HOW TO BECOME RESPONSIBLE TRAVELER

Travelling is not only reaching from one destination to another. It’s not only about visiting a place or visiting people. Even further, it’s not only about spending money, or be in a jet plane or riding coach or taking selfies. You can say It was in the old days and you can memorize the past days and argue tourists can do whatever they want during holidays. But modern days traveling has gone a long distance. It has gone further than not smoking in public areas, or not carrying illegal drugs, mercenaries, wildlife parts, or smuggling gold etc. Here I give you how the tourism industry or travelling or being tourist has changed or gone further than old days, you can look back to 60s,70s,80s,90s and even early 2000. It will give you a clear indication of what are the things you should strictly consider or keep it in mind while traveling. Nobody wants any bad memories of holidays/ travel.

First thing’s first, before packing your luggage, educate yourself about the countries or places you are traveling. Be aware of the geography, religion, culture, local rules and regulations. Respect the local knowledge, religion, and culture. Never complain or criticize the local norms and values.

Before leaving home, learn as much as possible about the countries you are visiting, the religion, culture, and the local rules and values. You don’t need to know everything, but the basics such as how to dress, how to greet locals, and how to act respectfully, this will not only make you more responsible but also far less stressful for you as a stranger in a new land.

Next, you should learn local language if possible and do not hesitate to use it. Local will feel closer to you if you do so. It doesn’t matter your accent is horrible or you are grammatically incorrect. But locals will appreciate your effort and you will feel closeness during your trip.

It is important to understand the appropriate behavior and body language. It might be the completely different meaning of one body language in your country to you are traveling countries. So you should do some homework to learn the gestures and sign languages.

Be like local and eat like local is not only makes you familiar with local culture and tradition, the local businesses are also getting benefits from your dollar expenses. For example, try to stay at local lodge/homestay or hotels, try not to use the big business chains that you can find in your home country. If possible use local transportation, such as train, hire a bike, local bus and you can also walk a short distance.

Beware about what is included in your itinerary and you decide what should be included or not. Be responsible and avoid local shows, markets or zoos that exploit animals or torture animals during/ after/before such events. Do not ride horse cart, elephant safari etc. Do not feed animals such as monkeys in Hindu temples in Nepal, India. Similarly, while supporting any cause in local, try to find out where is the money going, how is your money is spending. Sometimes you might be supporting some wrong deeds.

You have to be extra cautious while you buy souvenirs for your friends and family back home. The things you are buying might be made of illegal substances or made by child labor or involved some kind of slavery. Hence, be aware of such things. Never buy wildlife parts, check the plants’ products you are buying is listed in illegal items in your country or traveling country.

Consider the local culture and beliefs and dress respectfully. While you traveling or visiting the religious sites, you need to dress up appropriately. For example, in temples, you can not wear shorts, mini skirts, at least cover your knees or pants. If you traveling to some Muslim countries take a shawl or scarf to cover your shoulders or head.

Look for the signboards/ information board either you are allowed to take pictures or not. Ask people before taking pictures or videos of their properties. It is a violation of personal, spiritual or cultural beliefs if you do not take permission. If it is possible you can send their pictures back even you back home. This is a good way of building your connection in your visiting country.

It is always feel good to support community/people while you travel. However, helping poor people can go wrong sometimes for example if you give gifts or money to beggars, children or any other person, it might set a stereotype that tourists are the source of money to survive. The money you provide may not reach to the children or beggars because there are cartels deploying such people to beg money from tourists. So if you want to donate your money, donate to schools, community offices, hospitals or other reliable organizations. And ask them where does the money go, how it going to spend.

Never get involved in any kind of political activities, such as political riots, rallies, seminar, meeting. Never comment on the political situation of the country. Be aware of conflicts, outbreaks of violence, or kind of uneasy situations in your destination country.

Make your trip environment-friendly with less use of plastics, use environmental sustainable technologies such as e-vehicles, ride a bicycle, use recycled products such as water bottles. Try to minimize your carbon footprints. Try to eat as local as you can, eat less packaged/ processed food. Generate as less as waste during your stay. Never leave any waste behind. We encourage leave only your footprints not the waste.

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