What is Responsible Travelling?

Responsible travelling is about respect. Respect for the environment, the place, culture and the people. Responsible travelling is about reducing your carbon footprint and it is also about conservation and protection.  

Obviously when we travel, especially by air, we have inevitably contributed to global warming. However, we can try to reduce the carbon emission in other ways like planning your travel plans in advance to avoid unnecessary travel. Whenever possible, use public transport like buses and cycle to sightsee. Abstain from unnecessary travelling using domestic airline for interstate travelling if possible, travel by train or coaches to reduce your carbon footprint. Walking holidays and cruises are also ideal form of responsible travelling.   Responsible travelling is also about supporting the local produce and not imported goods. However, it is also important not to buy products of unethical practices like slave labour, company that exploit the young and the vulnerable. When you buy local produce, you inevitably create jobs and help contribute to the community.  

It is always an eye opener or sometimes even a culture shock to discover practices and way of life that is so different from our own. We should always respect the different cultures and practices of the locals, we should never try to judge and pass snide remarks about them. Imagine how you would feel if a tourist passes undesired remarks or do something disrespectful.   We should also be aware of different religious beliefs and should always try not to offend them.   It pays to learn more about the country, culture and the people before going there. You can obtain the necessary information from brochures or do your research on the internet. With a good understanding of the place you are visiting, you can immerse yourself into their culture more readily. It also enables you to have a more authentic experience about the place rather than just visiting the usual tourist attractions.  

Responsible travelling is also about visiting local conservation projects like forest conservation, animal sanctuary and learning about what people do to preserve their environment. There are responsible holidays where you can stay and participate in the conservation projects like forestry, wild life conservation and protection.  

Conservation is also about keeping the environment clean, not wasting water especially in places where water is scarce and not wasting food.   When you participate and practice responsible travelling, you encourage the good practice of tolerance and respect. When you take an interest in conservation projects and wildlife, you help sustain the livelihood of the local people and indirectly help build their community.