In this post, we are going to discuss the issue of ethical travel tips. This topic has gained prominence due to the ease of travel since the advent of cheap air travel. We now see literally billions of people traveling from one country to the other in any given year. With the rise of China and India, we could see hundreds of millions more people being added to this list.
Unfortunately, travel brings with it its own challenges to the environment and to the social wellbeing of the countries being visited. There are now calls for travelers to exhibit some ethical travel behaviors.
Gone are the days when people could willy nilly pollute the seas and lakes without any opposition. Take pollution of the oceans and seas which has severely affected the well being of fish and other inhabitants of the oceans.
Some of our actions do not just affect other living beings but also affect us as members of this planet. If we continue polluting the oceans we will soon see it in the depletion of fish that we need for food.
Therefore ethical travel is not just good for other living things but also for us too. It is in our self-interest to travel ethically.
Ethical Travel Tips
Below are some ethical travel tips that we all could do well to follow if we are to contribute to the wellbeing of this planet.
1 Reduce Air Travel
If we are to keep reduce CO2 emissions significantly then we cannot ignore the carbon footprint produced by air travel. I read somewhere that just one return flight from London to New York produces a footprint greater than a whole year’s personal carbon footprint allowance to keep the climate safe.
Any serious ethical traveler will, therefore, have to seriously consider reducing the number of trips we make by air. The more travelers take this matter seriously the better we will all be.
It is high time we all started taking seriously this threat as we have only one planet. If we lose this planet then we too will be lost as this the only habitable planet that we know of.
2 Avoid or Recycle All Plastics
Plastics have been in the news for all the wrong reasons. Environmental campaigners have recently alerted us to the harm plastic pollution is doing to marine life.
It was sad to see all sorts of plastics in the tummy of ocean fish and animals. Unfortunately, most of the ocean fish and others do not notice the difference between real food and plastics.
It is therefore incumbent upon all of us to avoid throwing our plastics into the oceans. It is really sad to see plastic bottles littering our beaches and eventually being carried away by the waves into the oceans.
Therefore as an ethical traveler or tourist, it is important to make sure that we avoid plastics where we can and recycle any plastics we use.
3. Never Attend Parks or Events Where Animals Are Abused
Most of us probably have seen pictures of animals that are forced to perform for people using various barbaric ways such as chains and whips. It is simply inhumane to do such kind of things to animals.
Any traveler who seriously takes the welfare of animals at heart cannot in good conscience patronize such events and places. It might have been okay 20 years ago but not now.
There is a saying that says the greatness of a nation is seen in how it treats its animals. You cannot only promote human rights and ignore animal rights.
An ethical tourist, therefore, needs to do his homework about the places they are visiting. The more people follow thees ethical travel tips the more we will have a better place for ourselves and other creatures that we share the earth with.
Exploiting wildlife should be a no-no for any ethical tourist.
4 Respect the culture of the country you are visiting
It is good manners to be considerate of other people’s culture and if possible to follow it. Our differences in culture are what makes the world a beautiful place.
For instance, other parts of the world have different dress codes from the western world. For instance, in some conservative societies, mini skirts are frowned upon. Therefore if you happen to visit such places it is advisable that ladies avoid putting on mini skirts.
There are also other parts of the world that dress differently from the western world. While they may not insist that you dress like them it is good manners to at least try to dress like them. Try it and the smiles that go your way will melt your heart. It is always nice to bring a smile on the faces of other people.
In other parts of the world such as Africa, eye contact is not as important as it is in the western world. Actually, when a young person meets an elder they are expected to look down and not look maintain eye contact.
To look at elders in the eye is seen as a lack of respect. I should however add that they will understand that the western world sees things differently and will ignore our ignorance in such issues.
5 Learn the language of the people you are visiting
Before you visit a place take a bit of time to learn at least a few phrases of the language of the people you are visiting. At least learn the greetings and other useful phrases. It will not only make your stay easy but can enrich your visit.
Most people will appreciate the efforts of foreigners to learn their language.
This reminds me of the quote from the late Nelson Mandela that goes, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.”
So next time you visit another country, try to learn a few phrases of the local language and you won’t regret it.
6 Avoid Giving Money to children
In some parts of the world where poverty is high, you will find street children begging for money in the streets. It is advisable to avoid giving these kids any money. They are simply too young to manage any money.
If you want to assist meet their parents. Giving money to children will only encourage begging and is not good for these kids who should be in school. You can help in fighting this problem of street kids by not giving them any money.
Another way to assist these kids is by making donations to charities that feed such children. From my experience, the work of these charities is hampered by people who give money to these street children.
This is because this encourages them these charities’ accommodation and beg in the streets. Therefore it is advisable that you avoid giving money to children to solve this problem.
7 Support local industries and not multinationals
As a responsible tourist or traveler, it is important that you support local business buy buying things manufactured locally. In that way, most of the money you spend will stay in the country you visited.
By doing this you will not only support the manufacturer only but also the supply chains etc. However, if you buy products from multinationals the money will only benefit a few people and most of it will leave the country. Therefore to benefit more people consider buying locally.