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How to Be a Responsible Tourist: 30 Ethical Travel Tips

“Responsible travel” is something of a buzz-phrase these days.

And with so much that’s gone wrong in the world lately – from climate disasters to the pandemic – many of us want to know how to be a responsible tourist.

As professional travel writers who’ve traveled for decades – everywhere from Antarctica to Zanzibar – we’ve tried to become more responsible travelers.

We’re far from perfect! Be here are some tips we’ve learned about how to travel more responsibly and sustainably.

It’s important to us that the way we travel shows respect for this planet.
It’s important to us that the way we travel shows respect for this planet

Why you should travel responsibly

Tourism makes up almost 10% of global GDP and creates a quarter of new jobs around the world. That alone is a great reason to travel!

But it also leads to challenges. Some examples:

  • Air travel releases a lot of carbon emissions – a big factor in climate change.
  • Overtourism can harm local landmarks, lead to gentrification of areas (and squeeze lower-income locals out), raise costs for locals and be a nuisance for people trying to live their everyday lives.
  • Tourism can damage natural wildlife habitats.
  • Too much dependence on tourism can make local economies vulnerable during global crises like pandemics or recessions.
  • Tourists can accidentally offend local customs and traditions, causing tensions with the community.

Bottom line? We need to travel responsibly to protect the environment, preserve local cultures and help tourism benefit the places we visit.

Responsible travelers stay away from places plagued by overtourism.
Responsible travelers stay away from places plagued by overtourism

What is responsible tourism?

Responsible tourism is about travel being positive – for you, as the traveler, and for the people and places you visit.

The first official responsible tourism definition was conceived back in 2002, when 280 tourism reps from 20 countries met in Cape Town, South Africa.

Cape Town
The Declaration on Responsible Tourism was signed in Cape Town

That led to the Cape Town Declaration on Responsible Tourism. It’s quite long and mentions things like travel that’s sensitive to cultural issues, doesn’t damage the environment and involves local people in decisions that affect their lives.

The part that resonates most with us?

We all have a responsibility to make a difference by the way we act.

Essentially, responsible tourism is about making choices that minimize the negative impacts of travel.

And if you put a smile on someone else’s face on your trip, so much the better!

Janice gets her face painted by a local in Mozambique
Connecting with locals can often be the most meaningful part of your trip! (Janice gets her face painted here in Mozambique)

How to be responsible tourist

We’ve organized the following 30 things you can do as a responsible tourist as follows:

  • Tips for planning your trip
  • Tips while on your trip
  • Tips when you get back from your trip

Planning your trip: Responsible travel tips

1) Be destination aware

Before even setting off on a trip, think about the destination(s) carefully.

Several places have suffered greatly because of the effects of overtourism.

Take Venice, Italy. So many tourists swarm its streets, driving up prices, that Venetians are being forced to leave and live outside the city. Yep, too many tourists is not a good thing!

Responsible travelers choose destinations where tourism is beneficial, not harmful.

Don’t be one of these tourists – go where you’re welcome!
Don’t be one of these tourists – go where you’re welcome!

Does this mean you should never visit popular destinations? Not necessarily.

Admittedly there’s only one Taj Mahal, one Venice, one Angkor Wat and one Louvre.

But consider visiting off-season. This helps stagger tourist arrivals throughout the year.

Off-peak travel is typically cheaper and more peaceful too. In Mexico, for example, for great deals and fewer people, Cabo San Lucas in early summer and late autumn are especially appealing times to visit. (The beaching is better too!)

2) Go off the beaten track

There are so many amazing places to discover on this planet that there’s really no excuse for following the crowds and contributing to harmful tourism.

Choose alternative less-visited destinations.

You can enjoy more authentic experiences away from the masses. We got to swim with dolphins in the wild in northern Mozambique (which sees few tourists) – an unforgettable experience not readily found in the world.

But you don’t have to travel to the wilds of Africa to get off the beaten path.

It can be as simple as choosing Puglia instead of the Amalfi Coast in Italy. Or hitting smaller towns rather than European capitals. Or giving Santorini and Mykonos a miss (at least in high season) and visiting more under-the radar islands or unique places in Greece like Kythera or Folegandros.

Vieste, Puglia
Maybe visit Vieste in Italy’s Puglia region instead of towns along the touristy Amalfi Coast

3) Don’t venture too far off the beaten path

This might seem to contradict the above responsible travel tip but hear us out…

Some lesser-visited destinations actually don’t want tourists.

