Tips for Responsible Travelers, courtesy of www.responsibletravel.com:
* Read up on the countries you plan to visit – the welcome will be warmer if you take an interest and speak even a few words of the local language
* Think small when booking a holiday – for example bed and breakfasts, village houses and locally owned accommodation benefit local families
* Travel like Ghandi – with simple clothes, open eyes and an uncluttered mind (Rick Stevens)
* Ask to see your tour operator’s responsible travel policy
* Help the local economy of developing countries by buying local produce in preference to imported goods
* If bargaining to buy an item, bear in mind that a small amount to you could be extremely important to the seller.
* Use public transport, hire a bike or walk where convenient – you’ll meet local people and get to know the place.
* Use water sparingly – it is precious in many countries and the local people may not have sufficient clean water.
* Find out where the locals go when they have time off. Visit the main sites but get off the tourist trail too.
* Don’t discard litter, take it home with you. Waste disposal is a major expense in poorer countries.
* Respect for local cultures, traditions and holy places earns you respect. For example, ask permission before you photograph local people – in some countries it can cause offense.
* Do not buy products made from endangered species, hard woods, shells from beach traders, or ancient artifacts (which have probably been stolen).
* Pack small gifts from home as gifts for your hosts – ask your tour operator to ask the local community what would be of most use to them.
* When you get home drop your tour operator a note to let them know how you felt about your trip.
* Acquaint yourself with local customs. What is courteous in one country may be quite the reverse in another—people will be happy to help you.
* Do not make promises to people in your host country unless you can carry them through.