Regular travellers know that doing your homework before you leave is the best way to make your trip an enjoyable experience – and one that is respectful of the local people and environment. Just reaching the destination can be exhausting, so equip yourself with a little natural know-how before you go.
- Try taking Siberian ginseng a week before flying and for several days afterwards. It may help your body adapt more quickly to jet lag.
- On board, drink plenty of water because the recycled air in planes is dehydrating. Avoid carbonated drinks because they can cause gas or bloating.
- Move around to avoid the risk of deep vein thrombosis, a condition caused by sitting in cramped conditions for hours at a time. At regular intervals, walk around and do some simple stretching exercises.
- Try to sleep during the hours that correspond to nighttime at your destination.
- If you find noise stressful, wear earplugs. The noise of jet engines for a long journey may exhaust you.
- Use rehydrating salts once or twice during the flight and again after you arrive, to avoid cramping, another symptom of dehydration.
- Don’t drink alcohol as it also contributes to dehydration.
Where to stay
- To find eco-friendly hotels, use several online travel resources. Some of the larger hotels will have websites listing the practices they have in place.
- Some big hotels may not promote themselves as eco-friendly, but do give you the opportunity to conserve power and water – for example, by asking you to use your towels and bedding for more than one night. Also, turn off lights and heaters or air conditioning when you’re not actually in the room.
Avoid buying these souvenirs
Knowing what to buy and how much to pay for it can be a complicated issue in some countries. If you want to avoid exploiting the local people or environment, do some research before you go. To make sure you’re not unwittingly encouraging trade in endangered animals, don’t buy:
- Reptile skins
- Some corals and seashells
Be conscious of treading lightly
Wherever you go, leave a light footprint on the earth. Respect native flora and fauna.
- Resist the temptation to stray from designated tracks or boardwalks in rainforests. Otherwise you may step on and damage delicate plant life, or contribute to erosion in fragile environments.
- Don’t feed animals in the wild. Some become addicted to human food, to the detriment of their natural diet. It also causes animals to become less wary of people, so they’re more likely to be run over.
- Remember to dispose of garbage properly, especially at cooler, higher altitudes, where it takes much longer to biodegrade. This usually means carrying out garbage with you, so if you’re camping in alpine regions, compress your garbage and carry it out. Alternatively, book with a tour operator who organizes responsible garbage removal.
- If you’re camping or staying in a hut in a wilderness area, scatter waste water at least 50 metres from any watercourse so that you don’t contaminate it.
- When reef diving or snorkelling, ensure your equipment is well secured so it won’t drag on coral. In some areas, divers are discouraged from wearing gloves so they aren’t tempted to grab onto coral.
- Photograph marine life but don’t handle or feed it unless an expert is guiding you. Never chase or ride marine animals.