Responsible Travel is about more authentic experiences that enable you to get a little bit more out of your travels, and give a little bit more back to the destination and local people.
Responsible Travel maximizes the benefits, and minimizes the negative effects of tourism.
1. generates economic benefits for local people and enhances the well-being of host communities, improves working conditions and access to the industry.
2. involves local people in decisions that affect their lives and life chances.
3. makes positive contributions to the conservation of natural and cultural heritage to the maintenance of the world’s diversity.
4. provides more enjoyable experiences for tourists through more meaningful connections with local people, and a greater understanding of local cultural, social and environmental issues.
5. minimizes negative economic, environmental and social impacts.
6. culturally sensitive, engenders respect between tourists and hosts, and builds local pride and confidence.
*The Responsible Travel Handbook 2006, p10
Ways of becoming a Responsible Traveler
• Research on the place you are visiting. Know something about their culture, language, history, and geography of the province or country. When you get there, try to get to know the people.
• Know about the cost of your trip. Think about where exactly your money is going. Will the locals benefit from your stay? Will it sustain jobs or support small businesses in the community? Instead of packing everything in your backpack or suitcase, you may want to leave some so you can pack lightly and at the same time, purchase some of your toiletries or snack food in the local stores.
• Buy local and buy fair trade. Explore what the locals can offer specially those made in their own backyards, from food to souvenirs, and staying in accommodations like homestays or inns. This way you are supporting them economically and empowering them as producers.
• Haggle responsibly. Take in consideration the quality of what you are buying and the process of production of these products. Keep in mind that when you haggle, you are also haggling the value of someone’s work or passion.
• Open yourself to culture and its differences. Learn about the customs and beliefs of the local people and expect that they are different than your own. Be prepared to adapt the way you dress, talk, and behave.
• Think about your footprint. Consider the kind of ecological mark you are making on the land. Think about your waste, take biodegradable products, bring a water bottle, and conserve resources as much as possible.