Our responsible travel statement


Responsible tourism. It’s basically doing business well and travelling with a mind to how it affects the places we are going. To us it means that;

* We learn about and respect the customs and culture of the country we are visiting so that we do not offend local people
* We ensure that local people benefit economically from tourism by employing them as leaders and guides, eating out in local restaurants and using family-run hotels where possible
* We minimise our impact on the environment by travelling in small groups, offsetting our carbon emissions, reducing waste and supporting conservation projects

We’ve worked hard at these things to ensure we are welcomed in the places we all love to visit, meaning local people benefit and you get a better trip. It could be through some of our great community based tourism experiences, meeting local people or experiencing the pristine wilderness and leaving it untouched.

Just a few ideas:


Before you go

Language: hello, thank you & goodbye!
Know some lingo! Learning a few words of the local language is a great way to break barriers: greet shopkeepers, waiters, drivers, clerks, etc. It is equally important to say your 'thank yous' and 'goodbyes'.

Local Customs: another time, another place
Religious customs and local traditions vary enormously around the world and play a large part in the local way of life. It is important to familiarise yourself with the local people's dress codes and thought patterns, and recognise them; the local concept of time is also likely to be less hurried than your own. Remember - you are the visitor, and by showing respect you will be respected and appreciated yourself!

Keep your packaging down to a minimum and avoid disposable goods as these often can't be disposed of or recycled overseas. Eco-friendly soap gets our thumbs-up.

You may make special friendships and experience generous hospitality when abroad. Gifts that are evocative of your home country such as postcards and photographs make ideal presents - check your dossier for any specific tips about the area you are visiting; once on tour, your tour leader will also be able to advise you on the appropriate circumstances to give.

On tour

Water: pollution & usage
If it is necessary to wash in streams or rivers, do not use detergents or other chemicals. There are a number of eco-friendly soaps available for travellers. Remember, it may be someone's drinking water further downstream. Use water sparingly in dry countries. (For more on Drinking Water, see 'A good drink' below.)

Souvenirs & shopping
Avoid buying souvenirs that exploit wildlife or threaten endangered species. Buying local souvenirs helps the local economy; whilst it is often customary and even fun to haggle, stop once you have got a reasonable price: the low price you achieve may only be due to the desperation and poverty of others.

Did you know that it's illegal for travellers to bring all meat and meat products, and milk and dairy products, plus some fish and plant products into the UK from non-EU countries? This is because they could carry pests and diseases, such as Foot and Mouth or Colorado Beetle, which might harm British livestock and crops.

So before you bring back souvenirs from your trip, make sure you know the rules. You can find more information online at the defra website. If you are not able to check, or you're still not sure, there's only one way to be safe: don't pack it.

Avoid disturbing wildlife and damaging their natural habitats. Take care not to touch coral reefs and do not feed or touch animals or fish. Stay quiet when viewing animals on safari.

Plants & shells
One of the joys of travelling is the spectacular variety of wild plants and shells you will see. These should remain in their natural environment, so avoid picking any. It is also illegal to import some plant species.

Items from ancient civilisations may still be found or bought in countries such as Peru and Turkey. Although they may appear discarded or available to buy, leave them where you find them.

Transport: big, small, new or old?
Transport fuels the local economy and provides a livelihood for many. Sadly it also pollutes. Be sure, however, not to discriminate against those who can't afford some of the newer, energy-efficient technologies, yet may have a lower ecological impact than the wealthier competitor. Many of Thailand's humble tuk-tuks, for instance, are old but run on methane gas, which is relatively clean.

Don't give out sweets, pens or money, especially to children. Giving to children will only teach them that begging is rewarding and can undermine parental authority. It is far better to interact with children. Cat's cradle, frisbees or simply exchanging drawings or photos can be more fulfilling and fun for both you and the children. Donating to a worthwhile charity will ensure longer term benefits to a greater number of people.

To state the obvious, the world is full of it and you don't want to add to it yourself! Beyond that, however, it's up to you to decide how strongly you should feel about other people's litter: many walkers, for example, are happy to pick up litter along the trail. It's your call. Remember, however - many countries do not have adequate litter collection, never mind recycling or waste reduction schemes; so the less you create, the better.

A good drink
Where plastics are not recycled, you might consider taking a water bottle or filter and purifying your own water. Wiith this in mind, Explore Trader in association with Nomad Travel Store are offering an additional 5% discount on 6 selected products to encourage you to make the swap.

Photos: think before you click
People in colourful local dress always make good subjects for photographs, but think before you snap. Many people, for whatever reason, do not like being photographed. Always ask permission before taking photographs.



Copyright 2010 Travel Indochina - All rights reserved

Address: 6 Thach Cau street, Long Bien district, Hanoi, Vietnam.
+84 943 728 901