As the world is becoming more connected than ever, travelling is also becoming more accessible for people. Gone are the days where only the ultra-rich could travel – nowadays, many more people can, particularly those in richer countries like we do here in Australia. But the boom in travelling has had some goods and bads. On the one hand, tourism can benefit local communities. On the other hand, travelling can also be done unethically. Here at Human and Hope Association Inc., we’re always advocating for you to travel more ethically, so here are a few tips on how you can travel more ethically.
1. Support local businesses
While it might be easy to try the most famous restaurants/hotels/tour companies/private transfers recommended by your guidebooks, these are probably owned by huge companies and enterprises. But at the end of the day, it’s most likely that those people in charge (i.e. the CEOs) that are getting most of the money! On the other hand, small and local businesses are probably the ones that are needing your money that most! And by doing this you’re probably going to get the most friendly services too!
2. Be careful about visiting anything to do with animals
If you’re thinking about doing anything that involves animals, do your research first! Think about it, if a wild animal has been coerced to listen to humans, chances are, some sort of emotional or physical damage was done in the process. And when you visit these attractions, you’re showing that you support the industry.
3. Avoid any sort of short-term volunteering
If you’ve been following Human and Hope for a while now, you’d know we’re really passionate about ending short-term, unskilled volunteering. This is because getting familiar with anything takes time, whether that’s children, how the culture of an organisation works, or even how to use your skills adequately. If you’re told that you can make a difference in a short amount of time, something must be wrong. A rule of thumb is: if you wouldn’t be able to do something at home, don’t do it abroad.
4. Respect the environment
The planet is ours, and we all have a responsibility to take care of it. So when you go somewhere, take care of the environment you find yourself in! Here are some tips:
- Bring reusable bags or re-use a plastic bag when you’re shopping.
- Don’t litter, even if you see others doing it.
- Drink from the tap if it’s safe to do so, or use a water purifying system.
- Turn off any lights, air-conditioning, or heater when they’re not in use.
- Say no to straws – did you know straws are one of the most commonly found things in beach clean-ups? It’s one of the easiest ways to save the planet, and doesn’t change the quality of your drinks!
- Follow Leave No Trace
5. Be respectful of the local rules
This includes knowing how to dress and also some of the rules and customs that are in place. Is it disrespectful for women to reveal their knees? Is it forbidden to smoke at this religious site? Remember, you’re a visitor when you’re travelling, so act as such.
6. Don’t take photos of people without their permission
If you wouldn’t like to be photographed by a stranger, why should you be allowed to do it on another stranger? This is particularly the case with photographing children. It’s extremely disrespectful to take photos of other people’s children without permission, so be careful when you pull out that camera. Final thoughts Travelling can be a wonderful and fulfilling experience, but we have to be conscious about how to do it so we’re not harming others. We hope these tips will help you on your next trip abroad. If you’d like to join us on our next trip, click here!