Be A Thoughtful Tourist...
Back to travel basics...
When traveling always remember, that you are a merely guest in someone else’s village, city or country. You are visiting their home. Stop and ask yourself - how would you want visitors to behave in your home?
Making responsible choices before and during your vacation can help protect communities and the environment around the world.
Know Before You Go
Do your homework before you go. Know where you’re going, what to expect, acceptable practices and most importantly, the cultures you will be experiencing. It doesn’t hurt to learn a few words of the local language – words like “please” and “thank-you” will go a long way in any culture. The internet is a vast source of travel-related information – use it. Ignorance is not an excuse.
- Remove all excess packaging before you leave home. Understand that proper waste disposal can be difficult or non-existence in remote places and developing countries.
- J and I, as photographers and scuba divers, take along extra batteries with us for use in our flashes, underwater flashlights, dive computers, etc. Keep in mind that hazardous waste disposal may be non-existent in developing countries, so if do you take extra batteries with you, make sure you take the used-up extra batteries home with you for proper disposal.
- Water - Be mindful of your water consumption. Fresh water resources are precious – especially in developing countries.
- Travel with a refillable water bottle. While you might not have access to potable water everywhere you go, be sure refill your water bottle where ever you can – airports, restaurants and hotels are a good starting point. Every time you use of a refillable bottle, you have helped eliminate a plastic bottle from a landfill.
- Similarly, if you’re staying at an all-exclusive resort, take along a travel mug. This will save you many, many trips to the beach bar and will also save hundreds of those tiny plastic cups from ending up in the landfill.
- Shopping – be sure to take along one or more reusable shopping bags. These will come in handy for carrying all your goods purchased at the local markets, as an impromptu beach bag and can also double as a “carry-on” for the return flight home – especially when your suitcase is overstuffed with all of those fantastic souvenirs. Best of all, you are eliminating the use of a plastic bag.
Support Local Establishments, Experience the Place
- Talk to the locals. They are a great resource for those “can’t miss” sites, beaches, restaurants and shopping.
- Get off the beaten path. Try something new. Challenge yourself to visit a site or try a restaurant that you wouldn’t otherwise try at home. You’ll be surprised at the memories you’ll make along the way.
- Shop where the locals shop. Unless you’re looking for a souvenir t-shirt, find out where the locals buy their clothing or groceries. By doing so, you will see new things, find a unique item and I can guarantee you will get a better deal than you will from the corner t-shirt cart and your souvenir will have a story to go along with it.
If you accept travel for what it is....experiences and memories, you will not be disappointed.