Tourists can practice responsible travel by learning about the local culture, purchasing lodging and food locally, and refusing to buy items made from endangered creatures. If a traveler is visiting a foreign country, the locals may dress differently and find the traveler’s wardrobe offensive. In this case, 10 minutes of research can save travelers from embarrassment or an outright shunning. Also, buying an overnight stay at a hotel or food for the day can be done locally to provide the maximum benefit to the local economy. In addition, travelers can help the local government and endangered animals by refusing to purchase products made from heavily poached animals.
To avoid offending locals, travelers can research respectable ways to dress and communicate before arriving at the destination. For many people, especially people who have never traveled outside their own country, there can be a significant amount of culture shock. Suddenly, the traveler dresses oddly and receives glances of worry or disapproval because he or she is doing things no local would ever do. These things can be avoided with minimum research on responsible travel to the specific country, and locals may even respect the traveler a bit more for taking the time to learn their ways.
Responsible travel also means protecting the community from threats not always easy to identify. As a foreigner, a traveler might be tempted to eat at large but familiar restaurant chains and stay at luxury hotels. While these actions benefit the local community some, travelers can do more. The best way to practice responsible travel is to stay at locally owned hotels and eat where most locals eat. Not only does this put more money into their pockets, but the traveler experiences the place in a more genuine way.
Learning about what types of items are widely available but illegal to have can be useful. In some regions of the world, people hunt and kill certain animals to the point of their extinction, but the government does not actively enforce laws against it or is overwhelmed by the amount of poachers. Locals make sunglasses, rugs, and other souvenir items out of the animal’s body parts and sell the items to tourists. In many cases, tourists do not know these items come from endangered animals and might not be allowed through airport security with them. To practice responsible travel, travelers should learn what kind of items might be hawked to them that should be rejected.