Travel is one of the only things you can spend all your money on, and be a richer person for it. The experiences you can have, things you can see, people you meet and lessons you learn stay with you for a lifetime. Who would you rather speak to at a party? The guy who drones on about his tough week at work, or that person who has just backpacked around Southeast Asia, driven a lap of Australia or sailed around Greek Islands? I know who I’d be speaking to that’s for sure!
Having all these amazing experiences are truly incredible, but there are some important things to remember along the way. Here are all the tips you’ll need to be a responsible traveller while on your epic journey 💪🏼
What is responsible travel? 🌏
Travelling responsibly is pretty simple when you break it down. It’s all about being respectful of where you are and doing what you can to protect the natural world around us. You want your kids to be able to see the same incredible sights and do all the amazing things you’ve done right? They can’t swim the same reef as you if it doesn’t exist anymore, can they?
Well, there are things every one of us can do to help, and here they are…
“Leave nothing but your footprints” 🦶🏽
The most important thing is to leave places in a better condition, or at least the same, as how you found them. If everyone did that then the world would be a much cleaner place for it. There are beach clean-ups you can be a part of, or simply pick something up when you see it! I recently came back to dry land with pockets full of plastic when scuba diving in Bali! 🤿
It’s not all doom and gloom though. You will see immaculate beaches, crystal clear oceans, luscious lagoons and beautiful rivers along your travels… we just want to keep them all that way 😃
If you can find a few hours 1 morning to get your travel buddies together and do a beach clean, why not right? A little can go a long way if we all work together 💪🏼
Say goodbye to single-use plastics 🥤
Waterbottles, shopping bags, food wrappers and all other types of product packaging. It fills the land and oceans and is bad news for everyone and everything. Buy reusable products instead like water bottles, they can actually save you money in the long run. We actually encourage our travellers to re-fill where possible!
All that plastic in the ocean gets broken down into tiny micro-particles which are now everywhere! It’s been reported that each person drinks up to 50 thousand tiny pieces of plastic every year through water supplies. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not add to that 🤮
Conserve electricity & water💧
These are both commodities that can often be scarce in some countries and especially on islands. It gives me throwbacks to my dad walking around the house shouting “It’s like Blackpool illuminations around here!” as he frantically turned off the lights all us kids had left on. Open the curtains in the morning for natural sunlight, and don’t stand under the shower for 15 minutes when you can have a quick responsible 5-minute rinse.
Head on over to our friends at @BambuuBrush to stock up on sustainable travel accessories 👍🏼
Support local communities 💚
Shops, bars, restaurants and cafes all need people, and a lot of popular tourist destinations quite literally depend on travellers. McDonalds has enough customers worldwide, so hit up a local street food vendor instead. You’ll no doubt get fresher & taster food while making a huge difference to a small family’s life.
Go veggie… even just sometimes 🌱
I’ve never been one for radical life changes overnight because I don’t think they ever have any stamina, and always end up teetering out. It’s that reason why I don’t say to change your diet too quickly… but maybe start by eating one single meal a week that’s vegetarian, and go from there. It’s literally that easy and you’ll be surprised how good you feel both physically and mentally 🙌🏼
India and Sri Lanka are known for their mouthwatering vegetarian dishes. Thailand and Vietnam are also incredible places where a single cooking class can have you preparing all kinds of amazing vegetarian alternative meals 🤤
Protect your skin as well as the reefs 🧴
Think back to all those packed-out beaches and bustling lakes you’ve visited in the past, which will have been full of people wearing sunscreen. What do you think happens to all that cream and oil when they take a refreshing dip? It doesn’t just dissolve, and it does a lot of harm to the beautiful coral reefs around the world.
It’s incredibly important to look after your skin, but did you know you can also do it while helping to conserve the oceans too? More brands are offering reef-safe sunscreen, so do a little research and see if you can help save our beautiful coral 🐠
If your usual sunscreen brand doesn’t turn out to be reef-safe then maybe look at spending a little more on one that is…It’s a small price to pay for cleaner oceans! 🐳 🐙
Learning a little goes a long way 💬
Whether it’s language, history or culture it’s always appreciated by the locals when you try and learn what you can about their home. It’s amazing how appreciative people are when you respond with a simple hello, please and thank you in their native tongue. Not only is it polite, but you will return home having experienced a much richer and more meaningful trip.
Just try it yourself! If you’re ever in Vietnam then greet someone with “Xin Chao” (hello) and see their face light right up! 😃
Respect local customs 🙏🏻
While everyone won’t agree with all the local customs, it is important to remember that the native people have grown up with these traditions and laws their entire lives. If you disagree drastically with something then maybe it’s time to think about scratching it off the travel list… the world’s a big place! For everything else, I say just go along with it.
Local customs are what have brought us carnival in Brazil, the day of the dead in Mexico and the spectacular lantern festival in Thailand. We certainly wouldn’t want to hinder any of that now, would we?! If some things don’t sit well with you then look at how you can avoid running into that issue… you can’t always expect the locals to make an exception for you.
Wearing the right clothes at the right times 👖👚
That leads perfectly to the next point, which is to wear appropriate clothing in the appropriate setting. When travelling South East Asia you will likely be visiting plenty of temples. Always remember to cover those shoulders and knees if you want to go inside!
Research your tours 💻
Animal sanctuaries and guided jungle tours are just some examples of awesome experiences that I would always recommend… but it’s important to check out the tour company first. The last thing you want is to wind up on a tour and see the amazing creatures you’ve dreamed about being treated poorly.
Would you want to hang out with people back home if they were forced to spend time with you? Probably not, so why should it be any different when going to see wonderful amazing animals instead?
Chilling with a well looked after elephant at a sanctuary is a really amazing experience… and a sure fire way to make a new best friend for life!
If in doubt… just don’t be a d*ck 🙈
It’s blunt but hits the nail right on the head! If you’re a fun, respectful traveller then even messing up here and there won’t be a problem. Mistakes happen and it gives you a great opportunity to learn more about the local culture and why they do the things they do. I guarantee there will be a friendly local around who can help advise if you come unstuck… just don’t make a habit of repeating the same mistakes over and over.
“Feel Free” to jump in with us 😄
The best way to ensure you have a fun, enjoyable and respectful travel experience is to go with people who know all the local customs. We know the best tours, fantastic locals, where to eat and what to see. Jump on board with us and you can’t go wrong.
Whether you’re looking to travel solo or bring a friend along for the ride, our group tours in both Australia & South East Asia are the perfect balance of culture, adventure & party nights out. You’ll arrive as strangers and leave as the best of friends. There really s no better way to travel than with Feel Free Travel 🤙🏻