What is a responsible traveler? Being a responsible tourist implies to respect the local people and their culture while traveling in a country, be it on the economical, social and environmental levels. Nowadays, people are getting more and more aware of the importance of a positive tourism, but it is still not enough. So here are 11 steps to follow for you to become a responsible traveler and have a more positive impact during your trip:
1. Minimise your ecological footprint.
Reduce your energy use
Turn off the light and fans when leaving your room, and don’t leave any electric device turned on or plugged in when not in use.
Adopt a free-waste lifestyle and reduce your plastic consumption
One of the first cause of water pollution is plastic (bottles, bags, food wrapping…), causing the death of its biodiversity at high speed.
Don’t buy food or products with a lot of wrapping and avoid using straws. Try recycling when possible. Don’t burn plastic: its composition is dangerous for your health and for the environment.
Bring your own water container and shopping bag. Make sure to fill your bottle with filtered one, don’t fill it with tap water! You can ask staff from your accommodation or restaurant to fill it for you if necessary.
Respect the biodiversity
Don’t litter. Everything you throw in the nature will take years to disappear and will harm the fauna. Keep your waste in your pocket or in your bag until you find a trash can.
Don’t pick plants and flowers. Follow the trails and donc wander alone in the wild : not only could you harm yourself but you can also degrade the nature.
Water is an essential ressource. Don’t waste it!
Take shorter showers. Prefer showers over baths when possible.
Try reducing your meat consumption. Indeed, the amount of water needed to produce 1kg of beef approaches 15000L, against 900L for 1kg of soy! Moderating your consumption doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy the local cuisine.
Change your transportation habits
You don’t always need a car to travel. Taking public transit is a good alternative for the environment and your wallet. Walk or ride a bicycle for short distance. You will be able to enjoy more the nature around you.
Don’t eat or purchase endangered species
Visiting a country also means trying the local cuisine. However, you might pass by restaurants offering dishes containing endangered species on their menu, such as shark fin soup. Don’t support this market. Vietnam is really famous for its cuisine’s diversity, you have a lot more delicious and ethical food to try!
2. Respect the local communities
Support the local economy
There is always something new to discover in Vietnam, and the best experience you will have will be while exploring its culture and traditions. Support the community by eating at local restaurants, staying in local accommodations and buying handmade souvenirs. Not only will you contribute to the local economy, but you will also live a more authentic and memorable journey.
Always ask before taking photos
Taking a picture of someone by surprise can easily be perceived as rude. Respect their privacy and ask them for their consent before capturing the moment. If the parents are around, ask for their permission to photograph children. They are most likely to give you a positive answer.
Observe the locals clothing and adhere to it. Vietnamese dress codes are most likely not the same as in your country, and can also differ from the city to the countryside.
Inquire about dress codes before visiting monuments. Some places -mostly religious ones- require long sleeves shirts and long pants/skirts for both men and women.
Don’t support begging economy
On the road, you might encounter children wanting to take pictures with you or selling all kinds of “gifts”. Don’t buy them anything. These children usually stop going to school seeing that they can make money easily. Giving them what they want won’t help them.
Support responsible tourism organizations
Thankfully, a lot of organizations provide services while focusing on responsible tourism. By planning low-impact tours and supporting the local communities, we make it easier for you to follow the steps leading you to be a more responsible traveler. Learn more about responsible tourism.
Are you a responsible traveler?
Whether you are searching for an adventurous or relaxing journey, responsible tourism is always reachable and opens door to many possibilities. You can still enjoy a peaceful trip without putting much more efforts, and you might even be surprised by the amazing discoveries you will make along the way. So, what is stopping you? Are you a responsible traveler?