With well over 1.2 billion international travellers, making travel sustainable is more important than ever.
Learn how you can do your part.
Although we want you to consider the environment, the last thing we want to do is to subject you to endless rules and regulations. Therefore we try very hard to maintain the balance between your enjoyment of our trips and continued conservation and respect for the local environment. Our travellers guidelines are not meant as rigid instructions but rather as suggestions to make your holiday more enjoyable – for everybody.
• HAGGLING – While it is customary and fun to haggle, remember that the stallholder / shopkeeper has to make a living. Be firm but always polite, don’t offer a price that you are not willing to pay and once you have agreed a price – stick to it.
• LOCAL PRODUCE – Try to buy local produce, clothing and souvenirs etc.
• SOUVENIRS & ARTIFACTS –Use common sense when buying souvenirs. Many animals, plants and animal products are protected but non-restricted goods can also cause damage. Leave things such as shells and coral where they are.
• WATER – Use sparingly. Consider bringing your own water bottle & purification drops. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. A large proportion ends up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments.
• ENERGY – Turn down or off heating or air-con when it’s not really necessary. Switch off lights when you leave a room.
• BATTERIES – Consider using rechargeable batteries and dispose of empty ones at home.
• GENERAL – Use guidebooks to familiarise yourself with the culture, language and customs of your destination.
• BEGGING – Try to avoid giving out money, sweets and pens to children as it encourages them to beg – it is far better to interact with games or drawings etc.
Of course giving money to a person in real need is always an option. Perhaps avoid giving to people who aggressively target travellers but instead give to those who quietly sit on a street corner, or to organizations who look after the poor.
• PHOTOGRAPHS – Always ask permission and respect the person’s decision.
• DRESS – Respect dress codes in public areas and especially at religious sites where it may be customary to cover your head or remove your shoes. In some of our destinations it is advisable to wear clothes that cover shoulders and knees.
• RELIGION – Some religions and customs may seem strange, complicated and at times unfathomable but to local people they are important so be respectful.
• ANIMAL CRUELTY – You might see examples of animal cruelty, for example snake charmers. Please do not take photos of this as it encourages the activity. Avoid riding elephants. When dog-sledding or hiring pack animals, please ensure you travel with an operator who treats their animals well.
• CARBON OFFSETS – Air travel is a major contributor to climate change. By investing in offsets you contribute to energy efficiency programmes around the globe. This ensures that the same amount of carbon your flights produce is prevented from entering the atmosphere in the first place. You can purchase offsets here or join our One Percent for Our Future Challenge.
• GETTING AROUND – Avoid taxis when you can. Walk or take public transport instead.
• LITTER – use bins or take it with you.
• WATER – If you must wash in streams, avoid detergents and chemicals and use biodegradable soaps. The water you are using may be someone else’s drinking water.
• TOILETS – If there are no toilets available, make sure you are at least 30 metres away from water sources, bury waste in the dark organic layer of the soil and take any toilet tissue with you in a ziplock bag. Dispose of it in an appropriate place like a campfire.
• HIKES – stay on the trail and avoid taking shortcuts as these lead to erosion. Rubber tips on trekking poles are recommended or even required to protect sensitive trails, ecosystems, and historic areas.
• WILDLIFE & NATURE – Avoid disturbing wildlife and stay the distance. Try not to disturb their habitat.Take care not to touch coral reefs and do not feed animals or fish. Admire flowers but please don’t pick them.
• SUNSCREEN – Sunscreens can harm the environment, especially coral reefs. Look for products without any form of microplastic sphere or beads, any nanoparticles or stuff like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, oxybenzone, octinoxate, 4-methylbenzylidene camphor, octocrylene, para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), parabens and triclosan. Mountain Equipment Coop has lots of nature-friendly sunscreens.
A word about plastic
Too much plastic gets thrown away and ends up in the world's oceans. Use refillable bottles, resist throw-away toiletries in hotels (and let the hoteliers know), refuse to use straws, avoid using wet-wipes, or, if you must, use fully-recyclable ones. Don't accept plastic shopping bags and where possible, recycle all plastic packaging.
On your return
Share all the great things you learned about your destination and responsible travel with your family, friends and colleagues. Suggest improvements where needed. Be an ambassador for responsible travel!