We travel to experience and explore the local cultures, communities, and surroundings. And if you respect the places you visit, you are not just an onlooker, you will get counted as a responsible traveler.
Responsible tourism and sustainable tourism, both come down to a single-most important conclusion: “To make this world a better place.”
But, here’s the catch. We all want to make our tours sustainable; we know that less-privileged people all over need our help; we also want to give back to our mother nature, but how?
Have these questions? Don’t worry. You have your questions; we have our answers ready.
By the end of this little guide, you will know everything to be a responsible traveler.
List of Things You Can Do as a Responsible Traveler
- Do Something that Doesn’t Earn You Money
- Shop Local
- Respect and Engage with Local Culture
- Reduce Your Carbon Footprints
- Say NO to Plastic
- Discover the Locality with Local Guides
- Do Bargaining but With Respect
- Don’t Waste Water
- Give your Money to Right Hands
1. Do Something that Doesn’t Earn You Money
And that is volunteering. It is said in many books that the ultimate purpose of life is to serve others. It doesn’t matter in what form you are helping.
While on your tour, look for NGOs and non-profit organizations. They will tell you what local needs are.
Whether you are teaching English to kids in a school or helping the grown-ups to make the area clean or contributing your time to animal conservation.
These things, big or small, will make you a responsible traveler.
Read: Things to do in Ooty
2. Shop Local
It’s no longer a secret that souvenirs are the best way to revisit a destination or region without traveling there again.
And mementos are what? Local artworks and other artistry, but do you only look for artworks on your trips? We don’t think so.
We need a plethora of items every day for our daily use, and it doesn’t make sense to carry them all from the beginning of our journey. Look! It’s globalization and you can get everything on your way during your trip.
Help locals by shopping at their stores. Definitely, they will smile at you when you pass on your way, but make their hearts smile by buying something from them.
Read: Things to Do in Srinagar
3. Respect and Engage with Local Culture
Ask yourself, isn’t it about the culture and people you go to any place? If that’s true, which definitely is, then why leave the chance to get absorbed in the lifestyle and culture of locals?
Visiting the most popular tourist spots without talking and wishing the residents in their language or dialect, is not worth it at all.
It will be the locals who will provide you with the raw information and details about that place. So, don’t half-fulfill your curiosity and lose a chance to become a responsible traveler by not being one with the locals.
A few countries like India always give you culture shock, so be ready for that too. The diversity of a place and the incalculable rituals and rites are only open if you are open to the place and its people.
4. Reduce Your Carbon Footprints
We definitely know what air pollution is because we are the ones who do it. And this problem is not limited to any specific region or country, it’s worldwide.
Wherever you go, you will find the rising level of heat and the temperature. And to cure this unseen pandemic, there is only one way and that is to reduce your carbon footprints.
How can you help in making the environment of your destination clean and pure so that when you make your next trip to that place; you will find it more fascinating?
The first thing you need to do to reduce your carbon footprint is to use public transport instead of a rented bike or car. Rent a bicycle, actually, for best results.
5. Say NO to Plastic
Just using the seven-latter-phrase, ‘say no to’ is not enough to make another seven-letter-word, ‘plastic,’ disappear from the face of planet Earth.
It needs commitment and the bitter truth is that committing something is hard. But, how hard is it to use other handbags made of degradable materials instead of plastic bags?
One of the ways to be a responsible traveler from the second you leave your home is to pack some reusable bags, and the determination not to use plastic items like polythenes, plastic straws, and containers.
6. Discover the Locality with Local Guides
If you visit a destination for the first time, generally it is not advised to travel solo; you can’t absorb that much of a place on your first go. And that is when we think of hiring a guide.
But, if you think that one should let the roots explain the beauty of the tree then you must look for the travel agencies that offer you local guides’ services.
Here in India, Trocals provide you with local guides so that you get to know every inch of the place you are visiting. Again, helping locals in this way is also responsible for tourism.
7. Do Bargaining but With Respect
People on the side of roads with their carts selling something are not there to compete for the world’s richest man. Neither they have salespeople marketing their inexpensive products nor they can run advertisements in the newspapers and media.
They have their family to feed and they are there to make ends meet. And we go to them and polish our bargaining skills. Is it the right place to do a buy-with-bargain internship?
No, head to the mall for that. Yes, bargaining is good for our pocket and what you need is healthy bargaining. Don’t do it forcefully or try to buy something at very cheap prices.
Remember, if they would be privileged like you, they would also be traveling somewhere. They will travel in the future, but your way of shopping shows them what responsible travelers do.
8. Don’t Waste Water
High chances are that you don’t remember the name of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and his poem, ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,’ but you must have heard the line ‘water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink.’
Water is everywhere, no doubt! But how much of it is potable? Isn’t it our duty as responsible travelers to conserve water not just at our homes but at our destinations too?
Your tour will only become sustainable if you know how precious water is for every creature.
9. Give your Money to Right Hands
“Beggar,” this word is enough to make an image in our mind of a person having a dusty face, dustier clothes, and hands in a specific position.
And when in reality they come in front of us, we just want to give them all that we have at that time. But, let’s look at the situation from another angle.
There are thousands of cases all over the world where beggars, especially children, are forced to beg on the streets by their parents or unscrupulous gangs.
The beggar to whom you are giving money may not get the whole amount when their leader or gang members will call them for the day’s collection.
So, should you stop helping them? Definitely not. Then what? Bring them food instead of giving them money or contact a local not-for-profit organization and ask them how you can help underprivileged people.
Want to start your journey as a responsible traveler from India? Great! But before that take a look over the 9 India Travel Tips