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Do your research, learn the local language: Tips to travel smart & safe

Consider spending money in the local economy rather than at international hotel chains.

ET Bureau|
Jul 11, 2019, 05.17 AM IST
on a high
ON A HIGH: A queue of climbers line a risky path on Mount Everest.
In cities and destinations around the world, from Barcelona to Bali, ecotourism has become a yearround problem. In the Himalayas, climbers at Mount Everest are concerned that the peak has gotten too crowded, contributing to the highest death toll in years. So how does one visit an attraction without harming it?

REMEMBER, IT'S NOT ALL ABOUT YOU: Research the place you want to visit. Learn about behaviour and environmental policies. If youfre booking through a travel service, ask for guidance. It might seem logical to put on a tank top and shorts in Thailandfs heat. But if youfre going to visit Buddhist temples, itfs considered disrespectful. Be sensitive and take cues from local residents.

PUT PICTURE-TAKING IN PERSPECTIVE: With phone cameras, we've become accustomed to taking pictures constantly. Taking photos of people, their children and homes can be invasive. Also, respect the environment; don't walk on the wild flowers in your quest to get a good photo. And consider the risks: At Kaaterskill Falls in New Yorkfs Catskill Mountains, four tourist deaths in recent years have been attributed to dramatic selfies.

GIVE BACK: Consider spending money in the local economy rather than at international hotel chains, and seek locally owned restaurants and bars. To help the environment, use public transportation as much as possible. Finally, take your packaging with you when leaving a place. And never buy gifts made from endangered animals or other illegal materials.

Even in places where many locals speak English, learning a few words in a local language . please, thank you, yes, no . will earn you goodwill and a more authentic experience. Amid the excitement of even bucket list-level travel, keep in mind:What if this were your city?
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