Traveling is now becoming more popular among people. Even the World Travel and Tourism Council believes that the universality of tourism does not show any single sign of slowing down in the future. Currently making up 10% of global market value, tourism is considered as one of the largest industries in the world. However, the economic trend that travel brings may have disturbing effects on both the communities and its residents. Hence, travelers should be more responsible when visiting a certain locality. Here’s how travelers can show a little (but tremendous) act of responsibility in very simple ways.
Watch your trash.
It’s been part of local residents’ daily lives to see travelers come and go. And when I say travelers, I mean hundreds or even thousands of people visiting different places every year. Now, can you imagine how much trash is produced by these people? On seashores, mountaintops, sidewalks, and even in local transport or special minibus hire, more and more wastes are what we usually encounter, making plastic wastes an epidemic problem these days.
Responsible traveling means learning to have an innate etiquette which is not really difficult to do. People learn to travel by themselves so what makes it so hard to learn simple manners such as throwing their own waste into garbage bags where it belongs to? If everyone could learn to think green every day, no more plastic wastes will float on the ocean, no more seabirds will have debris in their stomachs, and the world might just turn into a better home for all creatures including the human race. Start making a commitment to utilizing reusable containers and plastic-free products and help avoid the epidemic result of human’s negligence.
Care for wildlife.
One of the most common mistakes of many travelers is their abusive approach to nature and the ecosystem. Collecting shells from the beach and rare plants from the forests without notice, carving their names on trees, walls, and other surfaces, and shooting animals for either instant food or fun are some reckless acts that may put the ecosystem at risk. The least thing that you can do as a responsible traveler is to leave these creatures and establishments at peace.
Give back to the community.
For most responsible travelers, giving back to the community is another significant geist of responsible traveling. It would satisfy you and the local citizens (as well) if you give back to these destinations that have given you so much (fun experience and peace of mind). Giving back doesn’t have to cost an amount but a little act of volunteerism to native groups can mean everything. You can teach the unfortunate children or offer other related services, donate a fair amount to support schools and other programs, or help conserve the environment. Small things like that can do great things.
Respect the local culture and follow the rules.
You have to know your boundaries when you travel. Keep in mind that the place you come from can be a way different compared with the destinations you travel to. Every country has its own culture and customs to follow, Before you visit one, make sure to do some research to avoid breaking them.
Support local goods.
This one is another way of giving back to the local community you’re visiting. If you’re traveling to Asian countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, or the Philippines, go for local products, souvenirs, and meals instead of those established behemoths. But still, choose what and what not to eat especially when it’s your first time to try their street food.
Avoid over bargaining.
Unlike Western countries, most cities in Asia do not really set a price tag for some products and souvenirs at their very own local stores and marketplaces. This is because of the fact that bargaining has always been part of daily life and culture. With bargain opportunities, most travelers who want to save a lot from their trip would take advantage of over bargaining, leaving local vendors with less profit. We understand that tourist pricing can be really unfair but as a responsible traveler, you have to consider the cents and dollars that you’re trying to save can really help local vendors and the community.
Educate others to be the best traveler that they can be.
Everyone should go and travel to see the beauty of the world and there’s nothing wrong with it. But many travelers may not be aware of how to travel responsibly. As someone who’s more responsible, your duty is to educate the others in a friendly way. This way helps the next generation to see and enjoy the beautiful world that you’re traveling today.