YOUR HOLIDAYS, THEIR HOMES

Knowing that local people are happy to have you stay is the secret of an enjoyable holiday

Your holiday destination is a place where people live; people who may have different values and sensibilities to your own. Opening your mind to new cultures and traditions is part of the joy of a holiday. Learn a few words of the local language before you go – your stumbling attempts will be appreciated even if they cause hilarity.

Local people will welcome you more readily if you have thought carefully about how to behave and are wearing appropriate clothes.

And remember, not everybody likes having their picture taken. Don’t treat people as part of the landscape. Put yourself in their shoes and imagine how it might feel for them to be photographed. Ask rst and respect their wishes.

Switch off and relax

Whilst your visit may provide some economic benefits to local people, it can also use up scarce resources. For example, water is in short supply in many tourist destinations, and hotels put a huge strain on an already limited resource. One tourist can use as much water in one day as a village would use to produce rice for 100 days. Even the most ‘eco’ friendly hotel may be using local people’s water supplies so do please ask your hotel manager about their policy on water use. And do your bit by using as little as possible.

The places you visit on holiday are often the ones most threatened by climate change. Don’t forget your good habits just because you are on holiday – remember to turn off lights and fans when you leave your room and don’t leave the TV on standby!

Whilst your visit may provide some economic bene ts to local people, it can also use up scarce resources. For example, water is in short supply in many tourist destinations, and hotels put a huge strain on an already limited resource. One tourist can use as much water in one day as a village would use to produce rice for 100 days. Even the most ‘eco’ friendly hotel may be using local people’s water supplies so do please ask your hotel manager about their policy on water use. And do your bit by using as little as possible.
The places you visit on holiday are often the ones most threatened by climate change. Don’t forget your good habits just because you are on holiday – remember to turn off lights and fans when you leave your room and don’t leave the TV on standby!

Keep Children smiling

It is best never to give anything directly to children, not even sweets – a child who is begging may think there is no need to go to school. There are plenty of ways to help that will have a much more positive impact. You could donate to a local school, hospital or orphanage for example, or give to a fund that your tour operator is supporting.

Tragically more than one million children are sexually abused by tourists every year – a punishable offence, even when the offender has returned home. Please don’t turn
 a blind eye. Help protect children by telling your hotel or guesthouse manager if you see something suspicious.

No time to waste

Waste disposal methods are often very basic, so think
about what happens to your rubbish. Take biodegradable products and as little packaging as you can. Discarded plastic bottles can ruin a landscape – worth thinking about when you buy bottled water. Tap water is often assumed to be of poor quality even when it is fine to drink. If you are unsure, use water purification tablets or a Travel Tap water bottle

Haggle with humour

Try to keep your money in the local economy; eat in
local restaurants, drink local beer or fruit juice rather than imported brands and pay a fair price when you’re buying souvenirs and handicrafts. Bargaining can be great fun, so haggle with humour – but remember that if you bargain too hard, sheer poverty might make a craftsman accept a poor price just so that he can feed his family that day. Pay what something is worth to you.

Tips on giving

Giving small tips is a good way of giving back to those who have welcomed you. It maximises the amount of money going directly to local people. A hotel waiter or chambermaid who is supporting their family and sending children to school typically earns between £1 and £3 a day in a developing country – something to think about when you’re leaving a tip.

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