- Pack bio-degradable toiletries. The ground water you may be contaminating is not your own.
- Reuse your water bottles – wash them out and refill them.
- Ask hotels not to change towels and sheets while you are there. Let’s be honest, people do not use a new towel or change their sheets daily while at home.
- Remove all excess packaging on items you are packing as disposing of waste is difficult in remote places.
- Use water sparingly – it’s very precious in some areas and we tend to use far more than local people.
- Ask your advisor whether there are local conservation or social projects, or issues that you should be aware of and if/how you could help support them.
- Hire a local guide – you’ll discover more about local culture and lives, and they will earn an income.
- To support the local economy, buy local products rather than imported goods; for example try the street foods and buy local produce.
- Always avoid taking advantage of the locals; a simple example is to ask permission when taking photographs of local people. (Even though we ourselves may get sneakily snapped, it’s only polite to ask!)
- Leave a good impression. A positive experience with locals will pave the way for those coming after you.
As travellers, we may be perceived as rich. Be generous in a constructive way by promoting the local economy. Avoid and denounce exploitation of local people and be wary of being exploited yourself.
These tips are not restricted to the October national holiday – be sure to travel responsibly all year round!
Here you can find an article on Chinese National Holidays.
And finally, here is a brief guide on 5 of the top places to visit in China during your week off.