When travelling to a foreign country, it can be difficult to know what to say or how to act without offending someone while abroad. Different cultures and backgrounds can cause people to do things that come across badly because they aren’t familiar with the foreign customs and traditions. While it is understandable for travellers to be unfamiliar with some of the cultural ways of the locals, it is extremely important to be mindful of this while you are travelling.
Luckily for us, there are a number of ways we can travel without being disrespectful towards locals. Here are six easy steps to up your conscious traveller game the next time you plan a trip.
Do a background check on the country you’re planning to travel to
These days, travelling to a new country is more than just booking reservations at fancy hotels and relaxing at the pool with a few refreshments. As a conscious traveller, the first thing you need to do is a thorough background check on the destination before embarking on the journey. So, checking things like dress wear, food etiquette and all the different cultures in that country could make a big difference. The last thing you want to do is be disrespectful towards the locals because you’re not familiar with the way they do things.
Travel during the off season
Spain, Greece and Croatia are all wonderful places to visit and are known for their beautiful scenery. However, these are a few of the countries that were struggling to cope with the influx of tourists before the COVID-19 pandemic. So, if you’re planning a trip to one of the popular tourist destinations, it might be a good idea to visit during the off season. By doing this, you’ll be able to avoid long queues and you’ll get dibs on all the tourist attractions without being distracted.
Explore the lesser known tourist destinations
Another way that you could do your bit to prevent overtourism is by planning your trips to less popular destinations. There are many places, particularly in less developed countries, that rely heavily on tourism for people to make a living. So, by encouraging your friends and family to visit some of these destinations, you’ll not only get to see these underexplored beautiful places, but you’ll also be helping out the locals massively. Travelling within the African continent is also something that isn’t done enough. For instance, places like Tanzania and Mozambique offer something for everyone, whether you’re in search of beautiful beaches or unforgettable safaris.
Don’t just get any random souvenirs
When buying souvenirs, try and avoid the basic fridge magnets, keyrings and mugs that everyone goes for. Instead, buy something meaningful that would give back to the community. You can do exactly that by purchasing Relate bracelets for yourself and for all your friends to wear. Relate Bracelets is a 100% not-for-profit social enterprise that donates its revenue to worthy causes and social upliftment initiatives globally. So, whenever you buy and wear these bracelets, you can rest assured that your contribution will reach the causes and the people for whom it was meant and, ultimately, change lives.
Keep it local
One of the best ways to make a positive impact on the lives of those staying in less developed countries is by supporting their local businesses. For example, you could support them by purchasing food from their restaurants, using their transport services and even buying some of their locally made art- and craft work. You could also look at swapping all the fancy five star hotels for locally owned accommodation.
Keep COVID-19 in mind
Now that travelling is allowed again for tourism, you have to bear in mind that some countries are still battling with COVID-19. Therefore, it would be best to take extra precautions before heading out. Check the latest news regarding the country and stick to the safety measures at all times! By following the tips mentioned above, you’ll not only become a conscious traveller, but you will also be respectful towards the environment and the locals who live there.