This article was originally published on The International Ecotourism Society website. The International Ecotourism Society is the world’s oldest and largest international ecotourism association, TIES seeks to be the global source of knowledge and advocacy uniting communities, conservation, and sustainable travel. You can find the original post here.
By exploring alternative travel choices, you can have a unique trip and avoid leaving negative marks on cultures, economies, and the environment.
1. At the hotel: Ask about environmental policies and practices. Talk with staff about working conditions. Does the hotel support community projects?
2. Language: Learn a few words of the local language and use them.
3. Dress: Read up on local conventions and dress appropriately. In many countries, modest dress is important.
4. Behavior: Be respectful of local citizens’ privacy. Ask permission before entering sacred places, homes, or private land.
5. Photos: Be sensitive to when and where you take photos/video of people. Always ask first.
6. Environment: Respect the natural environment. Never touch or harass animals. Always follow designated trails. Support conservation by paying entrance fees to parks and protected sites.
7. Animal products: Never buy crafts or products made from protected or endangered animals.
8. Pay the fair price: Don’t engage in overly aggressive bargaining for souvenirs. Don’t short-change on tips for services.
9. Buy local: Choose locally-owned lodges, hotels, and B&Bs. Use local buses, car rental agencies, and airlines. Eat in local restaurants, shop in local markets, and attend local festivals/events.
10. Hire local guides: Enrich your experience and support the local economy. Ask guides if they are licensed and live locally. Are they recommended by tour operators?