If we wish to sustain the world's wild places, traditions and natural beauty, we must all act responsibly when travelling at home or abroad. Tourism is a very important source of income for the areas we visit but we must take steps to ensure this does not come at a high price to the communities we visit.
Guide to being a Responsible Tourist
Before you travel:
- Save paper, KE are able to send all correspondence by email, so if you have Internet access, use our paper-free booking service. View your correspondence on screen to avoid printing at home.
- Learn about the country you are going to, there is a wealth of information on the Internet and in travel guidebooks. Learning about the culture and customs of a country is very important - it can even affect which clothes you pack.
- Learn a few words of the local language
- If you are able, travel to the airport by public transport; it will also save on fuel and car parking.
- Lighten your luggage; weight restrictions on flights are due to the additional fuel used to carry heavier bags, so lightening your luggage reduces your carbon footprint.
On your trip:
- Respect local customs religion and traditions. Adhere to dress codes; in many countries it is etiquette to cover bare skin and remove footwear when entering sacred buildings.
- Don't give out sweets, pens or money, especially to children, as it encourages begging. It is far better to offer useful donations (Pens, paper, equipment etc) directly to schools or community projects.
- Avoid buying bottled water if you have been provided with a safe alternative.
- Buy local products, avoid imported / branded food.
- Keep erosion to a minimum, keep to footpaths and avoid stepping on native flora.
- Minimise pollution, and carry out all litter
- Use water sparingly; in many countries water is a precious and expensive commodity.
- If you fancy swimming in rivers, consider that the river water could also be drinking water, do not contaminate water supplies by washing in it. Any washing products should be phosphate free.
- Buy locally produced souvenirs; your money will then go directly to the craftsperson, and directly benefit the community.
- Make sure your souvenirs are sustainable; some countries still sell ancient artefacts and products made from endangered species and hardwoods
- Try and give something back. Whether it is a pair of old walking boots you give a porter, a donation to charity or offsetting your carbon, every generous gift can help preserve the natural wonder that is our world.