We all love heading off on a holiday, and whilst experiencing new cultures, environments and traditions is a lot of fun, it’s also important to treat your destination with the respect it deserves. Here are 20 tips to help you do just that.
Respect the community and culture
1. Do some research before you fly (or sail) and learn a bit about the language, religion, culture, food, local laws and etiquette.
2. Find out how to dress like a local and make sure your attire isn’t offensive.
3. Even learning a few phrases of the native tongue will go a long way with the locals. Train yourself on the basics with an app such as DuoLingo (I personally recommend it), and don’t be afraid to use it.
4. Try to eat at locally owned restaurants and shop at stores that are environmentally conscious and don’t promote exploitation (i.e. use of slave labour).
5. Try to buy locally owned brands and use locally produced products, to support the destination’s economy.
6. Always ask before taking photographs or videos of the locals.
7. If you feel the need to haggle, be reasonable about your price, and be aware that, to the vendor, every dollar may be the difference between eating that day or not.
8. Support the community by purchasing locally produced crafts and handiwork direct from the artisans and not from retail outlets.
9. You don’t wash your towels every day at home, so hang the towels in your hotel room unless you really need them replaced.
10. Try to use a reusable water bottle and, whenever possible, take your own reusable shopping bags.
11. As at home, unplug all hotel room appliances and turn off lights and lamps when you’re not using them.
12. Switch off the air-conditioning when you’re not in your hotel room.
13. Be water conscious – many countries don’t have the same water supply that we enjoy in Australian major cities.
14. Those little shampoo bottles may be cute and nice to use, but they also create a heck of a lot of waste. Bring your own toiletries whenever possible to avoid creating this waste.
15. Did you know that most of a plane’s emissions occur during take off and landing? Booking direct flights helps to eliminate a lot of unnecessary emissions.
16. If you go on a long walk or nature hike, stick to the designated paths. It’s not only safer, but it also ensures that nature and precious structures remain intact.
17. There’s a saying ‘take only pictures and leave only footprints’, which means that you should never take souvenirs, such as stones, wood or flora, from the natural environment. You never know what the effects of such pilfering could cause down the track – besides, they won’t be allowed into Australia.
18. Use public transport as much as possible; you can also hire a bicycle to ride and/or walk when feasible. Not only is it better for you, but it’s also better for the environment.
19. Recycling is a universal thing, so do your best to separate your plastics from your paper for easy recycling.
20. Holiday brochures can also be reused and, so long as you keep them in good condition, there’s nothing stopping you from popping them back in the display shelf. If you can’t do that, at least recycle them.
These tips can just as easily be applied on our own home turf, so it won’t hurt to put them into practice within the local community.
Do you have any tips for respecting the places you visit? Why not share them with our members?