What is responsible traveling? You may receive different responses if you'll ask people. Others may say it's about making better places for people to stay and to visit. Some may define it as tourism that minimizes negative social economic and environmental impacts that would create greater economic benefits for local people and boost the well being of the communities. It could also be known as a mindful and conscious traveling.
We all know that traveling is not as easy as it may sound. But we must always be wary of our surroundings and the effect of our actions when we visit other places. We must be patient and respect diversity, culture and other practices. The choices we make on how we act and decide to situations when we travel could either bring a negative or positive outcome to people and their environments.
Here are some tips on how to bring about responsible traveling:
1. Leave No Trace
If you have already tried hiking, this is what the tour guide will always say during the orientation. Check out the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace below to easily understand the framework of minimum impact practices for anyone visiting outdoors.
These principles can be applied anywhere and can summarize responsible traveling.
a. Plan ahead and prepare.
b. Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
c. Dispose of waste properly.
d. Leave what you find.
e. Minimize campfire impacts (be careful with fire).
f. Respect wildlife.
g. Be considerate of other visitors.
2. Think Green
By being mindful of and sensitive of the natural environment, we can reduce the negative impact to the places we come to have fun and enjoy. Don't leave water running in your hotel, reuse things that could be reuse and recycle what you can while on your trip. Use reusable shopping bags, eat at restaurants with real plates and silverware or you may want to bring your own utensils or straws, bring reusable cloth napkin instead of frequently using paper tissues.
3. Buy from Locals
You may want to try buying souvenirs or delicacies from small vendors, stay in a guest house run by a family or have lunch in a small restaurant when you travel to different places. You does not only experience a more authentic adventure but you are also contributing to a better future of someone.
4. Respect Local Cultures, Traditions, Beliefs and Practices
It is very important to show respect to any culture, religion and any behaviors or rituals that may come with it. We all know that this world is very diverse, interesting and full of ambiguity. We should feel fortunate to see these personally and experience them even.
5. Think Carefully Before Joining Wildlife Activities
Riding elephants in Thailand or holding sea turtles in the Pacific may seem to be inviting and accelerating. But we should keep ourselves from doing them as animals with these attractions are most often mistreated and are subject for cruelty. Should you really want to see animals as part of your travel, you need to coordinate with the tourism management in the area so to be equipped with the necessary do's and don'ts with the wildlife.