By exploring alternative travel choices, you can have a unique trip and avoid leaving negative marks on cultures, economies, and the environment.
1. At the hotel/retreat/accommodation: Ask about environmental policies and practices. Talk with staff/hosts about working conditions. Does the hotel/retreat accommodation support community projects?
2. Language: Learn a few words of the local language and use them.
3. Dress: Read up on local conventions and dress appropriately. In many countries, modest dress is important.
4. Behavior: Be respectful of local citizens’ privacy. Ask permission before entering sacred places, homes, or private land.
5. Photos: Be sensitive to when and where you take photos/video of people. Always ask first.
6. Environment: Respect the natural environment. Never touch or harass animals. Always follow designated trails. Support conservation by paying entrance fees to parks and protected sites.
7. Animal products: Never buy crafts or products made from protected or endangered animals.
8. Pay the fair price: Don’t engage in overly aggressive bargaining for souvenirs. Don’t short-change on tips for services.
9. Buy local: Choose locally-owned lodges, hotels, and B&Bs. Use local buses, car rental agencies, and airlines. Eat in local restaurants, shop in local markets, and attend local festivals/events.
10. Hire local guides: Enrich your experience and support the local economy. Ask guides if they are licensed and live locally. Are they recommended by tour operators?