How to Be an Ethical Traveler — more or less!

Photo © 2003 – Alison Wright

Thirteen Tips for the Accidental Ambassador
– or –
How to Be an Ethical Traveler — more or less!

1) BE AWARE OF WHERE YOUR MONEY IS GOING, and patronize locally-owned inns, restaurants, and shops. Try to keep your dollars (or baht, or pesos) within the local economy, so the people you are visiting can benefit most directly from your visit.

2) NEVER GIVE GIFTS TO CHILDREN, only to their parents or teachers. When giving gifts to local communities — from schoolbooks to balloons, from pens to pharmaceuticals — first find out what’s really needed, and who can best distribute these items.

3) Before visiting any foreign land, TAKE THE TIME TO LEARN BASIC COURTESY PHRASES: greetings, “please” & “thank you,” and as many numbers as you can handle (those endless hours in airport waiting lounges are a good time for this). It’s astonishing how far a little language goes toward creating a feeling of goodwill….

…13) NEVER FORGET KURT VONNEGUT JR’S BEST LINE: “Strange travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God.” In other words: go with the flow, and give free rein to your sense of adventure!”

The Ethical Traveler