Respect the environment

Take it easy, take your time! Travel less but for longer periods, it will be more fulfilling and restful as well.

Offset your carbon footprint by giving back to projects that contribute to the protection of the environment and to biodiversity conservation.

Anti-plastic attitude

Avoid using plastic bags or Styrofoam food boxes as their disposal is a major problem. Take your own bags with you when shopping – say ‘no to plastic’. Try buying in local markets instead, where packaging is reduced, the food is fresh and your purchase directly benefits the local producers.

Say ‘no to straws’ when ordering a drink. The excessive use of straws is becoming an issue. Count how many drinks a day you have with a straw used for only a few minutes, then thrown away. Calculate the figure over a year, multiply by the number of tourists and you can visualise a mountain range of waste growing. If a glass is not clean, using a straw does not make it any safer.

Avoid wrapping your luggage in kilometres of the plastic sheeting that is now commonly offered in airports; buy locks and carry precious items with you.

Waste is a waste

Avoid leaving any rubbish behind. Ideally, pick up any rubbish you see littering the forest, the sea or beach. Action speaks louder than words; you’ll notice that you encourage others to follow suit by spreading good practice instead of moralising. And you’ll feel so good!

Smokers, please don’t throw your cigarette butts in the sea, the rivers or even on the ground, just think, they end up in the stomachs of the fish you eat! Keep them with you until the next dustbin.

Drinking Water

Bottled water is easy to find, but unfortunately recycling facilities are not. You can reduce the number of plastic bottles you use by:

Simply refilling, you’ll find water fountains in many places, tap water in the UK is normally safe to drink.

Save energy and water

Turn off your engine when your vehicle is stationery.

For the best sightseeing experience walk or cycle. Choose a fuel-free or shared transport (next time in the taxi queue, don’t be shy to ask if anybody wants to share a taxi, cuts the queue and good for the environment) option like a public bus.

In you room, use air-conditioning sensibly.

Turn off taps and switches. Many hotels suggest you choose not to have your towels and bed linen changed daily.

Water is precious, help save it.

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Ethical Travel

When travelling through a developing country it is easy to become overwhelmed by the plight of some children, misery and social issues can be affecting and travellers may be moved to take action, or wish to contribute in a meaningful way. However, direct contributions often only add to the problem and reinforce practices that put children in vulnerable and dangerous situations.

Do not give gifts, money or sweets to children or buy anything from them – although you might think it helps, it only encourages them to stay on the streets where they have little hope of a better life and are vulnerable to all sorts of abuse. These children are usually exploited by local mafias or their own family.

Millions of children around the world are pushed onto the margins of their societies. These children have little access to education and forced to work, are separated from their families and as such are at risk op physical sexual and emotional abuse.

Consumer Behaviour

Support the local economy : buy locally made food and handicrafts directly from local crafts people and markets. Items in shopping areas where tourists are taken are often overpriced as the guides may get a commission on purchases.

Opt for Fair Trade goods where available.

Avoid purchasing products that exploit or destroy wildlife.

Don’t purchase historical artefacts.

Bargain within reason and with a smile!

With patience and a broad smile you will not only get a better price when you shop but also enjoy the art of negotiation. Some tourists take pride in paying the cheapest price they can, unaware that the seller might be accepting a sum below cost price because they desperately need the cash. Whatever you buy, be mindful that it is their livelihood.

Do not support the sex industry

This includes the various shows in hostess bars, street prostitution, etc. Aside from the fact that men and women are best not viewed as commodities you risk putting money into the hands of the mafia. What you may see as entertainment is not the full picture. No one is willing to work as a prostitute; those who do are trapped by human traffickers or do it to support their relatives.

Paedophilia is strictly forbidden. Violators will be pursued and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, ever after they return to their home countries.

Greetings

Take the time to learn how to say “hello”, “goodbye” and “thank you” in the local language. Your hosts are very friendly people and they highly appreciate it when foreigners take the effort to learn their language. In Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar a respectful way of greeting another individual is to bow the head slightly with hands pressed together at the chest, as if in payer. Be aware, these societies are still firmly rooted in a system of class and social hierarchy.

Keep calm, be patient

Travelling though developing counties can be unpredictable and frustrating at times, but losing your temper will not help. Whatever the situation, try to stay calm, firm and courteous and speak without raising your voice. Personal dignity is extremely important here. Becoming angry is considered a major weakness and local people will be embarrassed for you. If you do get into a stressful situation it is always better to ask for help than to finger blame.  “Saving face” is a subtle but important aspect of personal dignity. Criticism is not at easily accepted as it is in western countries and should only be made when also giving praise.

Try to understand the local culture

Keep in mind that every country has many different ethnic groups, each of which may have its own etiquette and taboos and listen to the advice of your guide; you may not understand the significance of everything you see and learn, but this mystery is part of the beauty of travel. Cultural diversity and exoticism is what you came looking for; accept it, enjoy it – don’t try to change it!

Do tell locals about your own culture – many may have a wrong idea about your country and its customs and most are just as curious as you are to learn about other cultures.

Connect with people before taking pictures

It is polite to always ask permission before taking photographs of people of filming them and, in the rare case they refuse, please respect their wishes. Refuse to pay for photographs as this encourages begging. Take some time to chat; your photo will become a shared memory, which you can send back to them.

Answer questions

Be prepared to answer, numerous times, questions like: ‘where are your from? where you are going? Are you married? How old are you? While you may find these questions disconcerting and too intimate, most people are just trying to be friendly, to practice their English skills or start up a conversation.

Respect Cultural Differences

Whether travelling within our own country and travelling worldwide, we recommend to learn what you can about the culture and customs of the country you plan to visit before you travel; the more you know about you destination the better you will appreciate and understand it. The important principle to remember when travelling, just as in everyday life, is RESPECT.

When faced with strong cultural differences the first thing to consider is whether you would act this way or tolerate such behaviour in your own home country. How would you feel, for example, if foreigners were stepping into your life, entering your house, taking photographs, behaving as if you were not there and acting in a way that conflict with your culture? What would you think if they were visiting your children’s school, taking photographs of them and handing out sweeties (candies)?

Please consider carefully what you are doing, avoid intruding into people’s lives, into their villages, their houses, their fields.

‘It is your holiday it is their everyday lives’