We’re in the height of vacation season, where seemingly everyone we know is jetting off to exotic vacations, living it up on a cruise, or having the picture-perfect road trip. With all the excitement that comes with traveling to new places, it can be hard to remember that tourists have a large impact on the people and environment they’re visiting. So, how can you see the wonders of each continent or eat foods with names you can’t pronounce without harming the environment and the people who call that “tourist destination” home? We’re here to help you make sure you leave a positive trail behind you, with some advice on being an ethical traveler.
“Travelers can be more conscious of their impact as they explore the globe by staying in genuinely eco-friendly accommodations. In my travels, I’ve noticed many hotels have jumped on board the eco-friendly bandwagon. Some are genuinely sustainable places that are meeting the demand for eco-conscious initiatives, but others are ‘greenwashing’ and aren’t as environmentally-friendly as they appear to be.” Read more.
“As millennials of privilege who have the ability to travel to countries off the beaten path, it’s important to remember that we’re guests in a new place and honoring the people who live there is our first priority. It’s not hard to avoid being the ‘ugly American tourist, as long as we remain faithful to the tenets of respecting different cultures and recognizing the dignity of the communities that we’re encountering abroad.” Read more.
“Experiencing new places opens our eyes to different ways of living in this world, but most importantly opens us up to be more compassionate and understanding when we return home. And that is the best souvenir of all.” Read more.
“Cultural missteps can be catastrophic, and cross-cultural communication can at times seem daunting. We sit across from someone on the bus who speaks a language different than our own, and we inadvertently call attention to that fact by attempting to start a conversation. We meet a new person and go in for a hug, when a handshake was already more touchy-feeling than that’d hoped for. We bring up a topic we find light-hearted only to discover we’ve touched some cultural nerve.” Read more.
“If you’re planning a trip to a new destination, there are plenty of easy ways to learn about the social, cultural, and religious norms so you don’t make a faux pas, or worse. I’ve compiled some tips from my own travels on how to be a more respectful, culturally sensitive, and conscious tourist that you can apply no matter where you’re headed.” Read more.