red and yellow colonial buildings in Cartagena

Ethical travel means a variety of things to different people. Different bloggers focus on environmental impact, cultural sensitivity, responsible tourism, and personal politics. I am of the opinion that we should do the most good and the least harm in the life that we are given, which also extends to travel.

I believe that we should be respectful of cultural differences and norms when we travel abroad. The ‘anything goes’ attitude of some travellers in other countries really upsets me. Some people believe that because they are away from their home, that they can act and say as they please, without consequence. There are so many disrespectful travellers who ignore cultural norms of other countries and carry on like drunken messes in public. The world is not our playground, and we should be respectful.

I also find it deplorable that travellers will engage in unethical activities just for the experience or the photo opportunity. Activities that spring to mind are visiting orphanages on a day trip, getting photos with sedated wildlife like tigers, riding elephants, and visiting villages where villagers are treated like they are part of a human zoo. Ethics shouldn’t go out of the window just because you are in a foreign country.

No one is perfect, and everyone makes mistakes in sometimes choosing an activity that turns out to be abusive to animals, or isn’t what it was advertised. But it is important that we inform ourselves as much as possible and strive to travel in an ethical way.