Based on our own upbringings we all have morals and values that vary in comparison to each other. I would like to think that we all make a concerted effort to treat others the way in which we hope to be treated and to emphasise the positive rather than give thought to the negative. Of course, much of this might seem it does not need writing, they are basic human values after all.
When we travel, however, it can be easy to become over-excited and sometimes we do things that we normally wouldn’t – I mean, that’s what travelling is all about isn’t it? Doing things that we normally wouldn’t. But when those actions have negative consequences for us or those around us, it could be claimed that we are not being wholly responsible for ourselves and indeed not leaving a positive impression on the places we visit.
I believe travelling is about experiencing and enjoying destinations, without leaving a mark of some kind, or leaving it in a worse state than before we arrived. Alright so for one reason or another we won’t enjoy every place we visit, but this does not give us a right to express our dislikes with negative actions.
Here we have put together a list of our very own ‘Golden Travel Rules’ that we always live by. They are the values that have allowed us to blend in very well with locals and learn the most about other cultures and traditions. These ensure that everyone has the best time together possible and leave positive impressions and long-lasting friendships in our wake.
Sure, they might be different from your own, but there is also a chance you could pick up some useful advice from them.
- I will remember that I am in a position of privilege and not an entitlement.
- I will make an effort to educate myself on the cultural and societal norms and traditions of where I am travelling so that I understand what is acceptable and what is not.
- I will make an effort to learn some greetings, manners and basic phrases to communicate with locals and be more inclusive of those around me.
- I will treat everyone I meet with equal respect and care, and if they are not somebody I can get along with, I will kindly agree to disagree and move on.
- I will greet people I do not know with a smile and a suitable greeting in their language as best I can.
- I will not leave any litter behind, even cigarette butts, and I will go out of my way to find designated places to dispose of waste.
- I will enjoy celebrations and parties but always remain mindful that a weeknight that is a holiday for me could be a rest night for somebody else.
- I will consider the stories and experiences of fellow travellers, remaining open to their experiences influencing the course of my adventure.
- I will be respectful and considerate of religious, holy sites even if I myself hold different beliefs or no religious beliefs at all.
- I will happily engage in political conversations without putting my own stance forward as superior.
- I will be mindful that it is not legal everywhere in the world to film or photograph people without their permission and indeed if I am asked to delete photographs or videos of them I will willingly do so.
- I will try to help anybody along the way that looks like they might need it.
- I will open myself up to new culinary experiences and try food that is eaten by locals.
- I will not form a negative opinion of a place based on limited personal experiences.
- I will dress respectfully and appropriately depending on my location if it is normal for women to cover their hair or flesh, or for men to not be shirtless or wear shorts in public I will do so.
- I will understand that I am in a privileged position and that those around me who are not so fortunate, I can help.
- I will treat people in all forms of employment with the same respect and gratitude and be generous in any way I can to benefit them.
- I will keep my word and not make empty promises, knowing that I may never return to a destination.
- I will have respect for all creatures great and small, refusing to support animal circuses, zoos and any type of institution that imprisons animals.
- I will leave negative preconceptions about a place behind before arriving and accept that there are nice and nasty people everywhere you go in the world. Generally, the majority are nice and if you are also nice you will very rarely come in contact with the nasty.
- I will adhere to varying traffic rules when driving and slow right down in villages and built-up areas.
- I will try to remain as healthy as possible while giving myself plenty of time to rest and relax.
- I will remember that my journey is my own and that travel is not a competitive activity where counting countries or comparing lifestyles gives me a sense of superiority.
- I will try to avoid using words like ‘cheap’ which may be offensive to locals who do not get by so easily. Instead, I can use a word like affordable or great value as I think it carries more respect.
- I will try to disconnect myself from outside distractions and ‘social’ online applications that can take away from my immersion and enjoyment of a location. I will not take unnecessary risks that put my life in danger just for that ‘perfect photograph’.
- I will engage with fellow travellers and locals alike and understand that a lot can be learned from the words of others.
- I will not exploit or abuse any aspect of a country or it’s people whether it is drug use, sexual exploitation, or using money as a means to manipulate adults or children in any way.
- I will be patient and understand that some things take time, often a lot longer than expected or what you may be used to, but also to keep in mind that this is all part of the experience.
- I will take all of these into account remember overall to have fun and make it the time of my life!