Thursday, 23 August 2007

Travel tips - how to travel responsibly

Of course, staying in an eco accommodation in itself doesn't mean that you are travelling responsibly - staying somewhere eco friendly but then going out and offending the local community, littering the landscape or collecting natural elements to take home as a souvenir would be easy ways to counteract any good you are doing!

So here are a few eco travel tips to consider when you actually arrive in-country. First off - cultural considerations:

You could find yourself in a very different situation to that which you are used to back home, but you must remember that this is normal life to the people who live it, so be open-minded.

Traditions, culture, religious beliefs, clothing and food may all be very different to what you are used to but be respectful.

Respect people’s wishes and ask before you take photographs.

Try getting to know people - you may learn something about their way of life and they may be able to give you insider info on where to go and what to do that you won’t find in the guidebooks!

When you are buying goods, using services such as tour guides or eating in restaurants, try to spend money that will benefit the local communities.

Giving money to people begging is not usually encouraged as it does not promote self-sufficiency, although this is down to your own ethical beliefs. However, if you do want to give something back in a more sustainable way, a number of eco-accommodations (including someo f those featured on are involved in projects where you can volunteer, and others will be able to give you advice on how you can help the local community in a sustainable way.

Any other ideas are welcome. Tomorrow - environmental considerations.