1. Community Based Tourism Initiatives and homestays are a great way to support the local communities you’re visiting. Research these accommodation options and immerse yourself in local culture.
2. Regardless of destination, think about how much waste you are producing. Many countries don’t have proper waste disposal facilities. Buy products with less packaging and try to reuse what you already have such as refillable drink bottles.
3. Water use is a major issue in many countries; reduce your water usage as much as possible. Fact: water use of 100 guests for 55 days in a luxury hotel will support 100 families in a developing country for 3 years.
4. Think about where you money is going. It is important to buy products that you can see will support local communities instead of foreign investors. When bartering at a local market think about who will benefit more from that $1 – It’s probably worth a lot more to the stallholder.
5. Fly less and stay longer. Explore responsible travel options closer to home. Use public transport and meet the locals. Travel light. Pack only what you need. Less baggage = less for you to carry and also reduces your carbon footprint.
6. Eat local food and support street vendors and restaurants that source their food locally – you’ll be supporting the country’s small farmers instead of large foreign corporations.
7. Learn some of the local language. You’ll be surprised how many friends you’ll make just by making the effort.
8. Remember that you’re in someone else’s country – respect local culture, customs and laws. What is appropriate in your culture may not be in another country.
9. Ask permission before taking photographs of people. Use it as an opportunity to practice the local language and get to know new people.
10. Experience and understand more about local culture wherever you are in the world. Meet new people and make friends along the way.