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Follow these top tips to travel responsibly.

Here’s a cautionary tale. And top tips to travel responsibly.

Tourism is a bit of a two-way street. Visitors are determined to uncover a hidden gem that’s not plastered all over the internet (sorry, Amalfi Coast as much as I love you) yet locals try to do as much as they can to keep their gems…hidden. At one point, it becomes a bit of a trade off because tourism brings in good revenue for a community – but at what cost?

As tourists, we’re essentially guests. We’re entering someone else’s home. With that comes a level of mutual respect. Would you put your shoes on the couch at grandma’s house? No. So follow these top tips to travel responsibly and make grandma proud.

Don’t do it for the ‘gram (AKA Instagram).

Fun fact: I have over 100,000 photos on my camera roll on my iPhone. I love taking pictures and on the trip I will always be that annoying friend just snapping away. But when there are rules in place, you should never break them to get a photo to post on your Instagram. Please, just don’t f*cking do that.

There’s a waterfall in Hawaii in a really dangerous area that has numerous signs to not trespass. But guess what? There’s a hole in the fence and if you search the location on social media, it’s flooded with photos from the very bottom of the falls…the place that isn’t open to the public.

Is that really worth it?

Show locals respect and immerse yourself in their culture.

For me, half of the adventure is who you’ll meet on your vacation. Locals are an invaluable window into the destination for authentic recommendations that you probably won’t find online. Remember that you’re guests in these people’s community, so show respect and leave it like you found it.

Top tips to travel responsibly include respecting local rules.

National Parks are the wilderness and not a man-made playground.

People see surreal photos on social media of jaw-dropping National Parks and quickly forget that this is not some man-made jungle gym but real life. Most deaths from National Parks happen from visitors going off of the trail and traveling solo without telling anyone where they’re going.

When capturing photos, please bear caution and be aware of your surroundings. Deaths have occurred at the Grand Canyon while taking photos and getting too close to the edge as well as snapping selfies at Yosemite National Park.

Rules are in place to keep you safe.

It’s funny how when an area is off limits, people get an unwavering urge to see it. As I mentioned above about Hawaii, there are rules and regulations to keep tourists alive! Trust the local authorities and don’t push your luck.

An example of this is in certain areas, the ocean and currents can be untamed and extremely rough. Don’t ignore signs telling you to not go swimming just because you’re feeling invincible.

Do your research before your trip.

If you’re unfamiliar with the tagline of the Boy Scouts, it’s to always be prepared – and that’s what you should always be. Destinations are completely different based on what season, time of year and other variables. Do your research and see what extra things you might need to pack. You can still have a spontaneous adventure while being a bit overprepared :)

Don’t forget to have fun (I’m not a Grinch I swear).

I don’t mean to sound like a scolding parent, but I’ve seen far too many accidents throughout my travels that could have so simply been avoided with a little common sense. So go explore and do some cool sh*t, but don’t let your guard totally down.

That feeling of excitement when visiting somewhere totally brand new to me hasn’t gone away. I get giddy every single time. What about you?

Be good,

JB

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