Travelling to a new country is as much about exploring the must-see sights as it is about learning from that country’s customs and traditions while being respectful towards its people during your visit. Immersing yourself into the culture allows you to not only be a more conscious traveller, it also gives you the opportunity to truly experience the real life of the locals instead of the often fake, tourist bubble we sometimes end up in. Opt for unique experiences, make meaningful connections and steer clear from mass tourism.
To help you be a more conscious traveller on your next trip follow these tips:?
- Know the do’s and don’ts: Avoid offending locals or embarrassing yourself by doing something that might be completely normal and acceptable in your home country, but very rude in your next travel destination. Research what is acceptable and what isn’t in the country you are about to visit. As a conscious traveler, you want to understand the appropriate dress wear, food etiquette and all the different cultures in that country before you arrive.?
- Travel when the masses are home: Tourist hotspots such as Spain, Greece and Croatia should rightfully be on your bucket list, but not during the peak of summer. Go to these spots during spring, autumn or even winter when tourism is not at an all time high, which will help take some pressure off the country itself, while giving you the opportunity to explore all the beauty without the long queues.
- Don’t go for the obvious destinations: Instead of automatically opting for the famous travel spots, rather look into the less popular places – you’ll be surprised at the hidden gems you will find. In a bid to help prevent over–tourism, going to places in less developed countries that heavily rely on tourism, you will not only get to experience underexplored beautiful locations, you’re also helping locals. Places like Tanzania and Mozambique offer something for everyone, whether you’re in search of beautiful beaches or unforgettable safaris.?
- Look for special souvenirs: Forget the random fridge magnets, keyrings and mugs that are probably not even made locally and can be found on everyone’s souvenir shelf. Buy something meaningful that would give back to the community such as the Relate bracelets – a 100% not-for-profit social enterprise initiative that donates its revenue to worthy causes and social upliftment globally.
- Support local, always: Give back to the locals by dining out at uniquely local restaurants, buy their locally made art- and craft work and swap out fancy five star hotels for locally owned B&B’s.?