Travel can be hard on a local culture and environment; but there are ways to lessen our impact on the places we visit. That’s why we want to feature sustainable travel tips from Rainforest Alliance, an internationally renowned, non-profit conservation group. Rainforest Alliance and Detour are working together to promote sustainable travel and help tour operators become certified. There’s also a lot that a traveler can do themselves to lessen their footprint in the host country. These tips from Rainforest Alliance can help travelers make responsible decisions wherever they visit:
Once You Arrive at Your Destination…
At the hotel: Ask about environmental policies and practices. Talk with staff about working conditions. Does the hotel support community projects?
Language: Learn a few words of the local language and use them.
Dress: Read up on local conventions and dress appropriately. In many countries, modest dress is important.
Behavior: Be respectful of local citizens’ privacy. Ask permission before entering sacred places, homes or private land.
Photographs: Be sensitive to when and where you take photos/video of people. Always ask first.
Environment: Respect the natural environment. Never touch or harass animals. Always follow designated trails. Support conservation by paying entrance fees to parks and protected sites.
Animal products: Never purchase crafts, clothing, furniture or other products that are derived from members of protected or endangered animal species.
Pay a fair price: Don’t engage in overly aggressive bargaining for souvenirs. Don’t short-change on tips for services.
Buy local: Choose locally owned lodges, hotels and B & Bs. Use local buses, car rental agencies and airlines. Eat in local restaurants, shop in local markets and attend local events. That way money spent in the community stays in the community.
Hire local guides: Enrich your experience and support the local economy. Ask guides if they are licensed and live locally. Are they recommended by tour operators?