You don’t want to go too far off the beaten path and insert yourself into a community that’s uncomfortable with outsiders.

Remote traditional communities and strict religious societies are two possible examples.

Take the case involving an illegal attempt to visit the tribal community of India’s North Sentinel Island. The place is one of the world’s forbidden islands. The Sentinelese get violent and attack you if you try to visit.

If there’s no infrastructure for visitors, that’s a huge red flag.

When planning your trip, find out whether tourists are welcome before you venture too far away from the tried-and-trodden path.

4) Fly less

Oh, the ugly truth. Flying is among the most environmentally damaging ways to travel.

Some activists discourage flying completely by flight shaming.

While fewer flights mean less carbon emissions, is eliminating flying altogether the answer?

Probably not.

For one, it’s unrealistic in today’s world.

And just think. If everybody stopped flying, this could be catastrophic for places that rely on tourism for income. When people don’t have jobs to put food on the table, they may be forced to turn to poaching, hunting, logging and theft.

Flying is often the only practical way to access some tourist-dependent destinations.

Still, if we want to be responsible tourists, we should try to fly less.

In some situations, catching a long-distance train or bus is a more responsible way of traveling from A to B. It can be a lot more fun too – and you’ll see scenery you’d otherwise miss.

Taking the first-class bus in Mexico between cities turned out to be an eye-opener for us. It was almost like flying business class!

The seats reclined, there was air-conditioning, we had foot rests and on one route, an attendant even walked the aisle offering food-and-drink service. The bus was a much more comfortable (and scenic) way of traveling between different colonial Mexican cities than flying.

The Mexico bus was a great way to get to Mexico’s magical colonial town of San Miguel de Allende!

When you do fly, direct flights are also more eco-friendly than routes with stopovers.

And instead of flying off on two vacations in a year, maybe take one longer trip (where you hop on a plane) and several shorter closer-to-home breaks (that don’t involve flights).

5) Choose environmentally-friendly airlines

Who knew! Not all airlines are equal when it comes to eco-friendliness.

When faced with a choice of carriers, don’t just choose the cheapest.

Research airlines with green-aware policies to:

  • Reduce onboard plastic use
  • Decrease noise pollution
  • Have lighter seats
  • Limit in-flight magazines
  • Recycle
  • Donate to community projects

New airplanes are also more earth-friendly than older ones.

When it comes to climate-efficient airlines, United Airlines, KLM, Wizz Air (based out of Hungary), Alaska Airlines, Air Canada and Etihad Airways are leaders.

6) Book eco-friendly cruises

Sailing ships like the Royal Clipper are among the greenest cruise ships in the world.
Sailing ships like the Royal Clipper are among the greenest cruise ships in the world (Credit: Star Clippers)

This is a tough one, as we love and write about cruises often! But here goes…

Cruising has a bad rep for its impact on the environment. From leaking gray water and hitting whales to creating huge amounts of onboard waste, many cruises are far from being eco-friendly.

But many cruise lines are also getting serious about sustainable cruising.

No form of cruising is greener than sailing.

And when it comes to sailing cruises, Star Clippers is king.

We’ve sailed on the Star Flyer in the Caribbean, as well as several other Star Clippers cruises around the world. The joy in watching the sails catch the wind (not to mention the pleasure of visiting under-the-radar ports) can’t be beat.

New cruise ships also tend to have greener fuel and other clean technologies.

7) Make mindful lodging choices

Instead of searching for the cheapest place to stay in Yangon (Myanmar) or the most convenient places to stay in Mallorca (Spain), pause to consider if there’s a more sustainable way of spending your tourism dollars.

Accommodation is one of your biggest travel costs, so it’s an area where you can really have a positive impact.

How to tell if a hotel is “green”?

Don’t just rely on an accommodation’s claim that they’re eco-friendly, though.

Many hotels have cottoned on to the fact that guests hold accommodations to higher standards these days. Sadly, some use the “eco” tag as a marketing ploy – without actually taking any meaningful steps towards being kinder to the environment.

Few places are perfect, but some are much better than others.

Things to look for with eco-friendly hotels:

  • Do they use renewable energy, such as solar power or geothermal energy?
  • Were they built using sustainable materials?
  • Do they actively work to recycle and reduce waste?
  • Do they hire local staff and pay fair wages?
  • Do they contribute to community or environmental projects?

You can also look for sustainable accommodation approved by EarthCheck.

This scientific certification organization works with properties to help them become more socially and environmentally aware. For example, One & Only Palmilla in Los Cabos, Mexico (and other One & Only hotels), along with many Sandals Resorts, are EarthCheck certified.

