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How to teach your children to be responsible tourists

We only have one planet but if you open up the newspaper on any given day, you’ll likely encounter multiple stories about the negative impact humans are having on it. It’s clear that there is a need for drastic change.

When it comes to raising children, one of the greatest ways to bond with our families is to share trips and holidays. The world is vast, and there are so many beautiful and interesting places to visit and areas of outstanding natural beauty to explore. However, it is important that while we share the beauty of our planet with our children, we also offer them an insight into its fragility.

This attitude extends across not only our daily habits – leading by example with recycling, healthy eating habits, waste reduction and other green positive behaviours, but also educating them about being a good traveler.

As travel has become more widely available and costs have fallen over the past few decades, many of the once fabled or rarely visited destinations and wonders are now struggling under the weight of tourism. In turn this has led to damage to archeological sites, destruction of habitats and a whitewashing of rich and independent culture in favour of homogenous tourist-pleasing developments. Here is a list of some easy ways to teach your children to be better travelers.

A key way to foster eco-friendly and sustainable attitudes with your children is to always explain your reasoning behind decisions that are motivated by sustainability. For instance, if you are encouraging them to take a short shower then explain that this to save water. If you decide to walk to the city centre instead of taking a taxi, then explain this is not only to save money but also to reduce your carbon footprint. This can lead to all kinds of interesting conversations with your children.

One way to teach your children about the impact of their travelling habits on wildlife is to spend the day doing some conservation. For example, you could take a trip to the seaside but merge this with an opportunity to do some litter picking. You can enjoy all the usual treats of ice cream, chips and arcade machines but try and make a positive impact by reducing the amount of litter – particularly plastics – that end up polluting our oceans.

Another way to encourage responsible tourism is to expose your children to culture. This means tasting new foods, immersion in new languages and different cultural traditions. This kind of attitude not only means that you are more likely to help support local businesses and workers but that your children will be more open minded when it comes to meeting people from different backgrounds and cultures.

Teaching your children now to be thoughtful in their actions can help them to alter the courses of not only their own lives, but also the lives of others. So why not start educating your children about responsible tourism today?

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