Congratulations! You are already making a responsible choice by deciding to stay with us. You will be pleased to know that you are supporting conservation work, helping support 80 families in the local community, and doing it all with minimal impact on the environment.
But why stop there? There are lots of other ways in which your travel can make a difference.
You can have a significant impact on the local communities and on the environment when you are travelling. Tourism creates job opportunities; by taking a trip you are helping families put bread on the table and educate their children. Your holiday can help people. But sometimes well intended actions can end up harming the communities you visit. For example by giving a child a dollar or a pen, you intend to help that child, but you may encourage dependency on hand-outs rather than encouraging a work ethic. Some children may drop out of school to spend more time around tourists thinking they can make money from them. You vote with your money, so next time you encounter a beggar on any of your journeys, remember that by giving them money it endorses begging as an acceptable phenomenon.
We want to make it easy for you to travel responsibly, so we put together a list of things to look into before packing your bags to make sure you are minimizing the negative impacts you may leave behind, and maximizing the positive impacts. A lot of the time, people make the most damage with the best intentions.
Read the list below to learn how you can be a positive influence in the countries you visit:
Make better choices
- Travel with a responsible company that adopts sustainability at the heart of its operations
- Stay at hotels that employ and benefit local communities and have green credentials
- Eat at locally owned restaurants to ensure that most of the money you spend stays within the country
Minimize your carbon footprint
- Take only pictures and leave only footprints
- Reduce the amount of water used for showering and don’t leave taps running unnecessarily
- Turn off lights and blow out candles when you are not in the room
- Participate in our recycling and composting program by placing recyclables in the appropriate bins
- Don’t leave trash or waste items behind while hiking
- Minimize your use of disposable plastic bottles by using reusable water bottles or purifying your own water (learn more and join Travellers Against Plastic)
- Remove all unnecessary packaging before travelling and properly dispose of your trash; not all countries have the same recycling facilities as your own.
- Use local foodstuffs instead of imported products as much as possible. It has less impact on the environment (less transported/cooled, etc.), it helps the local economy and it is a nice way to taste the local specialities.
How to engage with local communities
- Most travellers enjoy meeting the locals, to thoroughly enjoy that experience and have a healthy engagement we encourage you to:
o Respect the culture and have an open mind to different beliefs and ways of thinking
o Learn a few words in the local language
o Learn about the culture and become a sensitive traveller
o Encourage the local economy, buy locally made souvenirs
o Dress modestly and be respectful of physical contact boundaries
o Always ask before taking photos
- You are likely to come face to face with extreme cases of poverty and wealth, if you feel the urge to help then go through an existing NGO that knows the REAL needs of the community and implements sustainable development programs.
- Don’t give money or gifts directly to children or locals as a donation because it encourages a begging culture. Instead give your donation to a figure of authority that can distribute it.
- If you have gifts from home that you want to give kids or locals, make sure you give them to the right person to distribute and do not do it yourself. Pack for a Purpose is a great initiative that can give you ideas on what to bring.