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Many of us love traveling, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone on the road is a responsible traveler. By responsible traveler, we mean someone who is respectful of the places they visit, immerses themselves fully in local culture, and is able to get from one place to the next without majorly impacting others.

As more and more people enjoy the traveling lifestyle and human impact on the environment is becoming terrifyingly clear, it is now more important than ever to travel consciously and respect the cultures and places we explore. Here’s how.

Village on tributary of Inle Lake - Trekking Kalaw to Inle Lake

How To Be a Responsible Traveler

Behave Appropriately in Certain Surroundings

Every country boasts an intriguing culture and plenty of unique traditions. If these take you to some treasured historical sites, behave in a way that doesn’t attract attention and disturb other visitors.

By reading the room and behaving accordingly, you are respecting your surroundings and giving other visitors the space to experience it too.

Travel Slowly With a Loose Agenda

Low and slow is always better when it comes to traveling. Not only is it better for the planet, but it also allows you to fully experience and explore a new culture and frees up time for spontaneity. This way, you will discover hidden pockets within a destination that are far away from the regular tourist traps.

Instead of spending two weeks traveling to three countries, try spending two weeks in a single region or place. You might even get involved in the local community which will make for an unforgettable experience.

Local ladies hiking between villages - Trekking Kalaw to Inle Lake

Travel With Your Carbon Footprint in Mind

Environmental responsibility is at the top of most travelers’ agendas. With many boycotting air travel and opting instead for local holidays or long-distance train rides, fewer and fewer travelers are jetting to far-flung continents for days at a time.

To become a responsible traveler, avoid short holidays that take you to the other side of the world. If you do end up far away, spend longer there and involve yourself in community projects that work to offset carbon and preserve the local habitat.

Whilst you’re there, opt for activities that have little to no impact on the environment. Why not enjoy the colder months with a ski holiday, lose yourself in the mountains with a multi-day hiking trip, or brush up on your surfing skills?

Snowy fields on the Harding Icefield trail

Shop Locally and Give Back to the Community

The best thing you can do as a traveler is to give back to the local community. Buy your fruit and veggies at the farmer’s markets, stay in locally-owned accommodations, visit independent craft and clothing stores, and remember to tip wherever possible. You’ll be their favorite visitor in no time!

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