Local and smaller hotels

In general, avoiding large chain hotels and staying at local family-owned hotels helps to drive money back into the local economy.

Smaller accommodations may not have a big online presence – but can still turn out to be totally charming. We found some lovely places to stay in Bocas del Toro (including the  boutique and very beachy-chic Island Plantation Resort), even though there wasn’t much information about them on the Internet.

Sometimes it’s worth looking for locally-owned places to stay once you arrive at your destination.

Vrbo and Airbnb

Vrbo (Vacation Rentals by Owner) and Airbnb can also be a terrific way for local people to earn extra money. (Mind you, local housing prices often rise, leading to fewer viable housing options for locals. So you have to do your research on this one before booking a Vrbo or Airbnb.)

Main takeaway

Make informed choices when picking environmentally and socially responsible hotels.

8) Use responsible tour operators

Choosing responsible tour operators is a simple yet effective way to make a difference. Plus, it often leads to more meaningful interactions with locals and a deeper understanding of the area’s heritage, culture, and natural environment.

Socially responsible travel companies:

  • Work with the local community
  • Maintain sustainable working practices
  • Pay fair wages
  • Include indigenous people or marginalized groups in their operations
  • Honor local customs
  • Respect local traditions
  • Protect the natural environment
  • Don’t use wild animals
  • Are either locally owned or give back to the local community

9) Slow down

Stay longer in one place. Ride a bicycle there. Slow down – and breathe easier.
Stay longer in one place. Ride a bicycle while there. Slow down – and breathe easier

We’re fans of slow travel.

Slow travel doesn’t mean taking years to amble your way around the world. Rather, it’s more about not racing through a bucket list and, instead, spending more quality time in one place to build more of a local connection.

Personally, we’d suggest that you plan to explore one particular area of Spain or Italy or France in depth, rather than doing a grand European tour and touching on only the highlights. And don’t try to hit all of the big cities in Italy in one trip – pick just two or three and save the others for later.

Visiting fewer destinations is more sustainable than trying to pack as much into a trip as possible.

Staying in one place for longer is also much less tiring and stressful than constantly moving around and packing and unpacking.

10) Volunteer responsibly

Some people love the idea of volunteering as a way to be a socially responsible traveler.

Unfortunately, voluntourism can be both good and bad.

Some volunteer projects are simply fronts for money-making schemes. Others can unintentionally harm the environment or exploit villages.

If you have the right skills and can commit time to a genuinely ethical cause, that’s fantastic! Do your homework, and you’ll find that suitable ethical volunteering opportunities do exist.

But if you don’t have the relevant skills, volunteering isn’t really the best way to show that you’re a responsible tourist.

How to be a responsible tourist on your trip

11) Use social media responsibly

Think twice before sharing every travel photo on social media.
Think twice before sharing every travel photo on social media

Social media has played a huge role in changing tourism.

Instagram “influencers” have driven hordes of tourists to once-hidden gems they’ve shown online.

Some people even base their trips on the stunning images they’ve seen on social media, seeking out supposed life-changing experiences.

But Instagram tourism is far from real. Many times it’s downright irresponsible.

It can lead to overcrowding – people shoulder-to-shoulder trying to capture the same sunset photo in Oia, Santorini, for example.

The locals may not appreciate it. How would you like hundreds of people lining up for the “perfect picture” in your tiny village? Locals may stop going to their favorite eateries or places of worship because tourists are waiting for the perfect café or temple shot.

Consider too that sacred sites can become commercialized and natural sites can be trampled.

So how should a responsible tourist behave when it comes to social media?

Why not find your own special places, as opposed to following the Instagram crowd?

Importantly, don’t promote every single place you visit. Use caution when tagging locations and perhaps withhold exact details. 

And sometimes, it’s better to simply observe and experience – and keep the moment private rather than sharing.

12) Take public transport, walk and/or bicycle

Take the train! It’s better for the environment.
Take the train! It’s better for the environment

Use the most environmentally-friendly transport that you can. Usually that means choosing public transport.

To get from the airport to your hotel, airport transport links or shared shuttles are better than private taxis.

Using buses, trains, trams, shuttles and water taxis that are already operating cuts down on pollution.

Many destinations are perfect for exploring on foot or by bicycle too. And walking and bicycling is great exercise!

13) Be a responsible hotel guest

Do you really need your bed linen or towels changed every day? More laundry equals more water, detergent and energy being used.

