10 Ways to Weave Impact Into Your Vacation
How to travel in style — the ethical way.
Tour with the Locals
When booking tours, check out the credentials of the tour operators. Are they locals, or are they just visiting for the busy season and will take their money elsewhere to spend it? Does the tour guide on your bird tour have a formal education in Ornithology? Does the company do other anything to give back to the local community, or any conservation efforts? Pick one a company that really cares.
Helping local charities is one of the most fulfilling and memorable experiences you can have — and it’s great to share on Facebook. Before you arrive, do some searches for local charities and animal shelters or projects. Talk to the concierge at your hotel and ask them to give you a list of volunteering opportunities. Once you arrive, ask around to find out what charities need help during the time you’re visiting.
Don’t Feed the Poachers
Many souvenirs in exotic places are made from endangered animal parts. Purchasing knickknacks made from ivory, reptile skins, tortoise shells and animal fur just encourages poachers to keep up their illegal practices. Not only that, but some items may be illegal to bring back to the US or Canada. So, unless you’re hoping for an aggressive patdown, stay away from animal-part souvenirs.
Don’t Eat (or Ride) the Animals
While turtle meat might sound exotic, because of tourist demand, many species of turtles are now going extinct. Riding an elephant might sound like a great Instagram photo-op, but that elephant was stolen from his mother as a baby and beaten for years to make him obey. Same goes for many other types of animals. If someone offers you an exotic meat to eat, or an animal to use, just say no.