“Take nothing but pictures.
Leave nothing but footprints.
Kill nothing but time.”
Being a tourist is one thing, being a responsible tourist is another. A trip is all about an experience and creating memories, but there is more to it. As a traveler, each one of us is responsible for ensuring that the act of travel does not disturb or disrupt the environment or the surroundings in any way.
At moneyfoodtravel.com, we believe strongly in responsible travel. While some travel etiquettes are the same for all destinations, some will be specific for certain destinations. Here we tell you things you should keep in mind when visiting a forest or a wildlife sanctuary. This may sound a bit preachy at times and of course this is all very obvious, but it is still important that we follow these to the tee.
- Follow park rules: Every forest or national park will have rules for visitors. You can get a copy of these on the Internet or the tourist information center. These would include timings when the park is open, safari timings, areas where you are allowed to go on foot and areas which are accessible though a safari and also core areas where you need special permission to get into. Other rules would include going on certain designated routes, speed limits of vehicles and whether you are allowed to stay in a park after sunset and so on. Not following these rules may attract fines and also put you in danger.
- The golden rule of silence: This is one rule that many of us might violate knowingly or unknowingly. Even the slightest whisper can be picked up animals far away. Any kind of noise disturbs animals, and loud conversations and screams of delight at spotting some animal are an absolute no no. Not only does it disturb animals, it also reduces your chances of spotting them as animals are likely to get scared and hide. If listening to music, use proper headphones or better avoid it altogether when inside a forest.
- Do not litter: Have you seen bottles, empty packets of chips and other garbage on a forest trail? While there might be rules for fines which punish littering, it is something that should come from within. Do not litter and if you see someone littering, stop him or her or complain to the relevant authorities. While plastic and other garbage dirty a spot, some of these might be ingested by birds and other animals causing them to choke or die. All waste should be brought back to the hotel and disposed off systematically. Smoking or use of alcohol while inside the park premises should also be avoided at all costs.
- Dress right: Have you wondered why forest explorers wear khakis, brown or green? Bright colours can disturb animals too. So avoid wearing bright colours like yellow, pink, red and orange because they draw attention to you and could scare animals or irritate them. Stick to lighter colours as mentioned above.
- Avoid perfumes and aftershaves: How often have you smelt the perfume or aftershave when someone enters a room and turned around to check? Animals have much sharper sensory perceptions and can be put off by strong perfumes and smells. Again, it reduces your chance of spotting any wildlife and hence needs to be avoided.
Following some of these basic do’s and don’ts go a long way in making us responsible travelers. It is our duty to keep them in mind and spread awareness among others.