wages. Extra points if you discover an organisation which gives back to the local community.

Do you know the difference between a Tour Operator and a Travel Agent?

19. Minimise carbon emissions

Cars emitting CO2Image Source

Plan your itinerary wisely to cause minimum carbon emissions. Travel via train wherever possible, limit internal flights and utilise other public transport means as often as possible.

20. Learn the language

Try to become familiar with a couple of phrases in the language of your host country. A few words you should generally attempt to learn are “thank you” and “hello”. You’d be amazed just how far those words will get you.

21. Kindness can go a long way

Treat everybody you meet with kindness and respect. It says a lot about your attitude. If you are annoyed, take a deep breath and think before you speak.

22. Leave No Trace

Man writing on a heritage rock

They are for the most part common sense, yet it is astonishing how many individuals travel with no common sense of their footprint whatsoever. Leave wildflowers or shells where you discover them, hike mindfully. Do not to carve your name into anything.

23. Be cautious of what you buy

Do not purchase products made from rare species of hardwoods. You will see a lot of shell and coral souvenirs but resist the urge to buy them, coral and Shells should stay where they belong.

24. Do not eat endangered species or wildlife

Pledge not to or purchase or consume any illegal endangered species or wildlife products. Your responsible consumption will decrease the demand for these endangered species, thereby saving them. Do not buy souvenirs or products made from endangered animals like crocodile leather, wild buffalo etc., peacock oil, etc.

25. Be culturally responsive

Value local culture & beliefs. The ability to learn from and relate politely to people of other cultures is called “cultural responsivity.” It requires openness to others’ viewpoints, ideologies, and experiences. This is not about changing others’ beliefs to be more like your culture. Instead, it is about learning and respecting the differences of others.

26. Inspire the local kids

Making a difference in somebody else’s life is such a great experience. If you are visiting a third world country, inspire and support the kids there. You should try volunteering in a developing country because your support will make the maximum impact with so many people in need. It will also provide you with a beautiful cultural immersion experience of another culture.

27. Keep an eye on the waste management

Spend time to find out how the hotels & houseboats manage waste. Ask questions on waste management and sustainability to each hotel and activity you visit. Learn about their sustainability practices and if they follow fair labour laws. Make sure they pay their staff fairly.

28. Go Green

There is no argument about “going green”; it should be a priority for the hospitality industry. It has to be a priority for many reasons, including cost savings, customer loyalty, and most importantly, environmental impact.
A huge impact the hospitality industry has on the environment is caused by the amount of waste hotels create. It is time to embrace recycling.

29. Be alert and responsible

Be alert to your surroundings. If you suspect anything irresponsible around you, it is your responsibility to report it to the authorities and press. Your alertness can save lives, so do your bit.

30. Educate others

If any organisation in the travel industry is not supporting responsible travel, let other travellers know through reviews, posts, blogs and videos. Help other travellers in all aspects and educate them about the tourist traps in that place so they can travel cautiously.

31. Give constructive feedback

Give constructive feedback to the organisations involved in the travel industry. Recommend environment-friendly tips to hotels in your feedback report such as avoiding small plastic pet bottles for shampoo, conditioner, plastic water bottles, etc. Instead, ask them to give shampoo dispensers and reusable water bottles.

32. Discourage beggars

You should not give beggars money. The statement might seem like a hard-hearted one at a first fleeting look. But it is essential to understand that this is right for them. Never give money, pen, candies, etc. to local children; this can cause them to start begging on an everyday basis. Instead, inspire and support them.

33. Order food wisely

Throwing leftover food in the binImage Source

Do not waste food. Most people do not realise how much food they waste every day. Restaurants waste a lot of food because of the extra food people order. If you are not sure about the quantity of an item, ask the restaurant staff about the ingredients and serving sizes of dishes in the menu before placing an order to minimise food wastage.

34. Do not support the illegal drug trade

You may not always see the problem, but drug trading is there. The trade of illicit drugs is a multi-billion dollar industry. This is not something that happens only in the far corners of the World– it is happening around you every day. Attempts to eliminate it have been going on for years. Make sure you report to the police if you suspect anything like that.

35. Report human trafficking

Hands tied with a ropeImage Source

Human trafficking is considered modern-day slavery, and there are more slaves now than there were at any time in history. It is projected there are 21 million human trafficking victims worldwide. The best solution is to stop people from being trafficked in the first place. If you suspect human trafficking or other forms of exploitation like sex trade, speak up and inform the police.

If you travel responsibly, you can make the world a better place and environment-friendly. Encourage your family and friends to do the same as well. Now start packing bags for your next trip, don’t forget to stay responsible and make memories.

Read our blog about how to keep the environment clean during a holiday!

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