What can you do?
More and more people are travelling and increasingly the impacts of tourism are felt locally. Sometimes positive and sometimes negative! We are trying to reduce the negative effects as much as possible but what you could do yourself? We have the following tips, designed to help you get more out of your trip.
What more can you do to reduce CO2 emissions?
- Obviously, travelling less often will help but if you do choose a trip to a faraway destination, go for as long as possible. Then the local people will benefit too!
- You can of course consider choosing to holiday closer to home.
- Stay in accommodations that work in a sustainable way. These hotels often use less energy and water. We do our best to select these wherever possible.
- Be aware that more stars means more energy consuming facilities such as saunas and pools, which is ultimately more harmful to the environment.
1) You are the stranger here!
Contact with the local population will be more rewarding if you are already aware of the local customs of the country concerned. Always remember that you are there as a guest in a country where one simply has different manners. This is not abnormal; it is you that will be acting differently!
Travellers are expected to behave appropriately and dress in the correct way. Taking these things into account shows respect by the fact that you are aware of what country you are traveling in. You don’t have to learn the entire language but a smattering of important words and some knowledge about history, politics and culture will make contact with locals easier and go more smoothly.
2) Money matters
- Realise that wages in most countries in which you travel are extremely low and are often not enough to make ends meet. Therefore people will often expect a tip.
- If you are going to negotiate in a market or in a shop (which in many countries is expected of you and forms part of the culture) then determine in advance what you want to pay and make sure you are satisfied when you part.
- When shopping and eating out you can best do so with local owners: thus helping out the local population.
- Think twice when buying souvenirs. The purchase of some souvenirs is a major threat to protected species and/or results in much animal suffering.
Don’t give out pens, sweets etc., otherwise the children will think that begging pays off. If you want to give, donate to one of our projects or to another trusted project where the community benefits. Do not give individual gifts, in a school for example. Instead, give everything to the school so that they can distribute the items fairly. Buy these items locally, instead of taking them with you from your home country! This way the money stays in the destination you visit. You can also bring old clothes and leave them with a school, for example.
4) Shoot pictures, but with thought!
The countries you visit are often photogenic, not only because of the nature but also because of the people. Here are a few tips on how to go about taking pictures in the right way:
- Permission should always be asked if you wish to photograph someone. A positive or a defensive reaction is usually easily recognized.
- When photographing people, you need to do it with respect. Take the time to take a picture and show interest by first greeting and chatting to the person/people involved.
- People are often more at ease if you show them the photo on the digital screen of your camera.
- Respect peoples wishes if they do not want to be photographed and remain friendly to them.
- It may also happen that people only allow a photo for a fee. Respect this condition and do not commence secretly photographing them from a distance to avoid this.
5) Use your water bottle more than once!
Use a refillable water bottle on your travels. This saves purchasing vast numbers of plastic bottles and thus the amount of waste produced on the go. Together with the tour leader, make sure that a larger water tank enabling you to refill your bottle is available on the bus.
6) Think of the light!
Our hotels are increasingly taking steps to reduce energy and water consumption. With a few simple steps you can also contribute:
- Remember to turn off the light, the television/radio and air conditioning (in warm climates) when you leave the room. These are the biggest energy consumers of any hotel.
- Do not use excessive water: in many of the countries in which we stay, water is scarce. Therefore, don’t shower too long and don’t let the tap run while brushing your teeth.
- Don’t always set the air conditioning to the highest setting.
- Electricity is also scarce and it may well fail in some places so bring your torch!
- Sometimes you will be asked to hang your towels out so they do not need to be replaced every day.
We travel and stay in areas where the wild is the "boss". You can also contribute toward the conservation of fragile ecosystems as well as to the safety of yourself and others.
- If you stand up in a truck/jeep, do it gently as there may be wildlife in the vicinity. They can scare easily at an unexpected movement.
- The driver will always give priority to wildlife and minimize the chase
- The driver will always maintain sufficient distance between the vehicle and the wildlife
- It is forbidden to feed the animals
- Do not litter. This includes fruit peels or any other food
- In most game parks water is available at the campsites. However, always keep in mind that this water is very scarce. Don’t take extensive showers during the safaris. Far better postpone this until you are back in the civilised world.
8) Excursions at sea
Fortunately, more and more providers of snorkelling and diving excursions are aware of how to respect the delicate marine environments and local guides are often well trained. If this is not the case, please don’t feel inhibited to speak out!
- If you go snorkelling or diving, do not touch the fragile coral. They die quickly when touched.
- Never take a piece of coral as a souvenir either!
- It is a good idea to wear a t-shirt while snorkelling. Not only do you burn a lot less, you also prevent the destruction of the coral through the UV filters in sunscreens.
- Swimming with dolphins in captivity is not recommended by definition.
9) Take your rubbish with you!
Litter is a major problem in popular hiking areas. This creates pollution because many countries do not have the resources to regularly clean the paths. Leave nothing behind and take any litter to a place where you can dispose of it properly. Even organic materials like apple cores and banana peels often takes years to decompose! Save your used batteries. Take them back home and discard them there.
10) Stay within the "Beaten Track"
In order to conserve flora and fauna: walking or cycling should be kept to the marked trails. As long as you remain on the path your influence on nature is small. The paths are there to be used as such! Once you go off the paths the footprint you leave behind suddenly becomes a lot bigger!
In addition, avoid the use of jet skis, quad and dirt bikes. These vehicles emit large amounts of harmful emissions and disturb nature by their noise.
If you find yourself in a city, opt for a tour on foot or by bike. Much nicer than a bus!