Be a Responsible Traveller

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Travel Features >> Be a Responsible Traveller

Be a Responsible Traveller

March 13, 2013

Business trips, official tours, family vacations or friends’ outing - travelling is an unavoidable, yet pleasurable part of life. People travel to see new places, savour new delicacies, enrich and refresh their minds. But, too many visits to a place lead to its exploitation and affects the place negatively.

No! We are not asking you to stop travelling or exploring new places. All we are suggesting is that you travel with little more care and responsibly. Responsible travelling can lessen the negative impacts on the place and create beautiful memories for you and others. Treat the place as your home. A few suggestions on how to be a responsible traveller:

Know before you go: Reading about the desired place to visit is a must for any traveller. The more information about the place, the more you will know how to behave in that place.
Study and learn about the culture, religious beliefs and traditions, needed behaviours, expected dressing and local etiquettes of the region you are visiting. What might not be offensive in your native place may be considered offensive in other countries so you have to be respectful to these differences.

Learn the Lingo: If you know a few words and phrases of the host language where you are travelling, it will go a long way. Learning key words like hello, thank you, please and knowledge of numbers, at least from 1 to 10, are appreciated by the locals. Knowing conversational phrases like “how much?”, “I don’t understand what you are saying” “Can you speak English?” or “Where is the nearest ATM/ market/hotel?” helps you to communicate effectively.
While preparing for travelling, make a point to pick up a basic language learning book or a language CD. A little effort makes you a better traveller.

Give Respect: Being respectful to the locals and their cultural beliefs and traditions is a must for every traveller. Locals should be treated with respect and courtesy. You should be open-minded to their cultural and religious beliefs and behave accordingly.
Be particularly careful and keep in mind the instructions outlined while visiting places of worship. Many temples and churches request people to take off their shoes, cover their heads, maintain silence or refrain from photography. These requests should be taken into consideration and followed.
Similarly before clicking pictures of people or entering their houses, ask for their permission. Be open to asking questions and do not think that you know it all. You will be amazed at what you might learn!

Contribute: Help the locals prosper by staying in the small local guest houses, inns and government-aided resorts. Shop for handicrafts, artworks or souvenirs from the craftsmen themselves. Try out the local food joints and restaurants, as in this manner you not only will help them to survive but will also be able to taste and enjoy the various authentic delicacies.
Your contribution will help many handicraft industries from dying out and in return you too can go back home rich with indigenous handiworks. A point to be noted: Do not buy or encourage goods made of endangered species or are illegally traded.

Look after Nature: A responsible traveller is one who respects his or her natural surroundings. So when you are visiting a place pay attention and keep the place clean. Dispose your garbage properly, do not litter the place and minimise your consumption of energy as that will benefit the destination. While packing, pack smartly and avoid materials like plastic bags or wrappers that can add up to your amount of trash.

Reduce, reuse and recycle should be your motto.

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