Lately especially after my trips to countries where population lives under 2 dollar per day, it has made me think about my role as responsible traveller. Responsible travelling is not always the easiest thing to do. Especially in poor countries I have faced many confusing situations.I don’t personally believe in it’s a tourist’s job to decide how the foreign country should work but when the revenue generated model is tighly bonded to inbound tourism , there is a chance for tourist to support the right action.
Here are some tips for a little bit more resposible travelling
1.Knowledge is power . For my own experience no one wants to harm people or nature on holiday for purpose however lack of knowledge might still do the job.Do your research of the the destination and its culture. There are some great books for more responsible travelling
2.Everything begins from the respect of the country and its people ! Don’t snap photos of the people like they would be tourist attraction. Showing your respect to culture also dress up proper which isn’t always simple. I personally got very confused in Malaysia which is islamic country but people e.g in KL don’t really cover up themselves in islamic way .I ended up to cover up my knees and shoulders in public places and in KL also. I guess it always good to bring sharong with you either to protect you from the sun or cover your shoulders.
3.What comes to dining and wining I strongly recommend you to give a little think of what you are about to put in your mouth. E.g Seaood is useally much cheaper and yummier abroad than home especially if you come from Finland…Anyway Travellers should always make sure that they won’t be eating undertreated sea species. You can be more responsible with drinking while travel as well, big bad evil Bottled water is sometimes only way to get clean water. Just as a handy tip, it is better to buy one big bottle of water and then refill in your little bottle. I have started to carry with my own waterbottle from home. Especially with longhaul flights it’s better to ask flight attendent to fill in your bottle than you use tons of plastic cups. Ps.Make sure you recyckle your plastic bottles and you do buy local water not for example Evian from the Alps.
4.Don’t buy nick-nacks from the kids on the street eventho you might think you are doing a right thing, the truth is buying things is only force them to stay on the streets and in most of the cases money won’t even end up to kiddos or their familys. For example I did not know what to think about kids in Bali trying to sell braclets for tourist at 11pm. Bunch of cash Bali money (about 4 euros) would have been enough to send these kids back home for that night. These kids told us that they have to earn certain amount of money in each night before they can go home. However giving that money to them would only send them back to street next night.
5.Eco-friendly Accomdation,choosing and finding Real Environmentally friendly place is endless road. A useful tip could be more stars hotel has its carbon footprint is bigger. Tourist must be aware all eco-friendly certications. Some of them are nothing more than commercials boosting hotel’s ego as there is not one worldwide certification which guarantee eco-friendliness accomondation. For example I read about Hotel http://www.al-maha.com/en/luxury-awards which has won many Eco-friendly awards although this hotels is hotel is located middle of the desert and some of the rooms have private pools. Doesn’t seem very eco-friendly concept to me.
I believe that Everyone including myself can always have more responsible holidays if you just pay a little bit more attention.
Do you have any tips for more sustainable travel?