A responsible Traveller to Tanzania
A Responsible Traveller
With travel becoming more mainstream, and over tourism on the rise, it’s important to think about how you can be a responsible traveler and reduce your negative impact on the planet.
But, what does this mean exactly? What can you do?
Being a responsible traveler is something to be conscious about for years, and it should be to the forefront conversations between travellers and locals in Tanzania.
While enjoying and snapping photos along the way, it is important to make a conscious effort to be responsible travellers and help give back to change the lives of those around us as much as possible.
It’s not always easy to be a responsible traveler and you don’t have to devote your every waking moment to it, but it does pay to keep a few things in mind.
Where you decide to travel to, which accommodations you choose, where you decide to eat, how you opt to get around, and the activities you partake in (or not) will have an impact on the destinations you visit.
Be Mindful of Your Carbon Footprint
Responsible travel can be a bit tough because you will have to fly from where you are to Tanzania. At the very least, if you travel on a direct flight you’ll reduce the carbon emissions (taking off and landing are the worst).
If you fly with carry-on luggage, you will be bringing less weight on board and thus, the plane will use less fuel. Not to mention, you won’t have to pay those hefty checked baggage fees.
There is an organization in Tanzania – Where you can Offset Carbon the carbon Tanzania will help you to calculate the effects of your travelling and if interested you can pay the estimated amount, the money will be used to support forest conservations
Respect the Culture & Customs
This one is huge. There’s being a responsible traveler in terms of Eco-sustainability, but it’s also important to respect the culture and customs of the destinations you travel to.
In many parts of the Tanzania, wearing shorts and t-shirts isn’t appropriate.
If you’re visiting temples and religious monuments, make sure you’re dressed accordingly. In Churches, this includes wearing a long skirt, you must cover your knees and shoulders. When visiting mosques, both men and women should wear long pants and longer sleeved tops. Women should wear a headscarf.
Other travellers’ attire doesn’t reflect what’s right and wrong, so always do your research and try not to use the excuse “everyone else is doing it”
Choose Sustainable Tour Operators
These days, there are endless choices when it comes to tour operators. It’s important to do your research and choose a company that respects the environment and works with the community to provide jobs to the locals. Better yet, opt for a locally owned and operated company.
If you’re going scuba diving, ensure that the company doesn’t touch or feed the marine life. If you’re going on a wildlife tour (whale watching, snorkeling with whale sharks, a safari, etc.), it’s imperative that you know your guide will be adhering to sustainable and responsible practices.
This might include having small groups, keeping distance from the animals and if on safari, not veering from the marked path and not leaving any trash behind.
Buy Local Items
This has to be the easiest way to be a responsible traveler. When you’re in Tanzania, consider where you want to spend your money when it comes to meals, snacks, souvenirs, clothing, etc.
One of the best ways to make a positive impact on the lives of Tanzanian is to purchase products that are locally grown/made. If you have the option, hit up the little stand on the side of the road which is run by a Tanzania or opt for the local markets and shops for seafood, meat and veggies.More often than not, the produce and proteins will be fresher anyways.
When it comes to eating meals out, check out the street side vendors! Most likely, it’ll be the most authentic, tasty food you’ll have on your travels.
Don’t Bargain So Hard
Being in Tanzania and try to do some shopping can be very funny and interesting; Unlike the developing countries where items have a set price tag, in Tanzania, bargaining for goods is part of daily life.
Most of the time things are overpriced, try to negotiate, but do not negotiate too much to the extent that they will sell at very low price because they dont have any other option.
Sometimes tourist pricing can seem unfair, but in reality, if you’re only being charged a buck or two more than a local would be, just pay the money and leave the exchange with both parties having a smile on their face.
As a tourist, you can be a responsible traveller by not over bargaining.
Everyone Can Be a Responsible Traveller
As you can see, there are many simple ways in which you can help out the environment and the local residents of the places you visit.
I have to end this article by saying that none of us are perfect. You probably won’t be able to eliminate plastic completely from your life. Maybe you’re only given holidays during the peak season, or perhaps you really want to see what it’s like taking an all-inclusive luxury resort holiday.
As long as you’re doing your best to be a responsible traveller, and implementing some of the things I listed above, then that’s great. It’s all about being aware of the impact we as tourists have on the planet and doing our part.
Travel is life-altering and eye-opening. It breaks down borders and allows us to experience cultures that are different from our own. Have meaningful moments with local people, help out the communities when you can, and be aware of where your tourism dollars are being spent. Happy and responsible travels to you!
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