Some hotels still swap out the towels even if you leave them hanging and haven’t tossed them on the floor. So you could put the “Do Not Disturb” sign on when leaving the room.

The same goes for personal laundry. Only make use of laundry services (or use self-service machines) if you have a full load.

Also be careful not to leave the air-conditioning on or the heat blasting out around the clock.

And turn lights out and appliances off when you leave.

Simple steps, yes, but they all add up when looking for ways to travel more responsibly.

14) Eat local

Tropical fruits for sale in a market in Papeete, Tahiti.
Tropical fruits for sale in a market in Papeete, Tahiti

Another easy way to travel responsibly is to eat at local restaurants.

Along with supporting local businesses, you’re more likely to get authentic dishes and cheaper prices than at international chain eateries.

Many small-scale eateries make the most of local produce too, reducing the environmental impacts of food transportation.

Imagine sinking your teeth into a delicious Pad Thai from a local restaurant in Thailand, a flavorful samosa from a good Indian food take-out place or a hearty bandeja paisa from a local Colombian eatery – all made that much tastier knowing you’ve done your bit to help out.

While you’re at it, do your tastebuds a favor and try local fruits and veggies (where safe). In Hawaii, try local Hawaiian fruit like lychee, longan and egg fruit. In Mexico, starfruit and zapote negro (chocolate pudding fruit) are two Mexican fruits you should definitely try.

15) Eat ethically

When choosing what to eat when traveling, it’s important to think about the ethics behind the food.

For example, civet coffee from Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia is made from beans found in civet droppings. Even though civets aren’t endangered, they’re often captured, caged and force-fed coffee beans to produce this expensive coffee. Since it’s hard to tell how the coffee was made, it’s best to avoid it.

In the same vein, skip Chilean sea bass (which is nearing extinction) if it’s on the menu and opt for sablefish instead. It offers a similar silky texture and rich flavor. And instead of bluefin tuna (which is overfished), choose yellowfin or Ahi tuna as sustainable alternatives.

16) Shop local

What happens when you buy from small locally-owned stores?

You got it! More of your money goes back into the local economy.

When shopping for clothes, toiletries, souvenirs or daily necessities, choosing mom-and-pop shops, local markets and independent retailers makes a bigger positive impact than buying from big international stores.

Responsible travelers look for crafts by local artisans when buying souvenirs.
Look for crafts by local artisans when buying souvenirs

Pro tip: If buying several items, spread your money around among different vendors.

Buying locally produced souvenirs in Hawaii or any other place you’re visiting has the added benefit of preserving skills and local crafts.

Source handicrafts from ethical cooperatives or directly from local artisans to make sure your money is going into the hands of the people who need it the most.

17) Don’t buy unethical souvenirs

Souvenirs made from shells and coral. Some pearls. Sea turtle products. Gifts made using fur, ivory or feathers.

These are just a few examples of souvenirs that are harmful to wildlife or support cruel practices.

Buddha head statues are also offensive to followers of the faith and, in general, Buddha merchandise can be culturally insensitive.

Ethical travelers are mindful about what they buy.  

18) Bargain and tip like a local

Don’t get too carried away when bargaining

Bargaining in Mexico, Morocco, Egypt and other places around the world is a fun part of the shopping experience.

But do research local bargaining customs and typical prices before you go.

Don’t be that obnoxious person who digs in over a small amount of money. What’s a pittance to you could be a day’s worth of food for a family.

The point of haggling is so both parties get a fair deal.

Haggling too much can keep people in poverty. On the other hand, not haggling at all (when part of the local custom) can drive up prices up for locals and lead to hardship.      

Similarly, find out whether to tip or not to tip.

Undertipping can be disrespectful and deprive people of a livable income, yet tipping too much can upset the local economy.

Try to strike a balance. Don’t be too stingy. At the same time, don’t go flinging cash at people.

19) Enjoy local experiences

When you opt for local tours, you put money right into the pockets of local residents and help keep their traditions alive.

Plus, you get to enjoy some genuinely meaningful travel experiences and really understand the culture.

Think cooking classes run by locals, where meals are prepared using locally-grown produce and just-caught fish. Traditional dance classes with local instructors. Pottery workshops. Calligraphy classes. Language lessons.

The possibilities are endless!

20) Reduce waste

A monkey rifles through garbage.
A monkey rifles through garbage

A huge part of responsible and sustainable travel is considering the environmental impact of your trip.

