The Responsible Traveller
The responsible traveller prefers smaller groups, and to meet some local people
(as well as fellow travellers), and understand that travelling in smaller groups
makes local people and cultures more accessible. The responsible traveller wants
to get a little bit more out of their travels, and to give a little bit back to
the special places and people that they encounter. They want deeper and more
real travel experiences. The responsible traveller values authenticity –
experiences integral to local people's traditions, cultures and rituals - rather
than those created for tourism, or those whose existing meanings and uses have
become lost as they have been packaged up for tourism.
A few thoughts for the Responsible traveller…
- Travel like Gandhi: with simple clothes, open eyes and an uncluttered
mind (Rick Stevens).
- Read up on the countries you plan to visit – the welcome would be warmer
if you take an interest
- Buy local produce - helps the local developing countries economy
- When bargaining: show respect for the crafter and pay a fair price based
on whether you would sell the same article for the price you are willing to
pay, after all they are trying to make a living. Keep laughter and good
sense of humour.
- In many rural markets bargaining is not an accepted practice. These
markets are often organised on a cooperative basis where all the crafters
take turns in selling on behalf of the group. The seller is often not the
crafter and cannot accept a lesser amount.
- Think small, locally owned accommodation- it benefits local families
- Cultivate the habit of asking questions: discover the enrichment of
seeing life through others eyes instead of the western practice of knowing
all the answers
- Local peoples different time concepts and thought patterns may differ
from your own, this does not make them inferior- just different
- Use water sparingly- it is precious in many countries especially
- Respect for local cultures, traditions and holy places earns you
respect, so for example, ask permission before you photograph local people-
in some countries it can cause serious problems.
- Spend time reflecting on your daily experience; it deepens your
understanding. It has been said what enriches you may rob and violate
- Do not buy products made from endangered species- hard woods, shells
from beach traders- or ancient artifact – they may have been stolen.
- Remember to treat all people and their communities with respect, after
all you are travelling through their lives, their world and their land!
- Enjoy the memories: extracted/adapted from Responsible Travel.com
To be free is not merely to
cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the lives
of others.- Nelson Mandela
To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already
achieved, but at what he aspires to. - Kahlil Gibran