10 tips for ecotourists and backpackers

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1) TRAVEL LIGHT! 
 
Feeling free is one of the most sought after sensations on any journey. Carrying minimal luggage gives us better mobility and less worries.
 
2) USE ALTERNATIVE TRANSPORT
 
Choose buses, trains and shuttle vans over expensive taxis to save money and engage with the locals in their everyday transport. Whenever you can: walk, ride a bike and go horseback riding.
 
3) RESEARCH YOUR HOTEL OR HOSTAL
 
Check if the owners are local or foreign, their environmental practices, and how they treat their workers, to be sure your money is really going to help the local community.
 
4) TRY THE LOCAL CUISINE
 
Take advantage of the opportunity to sample food and drink of the place you are visiting. Choose small restaurants, home cooking, organic and seasonal produce.
 
5) BUY LOCAL HANDICRAFTS
 
If you're looking for souvenirs then nothing better than handicrafts made by local craftsmen using native materials. Visit fairs and shops run by their owners. Remember to take your reusable bag. 
 
6) DO ACTIVITIES WITH MINIMUM ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT 
 
Enjoying responsibly the nature and tourist attractions offered by a destination is our duty as conscious travelers. Hiking, biking, kayaking, bird watching, horseback riding, sports activities and visits to national parks are some of the many options to choose from.
 
7) ENGAGE IN INTERCULTURAL EXCHANGE
 
Respecting the different traditions and showing an interest in the local culture is key for any tourist who wants to be open to discovering new things. Talk with the local people and share the customs of your own country.
 
8) LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE
 
Traveling gives us many benefits and in many cases the opportunity to learn another language. Don't be shy and practice as much as you can. If you're traveling to destinations that share your same language, it's fun to learn new words and expressions.
 
9) SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE
 
Sharing our newfound knowledge with others contributes to personal growth. Show pictures. And the next time you travel: strive to keep a journal, write letters and send postcards. Your family and friends will thank you.
 
10) ENJOY YOUR TRIP
 
Traveling is always a positive and enriching experience. Treasure every moment in your memories, capture every landscape in your memory album. Give thanks, meditate and reflect. Make a difference, get involved and be more than just a witness...
 
 
 
The author, Florencia Oriolo, works for The Singular Hotel in Puerto Natales, Chile, and is planning to start a hotel consultancy firm. More information at her blog Turismo Sustent-hable

 

 
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