Many places don’t have the proper facilities for dealing with waste. In worst cases, trash is left to rot in the countryside or makes its way to the oceans. Poorer countries don’t have advanced recycling programs.

A big way you can help is to cut back on your waste.

Some ideas for reducing your waste when traveling:

  • Carry (and use!) your own reusable water bottle rather than buying plastic water bottles.
  • Say “no” to plastic bags.
  • Carry your own reusable bag or tote.
  • Say “no” to plastic straws. If you just can’t handle your cocktails or soft drinks without a straw, you could buy a reusable metal straw for your travels.
  • If on a road or camping trip, bring your own containers for takeaway meals rather than using Styrofoam or single-use-plastic boxes.
  • Download maps onto your devices rather than grabbing paper maps in every place you go. (Those paper maps may be convenient and readily available, but think about all those trees and all that paper waste.)

Also, put trash where it belongs. Please don’t toss a wrapper on the street or into the bushes.

21) Use eco-friendly products

This one’s a no-brainer for having a responsible vacation.

Use a reef-safe sunscreen when swimming and snorkeling. Likewise, use eco-friendly insect repellents. And look for environmentally-friendly toiletries and beauty products.

For camping (and in places where waste water may not be treated effectively), use laundry detergents and dishwashing detergents that don’t harm the environment.

22) Conserve water

Clean water is a precious commodity in lots of places – don’t waste it

Clean water is scarce in many places around the globe, especially in Africa.

Use only as much water as you need.

Take shorter showers and definitely don’t fill up a hotel bathtub for a nice long soak. Also, don’t leave water running while you brush your teeth.

23) Don’t support animal abuse

As times change, people are becoming more aware of the ethical implications of animal tourism.

Animal interactions when traveling can come in many forms.

The biggie: Riding elephants, donkeys and camels. (Guilty confession: Janice rode an elephant in Thailand years ago, something we wouldn’t do now.)

Other examples: Posing for selfies with captive creatures. Animal shows and animals in circuses. Cage-diving with sharks and swimming with captive dolphins. Watching monkeys harvest coconuts. Attending a bullfight. Stroking a tiger. Holding a snake.

Many of these interactions aren’t ethical.

Caring for a baby elephant for a day is fine, just don’t ride one.
Caring for a baby elephant for a day is fine, just don’t ride one

We recognize animal tourism isn’t black-and-white.

Cultural elements and traditions blur the lines of right and wrong. Consider, for example, the importance of camels for nomadic tribes in North Africa and the Middle East, and the use of sled dogs in Scandinavia and Canada.

As an outsider, it’s not our place to tell communities how they should live. But it is our responsibility not to fuel practices that, in modern times, are seen by many as unethical.

While ethical zoos and beneficial animal sanctuaries do exist, a responsible traveler should properly research any animal tour or experience before signing up.

Or, stick to spotting animals in the wild – where they belong. 

24) Act responsibly around wildlife

Dos and don’ts associated with spotting animals in the wild:

  • Don’t feed wildlife. It can make animals ill, encourage reliance on humans and lead to aggression.
  • Check the credentials of safari operators to ensure they follow sustainable practices.
  • Avoid companies that feed animals to coax them closer, disturb animals, separate mothers from their young and so on.
  • Watch animals quietly from a distance without making too much noise or otherwise disturbing the wild creatures.
  • Back off. As tempting as it can be to get closer for that perfect picture, respect animals’ territory.
  • Definitely don’t try to touch animals in the wild, for their safety and for yours.
  • Disturb natural habitats as little as possible, and leave no trace of you having been there.

25) Respect local culture and laws

A Buddhist monk at prayer
A Buddhist monk at prayer

Brush up on local customs, culture, norms and laws before visiting a new place to avoid committing any social faux pas or offending people.

It’s important to remember that you’re a guest in a community. You may not agree or understand certain cultural practices, but it’s not your job to judge.

(Side note: If it’s things like ritual female genital mutilation or other abuses of human rights, then obviously you don’t want to support communities that think such practices are acceptable.)

Dressing modestly in Muslim and other countries avoids causing offence. Plus, locals know how to dress suitably for their climate and conditions, so you’ll likely be a lot more comfortable too!

Asking genuine questions is a way to increase cultural knowledge.

But know which topics are taboo and don’t force uncomfortable conversations. For example, most Thai people don’t want to talk about why criticizing the monarchy in Thailand is a criminal offence.

Act appropriately in places of worship and sacred sites. Don’t smooch in public if public displays of affection are frowned upon. Don’t get uptight if you find everywhere closed up for siesta. Be mindful of gestures too – common gestures in one place can be super offensive in another.

