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Student Travel 101: How to Be a Respectful Tourist

By January 9, 2020No Comments

It is important to explain to your students what a responsible, respectful and sustainable tourist looks like, before embarking on your CAS Trip or any other school trip. We know that student travel can be complex, but it is also a crucial way of shaping the future of our next generation. 

Explaining to students what a sustainable traveler looks like will only make them a better traveler in the future. The pointers below provide some key sustainable travel tips for you and your students.

1. Protect local fauna and flora

No matter where your CAS Trips will take you, there will always be some kind of nature aspect involved. It is important that whatever you do, make sure to protect the fauna and flora around you. This, for example, entails refraining from picking flowers in the Colombian jungle and touching any turtles in the Galapagos

2. Respect local laws, customs and culture 

One of the most rewarding aspects of embarking on a school trip is encountering new, diverse and unique cultures and ways of life. First and foremost, always show respect for the local customs and traditions, and the local laws. Being a responsible traveler in this sense may require dressing up more conservatively than you may back home; and more specifically covering your head, shoulders and legs when entering a temple or a church.

3. Use less plastic 

Plastic is a global issue. Eliminating the use of all plastic from your daily life is hard, and even harder when traveling. But there are some things you and your students can do to produce less waste and to make sure you are doing your bit to become a more responsible traveler.

  • Use a refillable water bottle
  • Say no to non-biodegradable straws
  • Use packaging-free beauty and toiletry products 
  • Pack a canvas bag to avoid using plastic bag

4. Leave no trace

Make sure to leave as small of a footprint as possible in any place you visit – be it a city, a forest or a beach. If your school trip involves hiking, make sure to stay on the trail, you never know if the rest of the area is under recuperation. 

Insider tip: If you have to go for a number two whilst hiking and there is no toilet, try to do it as far as possible from any water source to avoid the risk of contamination (as a general rule, at least 50 meters from a river or lake).

5. Buy local 

One of the easiest and most fun ways of being a more responsible traveler is by shopping locally. Whether it is a small souvenir that you want to take home, or a meal or a snack that you want to have, go for something that has been locally produced and made to support the local economy. 

6. Ethical photography

Photography is an incredible way to remember your school trip long after your students are back at school. We all get super excited when visiting a new country, so our usual photography etiquettes may fly out the window. But responsible travel photography is crucial to becoming a more respectful tourist. 

When taking a picture of someone else, place yourself in the other person’s shoes, and ask whether you would feel it appropriate if they took the same photo of you. Would you take this photo at home? Or be happy if someone took it of you? Could it considered exploitative in any way (ie. is it of children)? Have you gained the person’s consent? Is photography even considered culturally acceptable in this place?

Instead of just taking a quick snapshot, ask your students to get involved with what the person is doing, whether it’s sharing a joke with them, purchasing something from their stall, or simply smiling and pointing at our cameras to ask if we can take their photo.

We look forward to welcoming you and your student on your next CAS Trip.

Contact us today for a customized school trip itinerary. 

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