The Complete Guide to Becoming an Ethical Traveler: 6 Tips & Tricks

Exploring uncharted territory, experiencing different cultures, and seeing many of the natural wonders of this world can be invigorating. Unfortunately, the high levels of tourism can drain an area of its resources, wreak havoc on the environment, and deteriorate a location’s unique cultural identity. These unpleasant results don’t mean that you have to put your aspirations of traversing the globe on pause, just that adaptations to your typical travel routine may be necessary. 

If you’re looking for ways to become more ethical in your travel routine, here are a few ideas to help you start. 

Becoming an Ethical Traveler

Visit a new country as a medical traveler 

Despite the strain tourism can put on the local environment and resources, there are still ways for you to travel responsibly. One way to satiate your travel bug and potentially be of service to people abroad is by searching for Fusion travel nursing opportunities. Pursuing a career as a travel nurse allows you to add value to the community you’re visiting, all while building an impressive passport stamp collection. 

To become an international travel nurse, you’ll need to complete a nursing education program, pass the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX), and obtain a nursing license. After that, acquire any additional credentials required by your desired countries. Additionally, you’ll need to collect the necessary visas or work permits before embarking on your adventure abroad. From then on, it’s just a matter of time before you’re whisked away to a new country and job. 

Support local businesses

When exploring a new area, where you spend your money matters more than you might think. Instead of buying dinner from a familiar chain, try stopping by a quaint mom-and-pop operation. Avoid kitschy or mass-produced tourist memorabilia and instead purchase souvenirs from local artisans. You’ll be supporting the livelihoods of the people living in the area you’re visiting, and your experience will likely be more meaningful.

Leave no trace

As the old camping saying goes, pack it in, pack it out. Adopting leave no trace principles goes for any travel, not just venturing into the backcountry. When spending time in new places, make sure to pack out any trash that you end up with, including wrappers, bus tickets, and napkins. If you want to earn some good karma, pick up any loose garbage you come across and throw it away. 

Avoid Animal Tourism

The idea of interacting with animals marketed as rescues is appealing and may even seem like you’re contributing to a good cause. Unfortunately, the high demand for animal tourism may motivate smugglers to continue removing animals from the wild. Ask yourself if interacting with the animal is truly in its best interest, and listen to your gut if something doesn’t feel right. Often, your money would make more of an impact when donated to a reputable animal rescue or charity. 

Book Experiences with Locals

Take advantage of the skills and experience possessed by members of the local community. Turn to local guides for tours, and they’ll take you to the hidden gems of the area. Families and restaurants will even offer cooking classes, letting you experience the taste and food culture of the site. Like shopping at small businesses, booking experiences with locals is a great way to support the community rather than strain its resources

Practice Minimalism in Packing

It can be tempting to buy new clothes or gear each time you visit a new location. Brand new items are often unnecessary and contribute to consumerism, so pack light and use what you have before rushing into a purchase. If worse comes to worst and you desperately need something that you didn’t pack, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to find it at your new locale. 

In Conclusion 

Finding ethical ways to travel is necessary to prevent the strain tourism can have on small communities. Luckily, there are quite a few ways to ensure you positively impact the places you go. You can be an ethical traveler by finding a helpful job, supporting local businesses, steering away from animal tourism, properly disposing of your trash, and packing only the things you need. 

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