responsible travel

Many people take the time to plan a perfect trip. You research where to stay, what sites to visit, and what adventures to book. But have you ever thought of researching how you can prepare yourself for your trip beyond the logistics of travel? In this list, we discuss the top do’s and don’ts of responsible travel that will help you have a safe and respectful trip.

DO Protect Yourself

We all hope for a perfect trip that is problem-free. However, it would be irresponsible to ignore the fact that things can go wrong and you should be prepared for them when they do. Some standard safety tips include:

  • Share your itinerary with someone from home including your accommodations, intended travel route, and travel days. 
  • Avoid carrying all your cash with you at all times. Instead, when you leave your hotel room, stash some cash in a hidden area. If you’re robbed, you will still have some cash to get you by. 
  • Keep a photocopy of your passport in your suitcase. 
  • Get health insurance for your travel and understand the regulations around using it. Many policies require that you inform them of a hospital or medical visit within a certain time frame for your claim to be eligible. For example, you may need to alert the insurance company of a hospital visit in the first 24 hours of checking in. 
Responsible travel means keeping your passport safe

DO Your Research

If you’re traveling abroad, it’s apparent that things will be quite different from home. Responsible travel starts with preparation. It’s essential to do some research about the country you’re visiting. Some things you’ll want to research are:

  • If you need to bring any medications with you. For example, “Bali belly” is a common affliction for tourists traveling in Bali. You can bring medications such as Immodium with you to help lessen the side effects of whatever condition is common in the country you’re visiting. 
  • It’s also crucial to do your research into any vaccinations you may need when you travel. In some cases, such as with yellow fever, you sometimes have to prove your vaccination to enter the country. 
  • You should understand if you can or can’t drink tap water in the region you’re visiting. If tap water isn’t safe, be prepared to have cash on hand to purchase bottled water or bring water purification tablets.

DO Educate Yourself

When you visit somewhere, the last thing you want to do is insult people. By taking the time to educate yourself on local customs, you can avoid embarrassing faux pas that may potentially offend the people around you. Some responsible travel tips include:

  • Learning if there are any rules about dress, especially for how much women should cover themselves. 
  • Understanding if showing signs of PDA is considered inappropriate
  • Learning about unique practices, such as not spitting in Japan or showing avoiding showing the bottom of your feet in Vietnam. 
Responsible travel starts with research

DO Eat the Local Food

One of the best parts of travel is the food. When you’re traveling to a new area, make sure you take the time to eat the local food. It can be tempting to pop into something familiar, like a Starbucks, for your morning coffee but opt for a local cafe instead. This ensures you support local small businesses and gives you a more authentic travel experience.

Paella cooking in a big pan

DON’T Count On Free Wi-fi

You’re probably very reliant on your Google Maps to get around. If you’re assuming that you’ll be able to find a free wi-fi connection everywhere you go, think again. While many countries have free wi-fi, this isn’t always going to be the case for where you’re going. You might find yourself having to make a purchase at a store to get the wifi password, which can add up quickly. Do your research and consider an international data plan if wi-fi will be a challenge. Or, just bring a map!

Free WiFi sign in Bali

DON’T Assume People Speak English Everywhere

If you’re traveling abroad, you shouldn’t assume that you will find people that speak English everywhere. In fact, as you travel outside of cities to more remote towns and villages, you can usually expect there to be a higher chance of a language-barrier. Look into whether people speak English in the area you’re going to and, just to be safe, learn a couple of important phrases.

DON’T Nap On Transit

At some point during your trip, you might be jet-lagged and want to take a quick nap. This may feel like a good idea, but you should consider your environment first. If you have a friend to watch your things while you nap, that is perfectly fine. Otherwise, napping in high-traffic areas such as a train, bus, or airport lounge may leave you vulnerable to pickpockets.

napping in public

DON’T Stick to the Tourist Spots

When you think about your home city, you can probably picture the area considered a “tourist trap.” Tourist traps are typically close to transit hubs and rely on tourists who don’t know local prices. These tourist traps are extremely expensive, usually not authentic and are packed with other tourists. Do your research beforehand and make sure to visit the authentic neighborhoods where locals go to shop and eat.

Woman at Public Market Center, Seattle

Now you have everything you need to go on a great adventure full of responsible travel.