Travel responsibly – Top 5 tips

ranthambore tiger

Ranthambore National Park – no patting!

Planning your next holiday? What type of traveller do you see yourself as, a researcher/planner or someone who flies by the seat of your pants?  – personally I am a planner this is ideal for us, have something to look forward to and also ensure that I select the best activities which are in keeping with my travel ethics.   Do you think twice before you book yourself to ride an elephant or pat a tiger in Thailand ? 
The word responsible travel is brandished a lot in the travel industry, but I think as travellers become more experienced and wiser we, in fact become self aware that not all tourism is good tourism.  A little research is helpful in ensuring you only leave footprints on your next holiday.  I too am guilty of making bad choices, rode on elephants in Zimbabwe and Thailand, but when you know better you do better. 

So here are some of my tips to help you travel a little more responsibly:

So here are my top 5 tips:

  1. Choose a company which offers responsible travel services/trips and strong strong ethics, i.e. exploitation of kids
  2. Avoid touristy traps which harm wildlife; elephant riding, tiger temple, dancing bears, ivory souvenirs
  3. Nude or inappropriate behaviour – such as taking nude photos at Angkor Wat
  4. Giving lollies and money to street kids (they are forced into begging and taken out of school – this makes things worse )
  5. Take time to learn the local culture to not offend and look like an idiot, i.e. eat with the right hand, take shoes off before entering a home, tipping rules, taking photos, using the right cutlery. 

I love the following travel credo from  IIPT – International Institute for Peace through Tourism: 
Grateful for the opportunity to travel and experience the world and because peace begins with the individual,  I affirm my personal responsibility and commitment to:

  • Journey with an open mind and gentle heart
  • Accept with grace and gratitude the diversity I encounter
  • Revere and protect the natural environment which sustains all life
  • Appreciate all cultures I discover
  • Respect and thank my hosts for their welcome
  • Offer my hand in friendship to everyone I meet
  • Support travel services that share these views and act upon them and,
  • By my spirit, words and actions, encourage others to travel the world in peace

Nitty Gritty:
Here are some suggested organisations to assist with making the right decision when planning your trip
World Animal Protection
Otter website – great tips listed there too 
Responsible Travel website

Are you, like Beyonce and Jay-Z,  guilty of doing the ‘wrong thing?’  If so please share your story with us!

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