Travelling is more accessible than ever, which is great for people eager to see the world and local economies alike. However, mass tourism, while undoubtedly popular, often isn’t great for the earth, or for locals who live in popular tourist destinations. Try the following easy tips to make a difference next time you’re travelling:

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Appreciate nature and the environment

If you visit a natural attraction, don’t take anything as a souvenir unless it’s explicitly allowed, and always bring your rubbish back with you, even if this means having to carry it for half a day. Additionally, look for ways to support local eco-friendly businesses. If you do your research in advance, this should be easy to do: there are plenty of eco-conscious hotels and hostels all over the world, and even more eco-conscious restaurants and cafés.

Be kind to others

Unfortunately, many visitors to foreign countries are quick to act as if others should adapt to their own culture, rather than the other way around, and equally as quick to regard locals as exotic specimens rather than regular human beings. When you’re travelling, always treat others with respect, and don’t dismiss other cultures entirely just because they may not share the same views or opinions as you.

Community starts at home: if you’re not planning on travelling shortly, you can still be kind to others in your own environment. Why not join a volunteer group or partake in local community work, and work your way up to volunteering abroad?

If you do decide to take a volunteer opportunity, make sure you do plenty of research and commit to an agency with a proven track record of helping others.

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Live in the moment

Living in the moment is key to making a difference while you’re travelling. Be open to opportunities as they arise. If someone asks you for help, for example, don’t hesitate to offer it. In fact, go one step further and try doing random acts of kindness! It goes without saying that it’s important to be careful and aware of your surroundings, but living in the moment will, on the whole, ensure that you have incredible, genuine experiences while you’re travelling – and it’ll help you connect to others and make a difference in their lives, too.

Develop good travel habits

If you develop good travel habits, your trip will be sure to be a success. These habits might include learning a few words in the local language of every country you visit – you’ll be able to connect with locals much easier than if you expect them to speak your language. To do so, you will need a proper internet connection or provider for more convenient research and exploration. You might also like to act as a representative of your country wherever you go; giving others a good impression of your country’s citizens will offset the tourists who behave poorly when they’re abroad, which unfortunately is likely to be a decent proportion of them.

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Live like you do at home

When visiting another country, it’s all too easy to give in to convenience and forget about the impact your actions may have on others or on the earth. Make an effort to keep up with the regular actions you complete at home; this may be recycling, limiting your consumption of plastic, or simply being considerate of the environment you’re in.

Making a difference when you’re travelling doesn’t need to be difficult – all it requires is awareness and a desire to do good. On your next trip, consider what you have to offer to others rather than thinking only about your own enjoyment, and you’ll be sure to come home with memories to last a lifetime.


Author’s bio:

New Zealand-based freelancer Cloe has had an insatiable curiosity since she was a child, with a love for facts and exploring new things that now fuels her writing and travelling passions. Eager to share her ideas and experiences; Cloe enjoys researching all kinds of topics and has written for local sites and businesses such as Sea Containers. Read more of her work here.