Protecting the communities, cultures and wildlife we love
Responsible tourism is fundamental to our organizational philosophy. We believe in environmentally and culturally responsible tourism. We work hard to ensure that our holidays create as little burden as possible on local communities and the environment, whilst ensuring that both we and all who travel with us are respectful of the people and cultures that welcome us. We provide comprehensive and accurate information to those who travel with us. We find that reading some simple best-practice guidelines prior to departure can make a big difference while you’re away.
Our commitment and recommendations
Before you leave: turn the fridge down, cancel the newspapers, turn off the hot water, put lights on a timer rather than just leave on for security reasons, unplug all unnecessary electrical items
Research: Education is at the heart of our approach prior to your travels. We commit to ensuring that within the pages of this website and the paperwork you receive, you will find all the necessary information to ensure that you can travel in a responsible and low or no impact manner. If you can’t find the information you’re looking for, just ask us and we’ll get it for you. With knowledge comes ability to make informed choices, and with this positive impact. Take some time to research the destinations you are travelling to before you leave home. Find out about the specifics, these could be ecological, cultural or religious and ensure you understand how best to respect the local sensibilities.
Staying local: We collaborate with local, responsible companies and partners who share our focus, beliefs and passions. Our holidays are designed to enable our clients to immerse themselves in local experiences, and we make sure that, wherever possible, the income they bring to a destination goes directly back into the community. By using local guides we can ensure that any information our clients are given is unbiased, current and genuine. We insist that any travel partners we work with also adhere to our responsible travel policies. Our local partners put responsible tourism at the heart of everything they do. We work collaboratively with them to ensure an ongoing exchange of information, so we can all continue to improve our work around responsible tourism.
Transportation: We use well maintained and suitably sized vehicles (we don’t drive large 50-seater vehicles; instead we use vehicles that are suitable for the size of your party).
Accommodation: we mostly work with a range of fantastic small family-run inns and include international chains only when there is really no alternative (usually this is the case in big cities when your flights arrive and depart at early-morning or late-night hours).
At your hotel: request that your towels are replaced less regularly (most hotels have a system in place for this), switch off the lights and air-conditioning when you leave your room, unplug any devices that you are charging before you go to bed, try exploring the streets instead of a sweating it out on a running machine.
Etiquette: You can always ask your guide, or a local about what is appropriate and what is not. Nudity, scanty or inappropriate dress often causes offence. When it comes to clothing, plan carefully and think about what may be considered offensive to others, especially when visiting religious sites. Modest dress will help ensure both you and future visitors are treated with respect. In all but the most touristy beach resorts it is never suitable to walk the streets or eat a meal in a bikini or just a pair of shorts. Formalities such as greetings can be quite different to what you are used to. Abide by all the laws of the country and community you’re visiting… they apply to everyone.
Interaction: You may find you are asked questions by locals that seem direct. We’ve been asked how many children we have, how old we are, if we’re married, what our salary is, and more on numerous occasions. Try to realize this is simply a way for many to practice their English and open a conversation with someone from a culture they don’t know. Also privacy can mean something very different in other parts of the world and the norm is to be married and practice a religion. It’s up to you how or if you answer these questions – we recommend with good humour!
Photography: Always ask before taking a photo of anyone. Respect your subject’s wishes if they decline your request – put yourself in their position and it doesn’t take long to work out why some may say no. Many people are more than happy for you to take a snap. If you get the opportunity, make an extra print or send them a copy per email/social media and you’ve got a friend for life. It is not good practise to offer any payment for taking someone’s photo.
Language: Try and learn a little, even just a basic greeting and ‘thank you’. You’ll find that people respond very well to this; the locals will appreciate the effort you are making and your attempts are often a great ice-breaker.
Begging: We strongly recommend you do not give money or other gifts to beggars, no matter how hard it is to resist. Children miss out on a basic education because they are forced to beg by their parents. In the most extreme cases, they may even be deliberately maimed to increase their earning potential. Your guide can point you in the direction of schools where you can make a more meaningful donation.
Wilderness & wildlife: We appreciate that making absolutely no negative impact on the environment when travelling is simply not possible, however, we strive to minimise it. We rely on you and ask that you use common sense and follow local and international wilderness guidelines. Don’t feed wild animals – food scraps should not be considered ‘biodegradable’. Be aware that rabies and other diseases are prevalent in many countries. Wild animals should never be touched, and we also strongly advise you to refrain from touching domestic animals such as cats and dogs. When trekking and mountain biking you should stick to marked paths at all times. This is for your own safety and also helps to prevent unnecessary erosion.
Litter: don’t dispose of litter along the way, this includes cigarette butts, used matches, paper, plastic, clothing and food scraps. Fruit leftovers may be biodegradable but they are unsightly and can take a while to decompose. Carry a plastic bag to collect your litter during the day and take it away with you. And if you’re happy to set a good example; pick up litter left by other, less considerate individuals. Try to buy any basic products from the local communities you visit rather than carry them in. This helps to support the local economy in a small way.
Water: The protection of water resources is vital. Avoid polluting vital water sources when trekking and using home-stays. Ask your guide and locals to show you which water to wash and bath in. Only use biodegradable soaps and shampoos that do not contain phosphates. Avoid using soap and shampoo directly in any fresh water sources such as waterfalls or lakes. Bathe downstream from water collection points and villages, and if you’re using shampoos and soaps, lather up and rinse well away from the water’s edge.
Share your knowledge: any information, hints and tips that you can pass on ensures that those following in your footsteps will be better educated and more responsible.