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TRAVELLERS' RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL POLICY

The purpose of volunteering is to make a positive contribution to the local community and environment – also to have a great experience! By travelling responsibly, you can minimise any negative impact and have a successful, fulfilling and inspiring experience which you’ll remember forever.

Since its' establishment in 1994, Travellers has worked closely with our projects to try to ensure that we provide volunteers and services who will have a positive impact on their communities. To this end, we select our projects carefully, working only with organisations who benefit from the help our volunteers can provide them and the resources that Travellers provides. But it doesn't stop there ... We also try to educate our volunteers on how to have maximum positive impact without inadvertently having a negative impact by their actions while they're in their host countries.

Download and read Travellers' Responsible Travel Policy.

Below are some tips for travelling responsibly which we hope you’ll take on board. Many are common sense and have as much to do with your safety as with respecting your environment:

Environmental Impact:

  • Travel light – not only is this easier but it will reduce harmful emissions on all forms of transport.
  • Look into the possibility of carbon neutralising your flight. Theree are websites where you can calculate the carbon emissions from your flight, and gives you their estimate of how much it would cost to offset the CO2 emissions.
  • Conserve and, where possible, minimise consumption of resources such as water, food and energy.
  • Do not leave litter. Take your rubbish home with you if it can’t be properly disposed of along your way.
  • Purify your water and re-fill a bottle rather than buying and throwing away a new one every day.
  • Use environmentally friendly toiletries and cleaning products (which might be washed down the drain into local people’s water supply).
  • If bathing or swimming, do this downstream from water collection points.
  • Use the toilet facilities available. If you are trekking or out in the bush, always bury or burn your waste and ensure that it is at least 100m away from trails and waterways.
  • Remember that you want to share the local community's goal of sustaining their natural surroundings, not disrupt or destroy it through ignorance.
  • In the wild, listen and respect your local guide at all times. They are there for your safety and can teach you a tremendous amount!
  • Stick to existing trails and keep an eye on your feet to keep erosion to a minimum (and of course to avoid getting lost!)
  • Do not touch any local flora, fauna and do not remove or purchase natural objects such as shells, rocks and corals.
  • Don’t buy wild animal products such as skins, bone or ivory. Similarly do not purchase wooden products which require the destruction of woodland to produce.
  • Never touch or approach wild animals beyond the recommended distance. Also do not use a flash which may startle when photographing the animals.
  • Be flexible, be professional and be responsible – and remember that all this will not stop you from having lots of fun!

Cultural Sensitivity:

  • Do some research before you leave: read through your Travellers up-to-date placement, project, country and safety books – the more you know about your country before you arrive, the quicker you’ll settle in and adapt to the local way of living.
  • Observe and respect local cultures, religions, traditions and norms. Use your common sense and educate yourself as to what’s considered polite and what is not – especially things like eating, saying hello and goodbye, etc.
  • Dress appropriately – take your cue from the locals and try not to stand out as a brash or disrespectful foreigner.
  • Don’t flash large amounts of money about. It's not only dangerous, it can also greatly upset those around you who are not as fortunate as you.
  • Try to learn a few words of the local language – even just ‘hello’ or ‘thank you’ will get you a long way and will gain you respect from the local people.
  • Ask permission before taking photos of local people or religious statues/buildings.
  • Buy locally made crafts and support local businesses and tradespeople where possible.
  • Learn if/when and how to bargain with vendors
  • Keep value of money (both yours and theirs!) in perspective. For example, over-tipping, or giving away money, may seem kind to you, but it can upset the local balance and have a tremendously negative effect on individuals in the community, and sometimes even on the entire community.
  • Find out from your Project Manager or local guide appropriate responses to begging in your area.
  • Relax and be open to a different pace of life!

We know that we are not perfect. If you can think of any ways in which we can improve our responsible travel then please get in touch and let us know - thank you :-)