Responsible travel maximizes the benefits and minimizes the negative effects of tourism.
Before You Book Your Holiday
- Plan your route to minimize carbon emissions. Travel by train and public transport where possible and minimize internal flights.
- Minimize flying time and stopovers. The worst carbon emissions are emitted during take off and landing. For the flights that you cannot avoid, offset the carbon emissions.
- Ask to see the tour operator's policy for responsible tourism. All responsibletravel.com members have to have one. Make sure it explains how they minimize environmental impacts and support the local economy.
- Ask your hotel/accommodation our 10 simple questions to see if they really are eco-friendly.
Before You Travel
- Read up on local cultures and learn a few words of the local language. Traveling with respect earns you respect.
- Remove all excess packaging. Waste disposal is difficult in remote places and developing countries.
- Ask your tour operator for specific tips for responsible travel in your destination.
- Ask your tour operator/hotel if there are useful gifts that you could pack for your hosts, local people or schools.
- Ask your tour operator whether there are local conservation or social projects that you could visit on your trip, and if/how you can help support them.
While on Holiday
- Buy local produce in preference to imported goods.
- Hire a local guide. You'll discover more about local culture and lives, and they will earn an income.
- Do not buy products made from endangered species, hard woods or ancient artifacts.
- Respect local cultures, traditions and holy places. If in doubt, ask advice or don't visit.
- Use public transport, hire a bike or walk when convenient. It’s a great way to meet local people on their terms and reduce pollution and carbon emissions.
- Use water sparingly. It’s very precious in many countries, and tourists tend to use far more than local people.
- Remember that local people have different ways of thinking and concepts of time, this just makes them different, not wrong. Cultivate the habit of asking questions (rather than the Western habit of knowing the answers).
When You Get Back
- Write to your tour operator or hotel with any comments or feedback about your holiday, and especially include any suggestions on reducing environmental impacts and increasing benefits to local communities. You will find independent holiday reviews from travelers on many responsibletravel.com holidays.
- If you've promised to send pictures or gifts to local people remember to do so, many are promised and never arrive!