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9 golden rules of a responsible traveler

Travelling, is above all a pleasure, decompression, discover … but it is also aware of the impacts of tourism, it can have serious consequences on the environment and people. Today, a new dimension of travel is offered to us: RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL!

You are 7 out of 10 travelers willing to travel responsibly … But how many misconceptions do you have about responsible travel? Do you still think it’s a cool baba trip on the other side of the world? Are you one of those who see an expensive stay or rudimentary comfort? The 9 following rules will definitely cure you of your old beliefs: it is a journey that takes us to discover its other side, its natural and cultural environment, which rhymes with pleasure to travel!

1. Choosing the most ecological transport

2 hours on flight or 8 hours on bus? The first one sounds more interesting but not sure if it is more ecological. Airplanes cause 40% of CO2 emissions generated by tourism! It is therefore inevitable to regulate our movements in a judicious way, without stopping to travel.

When the alternative is possible, carpooling is widely acclaimed, and, by taking the small roads, the fuel costs decrease … And why not reconnect with recreation or soft transportation such as biking, horseback, trailer, sailing boat or walking? Anyway, taking local buses and trains is not only better for the environment, but you can also enjoy the scenery along the way.

2. Preparing a responsible-travel-bag

Yes, being a responsible traveler, it starts from your valise!

Lighten up your bag or suitcase because traveling lightly reduces your impact on the environment. Why? Less weight is a reduction in fuel consumption, so less CO2!

It is better to limit the packaging that will be left in your luggage, and when go back home, remember to bring back non-destructible waste such as batteries or plastic bags

3. Making a to-do list for local development

Travelling, you have chance to take lots of beautiful moment at the place you visit. Travelling responsibly, you take responsibility for everything you did and left. “Take & give”, your stay will be more meaningful when you give some of your time, your creation to community activities, that contributes a lot to the environment and also to the local’s life.

4. Choosing a reliable accommodation

Before going anywhere, you need some advices for a destination and sure, an accommodation where you can refill your energy after a long day on trip.  The important thing is that place can make you feel comfortable and its activities are suitable for a traveler who act responsibly. But 9 out of 10 travelers think that the responsible travel offer is not easy to find. We – V.E.O (Volunteer for Education Organisation) are here to help you your choice!

5. Discovering and respecting local customs/culture

Taking a trip, going to meet each other to share and exchange in a culture that is not ours implies to impregnate codes that differ from one culture to another. A way to open up and to welcome the novelty and to live unforgettable moments.

Sometimes your hosts have received ideas, conveyed by the media or by our predecessors not very concerned about their behavior. You open a path, whatever it is, do not forget it, others will follow you.

6. Discovering and preserving the environment

Throughout your journey, you can act for the environment: from your stay to yours activities and the transport you choose!

Water is a precious resource, let’s save it!  Take action and avoid, for example, letting the water run while brushing your teeth because 12 liters are flowing per minute and washing a towel requires a lot of water, electricity and detergent … So just change it when it’s needed!

Prefer ‘clean’ activities such as cycling or walking. When you walk to discover the fauna and flora, respect the marked trails, stay away from wild animals and avoid feeding them, so as not to change their natural behavior. If you scuba dive, touch the marine life of the eyes: the animals do not need to be fed and the coral should not be touched because its regeneration takes decades.

7. Stimulating the local economy

Responsible travel is also about the impact of your trip on the local economy and people. During your trip, think local!

Eat locally, it’s good for the taste buds and for your footprint. This reduces transport-related CO2 emissions and supports the region’s economy. Nothing like a local cooking class or a picnic with products bought on the market.

Shop locally, give priority to local crafts to support the know-how and the economy of the region. You can bring back a basket of specialties from the region, a small souvenir bought on the market … And it is better not to buy a luxury handbag or a branded T-shirt at an unbeatable price, even if it’s tempting, because keep in mind that only we have to assume the risks by encouraging counterfeiting

8. Sharing your experiences right after your return

After you have dipped into the reality of the return, try to rethink this responsible journey and ask yourself the right questions: What is the benefit of your approach for the planet? For you ? Does this new form of travel meet your desires? Questions also arise about the imprint left on the environment and the inhabitants: have you made the right choices to minimize your impact? Have you noticed the multitude of innovative projects, sometimes confidential, that can improve reception facilities, accommodation or transport?

A responsible traveler is a traveler who exchanges and contributes to the opening of minds. So tell your discoveries, your surprises and your encounters to your family, your friends or the Internet. A sharing that can lead other travelers to do the same! You can share your experience as a responsible traveler here, and also, of course, inspire you for your next trips … responsible!

9. Last but not least, enjoy yourself !

Responsible travel means being aware of the impacts of tourism and making sense of your trip while respecting the planet and its inhabitants … in other words, a state of mind that links curiosity, discovery, pleasure and sharing …

It is above all a normal trip, where one comes to spend a good time while adopting a behavior simply more citizen. Responsible travel rhymes with pleasure, respect and simplicity. It is also choosing to be both consumer and citizen, in other words to ask the question of the impact of his trip on the environment, the local economy, and the people.

Whatever your style of travel, take a responsible travel, together, we make our world better!

Celia B.

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