Travelling could be the love of your life- but like all other relationships, this one too comes with its own set of responsibilities. We’ve seen certain people acting out of hand in certain places and wished we could give them a piece of our minds, right? Well, here are some tips on how not to be such people when travelling.
Know the customs beforehand
Knowing the customs and traditions of a place before you visit them is a must. Recall the phrase, “When in Rome, do as Romans do”? That’s what we’re stressing here. You don’t want to be at the receiving end of nasty looks and assaults from the locals because you disrespected their customs or traditions. Paying a hefty fine, getting arrested and spending the night in a nice prison cell does not sound so nice either. Countries that require you to wear a headscarf, temples that forbid you from wearing revealing or short clothes, churches that forbid photography inside, the list is endless. You’re a visitor here, so respect the place! Read up on the internet or ask someone who has already been to the place.
Do. Not. Litter!
You’ll be having plenty of drinks and snacks while walking in the street, trekking in the jungle, road tripping in the middle of nowhere or strolling on the beach. The litter you throw around won’t just land the environment and its natural habitants in trouble, it will land you in trouble too. Well, it should! There’ll be plenty of public waste bins around, and even if you can’t find one at the moment, hold on to your trash. Keep it in a separate bag and wait until you get to a waste bin. Some ways you can reduce the amount of litter is to pack reusable bags, use a reusable water bottle and water filter, use natural and plastic free products, use reusable containers and cutlery (especially when on a road trip.)
Buy local items
Skipping those glamorous boutiques and five star restaurants and shopping at smaller, local or street stores will create a world of difference to the locals. In so many countries, the locals, including children, sell their wares on the streets, sitting or standing in the blistering heat and numbing cold. Things sold by the locals will be mostly beautiful, handmade crafts at a much lesser cost. And street food beats the restaurant dishes any time!
Ask permission before you photograph
Wherever you go, there’ll be beautiful women in gorgeous local dresses, cute children who grin at you and families living in their intricately painted homes. You’ll be tempted to document all these, but ask beforehand if it’s okay to do so. Some countries or religions forbid women from showing their faces to anyone outsider their family, and you going up close so as to get a picture will definitely not land you in a pretty picture. Even if the customs allow so, the women may be shy or modest or simply unwilling to pose for your camera. Respect them! In some countries, photographing children by tourists is frowned upon because it might increase the risk of them being trafficked. Imagine if you have a kid and you find their picture in an unknown internet site. Creepy, isn’t it? That’s the point!
Hotels and Home-stays
Try to go for homestays or hostels rather than glittery hotels. You’re not only helping the locals who run them, but they’re a lot cheaper too. Most locals go to bed and rise at certain timings. If you’re staying at a place that has rules regarding the time, then follow them. Yes, you are a tourist and that’s exactly why you have to follow the rules! If you’re going to be late or out all night, inform them. Don’t deface property or create a nuisance of yourself by talking or laughing loudly and drinking till you can’t even recognize the back of your own hand. You’ll create a bad name for yourself, your country or end up getting kicked out. Leave the place as clean as you can and thank the owners when you leave.
Combat over tourism
Yep, there’s such a thing as over tourism! It’s when tourist spots become overcrowded and over run by tourists. It has a lot of adverse effects. Litter piling up in the place. Tourists not respecting the locals, customs or tradition. Wildlife, flora and fauna damaged or effected. Local tenants pushed out their stays to make way for tourists. Streets becoming packed with tourists and their vehicles. Fragile environments damaged due to overcrowding. Phew, quite a list! Here’s what you can do. Travel when it’s off season- this way you won’t be jostling and elbowing the crowds to get somewhere. Travel in lesser numbers. Other helpful tips include the ones mentioned above- not littering, buy local items, and stay at local places.