I probably don’t need to tell you why travelling is one of the most enriching experiences of life: we all need to understand though that travelling in a responsible way is possible, easy and doesn’t require any compromise.
You might be wondering though, what you can do concretely, in your own small way, to be a responsible tourist anytime you travel.
Here it’s the answer: these are my personal 10 rules to follow before and during your travels.
1- Read, study, do your homework! It doesn’t take much to be prepared when traveling: read a book, rent a travel guide at your city library or watch a documentary about the country you’re going to visit, then learn some basic words of the local language (hello, please, thanks…trust me, people will thank your effort with huge smiles!) . Also, look online for the local tour-operators organizing excursions and day-trips, and go for one operating in a responsible way.
On site, try and talk to some locals about the culture and the country traditions: you will treasure these encounters years later.
2- When possible, take a train or a bus rather than the plane. If you can’t, do you know that some airlines are more sustainable than others? Here it’s a list you can consult before booking your plane.
At destination, avoid as much as possible taxis and cars: local buses, bikes and simply walking are eco-sustainable transportation solutions, inexpensive and often more fulfilling.
3- Respect the environment and don’t destroy it: do not pick up ‘souvenirs’ from national parks, game reserves or archeological sites (in other words, don’t act like this tourist!!). Don’t abandon your garbage: keep it with you until you find a trash can and recycle, when possible.