Rules and customs
Remember to respect the rules and customs at your destination. Did you know in the Caribbean it’s considered rude to walk around the shops in a bikini top? In Australia Aboriginals don’t like you climbing Uluru as it’s a sacred site and queue jumping in the UK is bad form! Check out the local customs before you go and follow them.
It goes without saying we should be polite and considerate to locals. In return, connecting with locals can bring great insights into their country, town and culture as well as recommendations for activities that might not be well known. I personally avoid places where lots of English people congregate – I spend plenty of time with them at home and enjoy it very much, but when I travel I like to see a different perspective. The hospitality I’m shown by locals overseas is always one of the highlights of my travels.
Most destinations have hotel or high street gift shops, but check out the local market stall holders and/or roadside traders, they often have wonderful gifts and the money goes straight to them, supporting them and their families rather than big resorts taking a cut. Support local traders where you can.
Minimising environmental impact
Most people don’t wash their bed sheets and towels every day at home, so there’s probably no need for this when you’re on holiday. Many places suffer water shortages and/or rely on desalination plants for water and especially if you’re staying in a small local hotel, these costs can be crippling.
Several hotels offer the option of not having sheets and/or towels changed every day. If the place you’re staying doesn’t offer this, ask at reception.
Some communities in developing countries have limited resources, so the kids may lack basics like pens, pencils, paper. Perhaps pop to a pound or dollar store before you go and buy some basic supplies to hand out to the kids either on the street or at a local children’s home, you’ll get some priceless smiles in return!