Responsible travel tips
Signature Vacations recognizes how important it is to practice Responsible Travel while on holidays. We have put together an easy, fun and exciting list of helpful tips and hints. While each one of these items might seem small on its own, put together and multiplied by thousands of Canadians practicing them, they can make a big difference!
Before you travel
1.Explore several options for getting to the airport on the day of your trip. If there are multiple people travelling in your group you can carpool or look at public transit such as subways, buses or an airport service that picks up multiple passengers.
2.When you pack try to leave as much excess waste as you can at home. This will help to eliminate the amount of waste your hotel has to handle. Take personal care items from home in reusable containers, instead of buying and disposing of travel sized items.
3.While sunscreen is a staple item of any tropical vacation the oils used to produce these products wash off and cause fatal damage to marine life. Many skincare companies now offer biodegradable sun products that break down naturally in the environment and have minimal after effects. Look for biodegradable and eco-friendly brands at your local drugstore.
4.While preparing for your vacation look at ways you can be 'green' around the house while you are gone. If you receive a daily newspaper, call and ask delivery to be stopped while you are away. Or ask a neighbour if they would like to have your paper for the week you are gone.
While you are away
5.Be careful not to fall into the 'my eyes were bigger than my stomach' trap when visiting the buffet restaurants. With so many scrumptious options available, it is easy to become overwhelmed and end up with an overstuffed plate. It is better to start small and make return trips, this way you are not wasting food.
6.Think before you give. It can be easy to hand out spare change or small tokens to children in markets or on the street, but this is not always the most constructive way to help out. If you would like to assist the children of the area speak with the Signature Representative at your hotel about donating to a school.
7.Always keep one eye on where you are walking when exploring or sightseeing. This is particularly true when hiking or visiting natural areas as native flora and fauna can be slow growing. It could take years for it to re-generate after being trampled by a flip-flop or running shoe.
8.In some cases you might be the only Canadian that a local will meet. Make sure to represent the best of Canada by being polite, open-minded, patient and friendly … everything Canadians are known for. You may dispel any misconceptions they have about Canadians, and they, your ideas of their culture.
9.Haggling and bargaining are a big part of any trip to the market in many countries and can be fun and exciting. Try not to go overboard on the price whittling, step back and think about what a few pesos or cents mean to you versus the vendor?
10.More than just a beautiful underwater rock, coral is a sensitive living organism. Make sure that you do not touch it or stir up sediment when snorkelling as these actions can wreak havoc on the reefs delicate ecosystem.
11.Do not take souvenirs from natural or historical sights. Photographs are the best way to preserve the memories from your travels. If you would still like to bring something home ask your tour guide where you can get officially endorsed items from the sight or place you are visiting.
12.You are on vacation which means time should not matter. Other countries and cultures have a different concept of time and social interaction. Accepting these and 'going with the flow' will make your trip less stressful as well as more enjoyable and enlightening.
13.Respect all rules and regulations for observing wild life and native flora and fauna. The general rule of thumb is that if an animal deviates from its normal behaviour you are too close. Invest or borrow binoculars or zoom lenses to admire from afar.
14.When purchasing locally produced items try and purchase them directly from the manufacturer. If this is not possible, ask the seller what percentage will be given to the company or person. If the amount does not sound fair, take your business elsewhere. Another way to ensure the manufacturer is being properly compensated is to look for fair-trade items, especially on things like coffee.
When you return
15.Your holiday destination will be giving you memories that last a lifetime, why not repay the favour. Research local conservation efforts or social projects that might be ongoing in your destination and find ways that you can give back.
16.Travel and tourism play a large part in a country's economy. When you return from vacation post your photos and stories online for others to see. Sharing your experiences and encouraging others to travel is a great way to give back to your destination