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Ethical travel

Ethical travel
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The 6 habits of ethical travellers

Ethical travellers consider the effects of their trip on social justice, human rights, animal welfare and the environment. They use resources like Tourism Concern to understand which tourist activities are harmful and which need their support.

1.       They buy responsible souvenirs

Souvenirs are important but think about what you’re buying, who you are buying it from and how it was made. Watch out for unscrupulous vendors and try to buy from the makers themselves. Do some research and visit creative businesses and local artisans with a clear conscience. Avoid wildlife souvenirs, including sea shells and items made from reptile skin, as they promote animal cruelty and threaten endangered species.

2.       They look at their footprint

If you want to travel ethically, you’ll need to minimise your environmental impact. Think about what happens to your garbage – take biodegradable products, a reusable shopping bag and a reusable water filter bottle. Be sensitive when it comes to limited resources like water, fuel and electricity. Use public transport rather than booking a taxi, and walk or cycle wherever possible. Try to choose accommodation that has adopted environmentally friendly initiatives.

3.       They respect the culture

Be open-minded to new cultures and traditions. Think carefully about what’s appropriate in terms of your clothes and your behaviour and you’ll be surprised how much more welcoming the local people can be. Respect local laws and attitudes towards alcohol that vary in different countries. In some communities it is seen as extremely rude to take a photograph of someone without asking. Research the local customs and you don’t risk offending anyone.

4.       They care about wildlife

You may want to book a wildlife tour or an encounter with exotic animals during your trip. Remember that animal welfare is more important than getting a great photograph. Tourism can have a negative impact on wildlife so do your research and know what it is your money is supporting. Avoid bars, hotels and restaurants that display captive animals, don’t support the use of animals as photographic props and make use of responsible travel resources that can tell you about some of the tourist projects that actually benefit animals locally.

5.       They support local communities

Communities can benefit from tourism so make sure your money is going into the pockets of the local people who need it most. By supporting local communities, adventurous travellers can immerse themselves in the local culture in a more meaningful way.

Some tips include:

  • Book a home stay as part of your accommodation
  • Support local traditions by buying handmade arts and crafts
  • Use local brands when it comes to food and drink
  • Visit community projects
  • Use local businesses
6.       They support health in the community

Responsible travellers ensure they’ve had their vaccinations, so they don’t spread disease among the communities they visit. Book a consultation with a travel health nurse at Global Travel Clinics for all the health advice you’ll need for your trip.