How To Be A Responsible Traveler?


Now that the world has literally come to a standstill with all the nations emphasizing on social distancing and the WHO is constantly mentioning the importance of self-quarantine to combat the Corona Pandemic – it’s time for us, the humans, to pause and think how we can be better with our moves once we get to step out in the wider world, all over again. If you look at things from a different angle, you’ll get to understand that this phase is well utilized by nature to replenish itself.

The air pollution levels in various metropolitan cities across the globe have reduced, exotic birds are being spotted in flocks in the cities, the marine life is booming and a video also surfaced, showing how the canals of Venice have turned crystal clear, welcoming fishes and ducks! That’s definitely a lesson for us, don’t you think so? So once this entire Covid 19 chaos comes to an end and we’re allowed free movement, we know that you’ll buy tickets to fly off to a foreign land – but this time, make sure to be a responsible traveler.

At Vol Sol, we passionately believe in responsible travel and vouch for it and encourage it. But then the question arises, how do we become a responsible traveler? Take a look at some of the ways in which you can travel more responsibly.

1. Volunteer while you travel

Whether you are traveling for two weeks or two years, volunteering for a portion of your time with accountable and impactful organizations for worthwhile causes can make a world of difference.

If you have a skill that may be useful in a developing nation, such as medical or social care experience, there are several different opportunities that can be taken up to put your skills to optimum use. 

But even if you are not highly qualified or are a young student, you can still find rewarding ways to volunteer — a practice that’s referred to as “voluntourism” in the travel sphere. It may be possible to spend a few days teaching English in rural schools, for instance, or you can check out different animal conservation projects that are active in the places you are visiting and do your bit for the country and its populace. 


2. Remember to Shop Local

shopping at costa rica

When it comes to eating, sleeping, and buying souvenirs, choosing where you spend your money can have a massive impact on the community.

By having dinner at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant, staying in a family-run guest house, or purchasing a trinket from a street vendor, you are helping to inject money directly into the local economy. Aside from creating a more authentic travel experience for yourself, you are also contributing to the local economy. So ditch those malls when abroad and head to the real deal – some street shopping. 


3. Interact with the wildlife, carefully

olunteering in South East Asia

A lot of people have exotic dreams of riding elephants, swimming with dolphins, or having their photos taken with tigers — but these irresponsible activities often do more harm than good.

If you are really interested in visiting a place that houses and protects animals, make sure you contact one that is a registered NGO. Alternatively, you can always search for a volunteer project dedicated to animal welfare and conservation in the city you are planning to travel to.


4. Respect the local culture


The world and its people are diverse and fascinating, and it is an astonishing feeling to experience the wonder. We must always keep in mind how important it is to show respect to those local customs and traditions when we travel.

Many countries frown upon the so-called immodest dressing or consuming alcohol in public, it’s better to be mindful of those customs and travel accordingly. It’s best to set aside moral judgments when traveling keeping local sentiments and personal safety in mind. 

Also, learning a little bit of the local language goes a long way and it has to be more than just a “hello” and “thank you.” Study what the customs of your location of choice are to ensure that you don’t inadvertently offend anyone.


5. Whenever possible, take public transport

take public transport

There are a lot of great ways to lower your environmental impact when you are traveling. Unfortunately for us, travel is an activity that puts a lot of carbon in the atmosphere.

This isn’t to say we should never travel, just that we should be thoughtful about the way in which we travel. The most carbon efficient way to travel (aside from walking or biking) is by using public transport. It could be anything – Bus, Tuk-Tuks, Rickshaws, Trains and so on. Once you’ve done your research about its safety and accessibility, go ahead and use the public transport at any possible time you get. 

Not only is it good for the environment, but also for your health — and your budget.

6. Do not ‘boycott’ countries

Yes, each country has various kinds of people and what is reported in the mainstream media about a certain place may not always be true. Unless life-threatening or legally prohibited, it is recommended to boycott any country based on social perceptions and pop culture understanding. This not only hurts the local economy but robs any window of opportunity for a positive cultural exchange. So, let go of your fears and embrace the culture shock, ‘coz it might just turn out to be good for you.


7. Educate other travelers

women empowerment in Morocco

It’s kind of a ripple effect, being a responsible traveler might come naturally to some, but others may just not be aware of the implications their actions can have when they are abroad. And if that’s the case, it may be on you to show them the way.

If you see someone unintentionally doing something that is inappropriate for the environment, or to the local people and culture, consider mentioning something to them in a friendly manner. 

Start discussions about responsible travel with people who are in your hostel, in your hotel, or on your tour. It is only through education that we can help spread the word about sustainable tourism.

Our actions, while traveling, can have a huge impact on the environment, which makes it our moral duty to keep a check on them.

Let’s make a positive impact, let’s be responsible travelers! And to say the least, there would surely be no better way to travel than to go on a volunteering trip 🙂

Check Out The Volunteering Solutions Program Reopening Updates To Know More.

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