Responsible Tourism

Tourism is among the world's largest industries and a tremendous economic influence over communities and people. The responsible tourism movement was born so travelers would recognize that the choices they make while traveling can either benefit a host community or they can exploit the local culture and the environment.

Hostelling International promotes many of the same principles of travel, including the benefits of learning from others and seeing a different way of life through their eyes. We believe the tourism industry is capable of providing people with a better quality of life while preserving local resources because the power is in the hands of individual travelers.

Responsible tourism tips for your next trip:

Ride the train. Trains require half the energy of airplanes and are more efficient than low-fuel consuming vehicles.

Complete a comment card. If you vote in every election, you should be the first to fill out a comment card. Consumer feedback has the power to influence a company's business practices. The only way for a company to maintain their market share in a competitive industry is responding to consumer feedback.

Smell the flowers. Leave the American concept of time at home and take a leisurely walk to practice active listening and observing. This is a generalization, but most people in other countries devote time each day to reflect on experiences in order to deepen their understanding.

Embrace humility. The only expectation you should have when you travel is to discover the richness of other cultures. Show a genuine desire to meet and talk with local people.

Gain respect. If you feel the urge to berate someone in public, count to ten and cool down. Offensive behavior is not acceptable in any situation. It is a lot easier to gain a reputation than it is to gain respect.

Learn from your mistakes. Travel builds character only if you are positive and optimistic in every experience.