Also ask before taking pictures of people and their property. Some indigenous peoples believe that photography can steal their soul.

Janice taking pictures in Egypt

One more thing about photos… Keep in mind that it’s illegal to take pics of military bases or government buildings in many parts of the world.

26) Engage with locals

Remember that everyone you meet on your travels, from tour guides and hoteliers to market-stall owners and drivers, are people. We’re social creatures, and people love to share their experiences and connect with others!

A woman proudly shows off her baby in Myanmar

Treat everyone you meet as an equal, with compassion, dignity and respect.

And take the time to learn something of the local language.

People like it when you try and communicate with them in their local language, even if it’s just “Thank you” or “How are you?” It shows you’re making an effort to learn about their country, culture and way of life.

Happy travelers
Happy travelers with a happy local

27) Don’t give money to children or beggars

While it can really pull on the heartstrings to be asked for money by people less fortunate, try to resist giving money to beggars or children.

Unfortunately, giving in to these situations often does more harm than good.

Giving money to beggars can perpetuate begging and encourage others to seek a living by asking for hand-outs. It provides no motivation for people to improve their conditions and may fund exploitative practices.

Children are particularly vulnerable to exploitation. Child begging may be part of a larger criminal organization, and child beggars could be victims of trafficking. Also, being on the streets means they’re not getting an education.

Similarly, don’t buy from street kids either.

28) Give back ethically

Donating to a school is a responsible way to give back when traveling.
Donating to a school is a responsible way to give back when traveling

Rather than giving money to beggars, make a donation instead to reputable charities that work with disadvantaged members of society.

Consider giving supplies to local schools, donating food to animal shelters or giving unwanted clothing to a (genuine) orphanage.

In Myanmar, when children ran up to us with their wide pleading eyes and hands out, we were advised to donate instead to the local Buddhist nunnery which ran a free school – and we were taken there for a visit.

After your trip: What you can do

29) Offset carbon emissions

Whatever way you travel – by air, water or overland – it usually leaves a carbon footprint.

Consider donating to offset your carbon emissions.

Your donation can support reforestation projects and the like that help to mitigate carbon emissions.

Some airlines, like British Airways, Delta, and Air New Zealand, let you donate to environmental programs to offset your carbon emissions when you book your tickets.

Alternatively, making a voluntary donation to Gold StandardCarbon FundCool Effect or My Climate really makes a world of difference.

30) Promote responsible and ethical tourism

Another great way to be a responsible tourist is to promote responsible travel.

Encourage others to travel responsibly. Share your experiences and the importance of sustainable practices on social media, blogs or in conversations with friends and family.

Final thoughts on how to be a responsible traveler

Hopefully this post has helped to answer the question “What is responsible travel?” and you’ve found these 30 ethical travel tips useful.

With time, you’ll probably find that many things become second nature and – with very little effort – you’ll soon be a glowing example of responsible tourist behavior!

Do you have other ideas on how to be an ethical traveler?

We’d love to hear from you. Please let us know in the Comments section below.

Our top travel tips and resources

Hotels: is great for scoring a “wow” hotel – or at least a decent one. (We especially like their flexible cancellation policy!)

Vacation homes, condos and rentals: We prefer and use Vrbo (Vacation Rentals by Owner).

Tours: For the best local food, walking and other guided tours, plus skip-the-line tickets to attractions, check out Viator (a TripAdvisor company) and GetYourGuide.

Car rental: Renting a car is often one of the best ways to explore off the beaten path. Discover Cars searches car rental companies so you get the best rates.

Travel insurance: SafetyWing is designed for frequent travelers, long-term adventurers and digital nomads. It covers medical expenses, lost checked luggage, trip interruption and more. We also have and recommend Medjet for global air medical transportation and travel security.

Travel gear: See our travel shop to find the best luggage, accessories and other travel gear. (We suggest these comfy travel sandals for city walking, the beach and kicking about.)

Need more help planning your trip? Check out our travel tips and resources guide for airline booking tips, ways to save money, how to find great hotels and other crazy useful trip planning info.

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How to be a responsible tourist

Photo credits: 4, 7, 12, 17, 19 © Janice and George Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase

About the authors

Luxury travel journalists and SATW, NATJA and TMAC “Best Travel Blog” award winners, Janice and George Mucalov are the publishers of Sand In My Suitcase. Between them, they’ve traveled to all 7 continents. See About.

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