As countries, States and Cities are going to reopen soon & you are probably thinking about getting a small summer vacation in, I know even I am and hence it's important to know, how to become more responsible while travelling.
Responsible travel was a hot topic before the pandemic but I think it's now even more important to talk about. As a responsible traveller apart from social & culture awareness, one should now also consider the health & safety for both yourself and the communities. You should know the impact of your travel and make sure that it's positive.
Let's check out the tips to be a Responsible Travellers now and in the future.
1. Research before choosing destination:
How possibly the destinations have been affected by the COVID 19 and what is the current status there? Has the tourism re-opened there? How about public outdoor spaces? How far is the place from your home? Is it in the same state or you are crossing state-lines? How will you travel there? These factors you need to consider and research while choosing Destination.
2. Reason for travel
Why are you going to travel? Relaxation? Adventure? Culture? Forest Trek? Camping? These are all surely good reasons to travel but how you execute will matter the most. For ex. Camping or Staying in a remote location to relax in nature with minimal contact with locals
seems a good idea. But traveling to do some kind of extreme adventure activity where risk of health issues or injury is high may not be a good idea.
Just because shops, hotels & businesses are reopening doesn't mean you can travel to these places. Although businesses are reopening, but the local authorities might have travel restrictions. You may have to check & ensure that the travel restrictions are lifted. It may be possible that markets, hotels are open but tourist attractions, forest areas, campsites are closed. Don't be that person who goes and Camp there anyways. Respect the locals and culture and nature.
4. Positive impacts on others:
A positive impact would mean going to a small beach town, village where travel restrictions are lifted and businesses are re-open. Still adhering mask and social distancing measures in place. Spending your money at local markets or restaurants to help the economy and support those locals. At the same time having a great time, enjoying the beach and other outdoor amenities that the village offers. Spending money in the community, abiding by the local rules and enjoying yourself are all positive impacts.
5. Where to Stay?
Think about, what is best for you? What is best for local economies? Either it's a Resort, Hotel, Home Stay or Campsite. Personally I would prefer locally owned safe stays. It will give me satisfaction that my money is going right into the local community. If you are looking to limit or reduce contact with people, then camping is the best option. You may buy the camping rentals from locals.
6. Safety First!
Carry face covers, masks and wear them whenever interacting with strangers. Keep your hands clean and sanitized. It is always better to follow safety measures and social distancing norms from the good will towards others. They don't know where we have been and where we have come in contact with.
8. Unethical Animal Entertainment
Most of the tourists’ demand or enjoy animal entertainment. Animal shows, photos with tiger/lion, elephant ride, dolphin shows, feeding birds or fish. You think this is cool??
Do you know that these animals are harshly trained, kept confined & treated poorly? You must be aware and informed so that you don't get tricked into supporting an unethical venture that is saying all the right but not doing so. At least don't support those shows where animals perform or give rides. This is the reason I never wish to visit Thailand, I would rather prefer enjoying the beaches and nature's beauty on those islands. As a tourist in Thailand you are contributing to these issues, whether you are aware or not. Many of my friends are guilty and have made mistakes.
Selfies with big cats? You think this is Brave? This is a big problem throughout southeast Asia & especially Thailand. In order to keep these cubs calm, various punishments and drugs are used. To avoid this, make sure the zoo you are planning to visit is AZA (Association of Zoos & Aquarium) accredited. These zoos follow strict guidelines to keep their animals happy and healthy. The tourist company or those attractions are lying and stealing your money. So better do research before you buy any ready made travel plans from those big companies.
I am not saying any type of travel or vacation is better than another. There is no only one right way to be a responsible traveller but the most sustainable way is to be conscious of many ethical travel options that we can choose. Together we can contribute in reducing the negative impact due to travel on environment. Which makes us more responsible traveller. Will you join us?
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Thank you for reading this, Hope this is helpful :)