How to be a responsible traveller

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Travelling is becoming more and more popular, and it’s important to take a bit of responsibility with us. Not only to the environment, but to the locals as well. Today I’ll be sharing a few tips on how to be a responsible traveller.

Respect the local culture
Travelling opens new doors to new people with new (or different) cultures. To learn about new cultures and their values is one of the greatest rewards you’ll get while travelling. It’s even more important to respect these cultures, as you are the guest in their country and culture. Some countries and cultures are more strict and conservative with their dress sense so as a tourist: do some research at home and change your own dress sense to an appropriate attire. Shorts and tank tops may be inappropriate in certain cultures. In addition, always ask permission before taking pictures. Some may not appreciate having a camera shoved in their faces (I mean, I don’t) so just ask permission!


Think twice before being involved in wildlife adventures
Sure, riding an elephant seems fun or washing the elephants seems like a lot of fun too, but please: do your homework and look up information about the organisation. If I could give advice: just don’t do it. Do not give the money to an organisation if it’s likely that the animals have been abused.


Minimalize your waste
I was in Bali in April and May and the amount of plastic waste on the island was insane. They were just piles of waste on the beaches and on streets, and it’s so sad. And I’m not even talking about the waste in the oceans. Please, please, just minimalize your waste. Try and buy as less plastic as possible and always throw your waste in the appropriate place. Don’t throw in on the street, in the river or in the ocean. Once again, if you’re not convinced: do some research about the effects of (plastic) waste.

Be careful with snorkelling
Snorkelling seems like a lot of fun: I wanted to go snorkelling on the Nusa Lembongan island but we didn’t have enough time to go snorkelling and visit Nusa Penida: we decided to visit Nusa Penida instead. However, once again: do research about the effects of snorkelling and most importantly: about the rules of snorkelling. Do not touch the animals, just leave them be and admire them from a distance and don’t touch the coral. The Great Barrier Reef is the “perfect” example of how bad snorkelling and other impacts can be on the coral reefs!


Think twice (again) about dolphin excursions
Yes, I agree: dolphins are great animals and a joy to watch. However, going to their “home” with the motor boats is not going to make the dolphins very happy, to say the least. It may seem very bad to the tourist, but imagine: multiple boats a day with all their emissions on the ocean, near the living area of the dolphins: it does do damage to the animals and the whole environment.

Try to lower your footprint
We always leave invisible footprints: if we want it or not. There are some ways to lower your footprint. What I try to do: walk the shorter distances instead of grabbing a taxi or grab a bike if necessary. If the distance is longer: try to take the local transport (the footprint is lower if you use a transport with multiple people on it).

Buy from local stores
Support the local economy and buy from the local stores! They have great stuff and it’s even cheaper than the international stores. As a bonus, you’ll help the local economy and it does have a big impact on the locals. It’ll be greatly appreciated! If you buy products from an international store: the money will just go in the pockets of the international firms. In addition, look at the bigger picture if you’re bargaining at the market or at the local store. I’ve bargained in Bali, but try to think rationally and think about the wellbeing and the needs of the local. Honestly, it the euro of dollar difference really worth it?

Spread the word about responsible travelling and I hope these tips will help you with responsible travelling!



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  1. These points are all so valid and I hadn’t actually thought of some of them before. I did a boat trip in New Zealand and saw some dolphins (though it wasn’t the main purpose of the trip) and the rules about stopping to see them and swimming with them were very strict. I guess not all countries will have such thought out rule unfortunately and even if they do, the might not be followed

    Jenny | Local Leo

    1. I’ve done boat trips before as well, not knowing what the effects were. It’s good that company had some rules, unfortunately not every company does, indeed!

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