TRAVELLING WITH RESPECT
Although we don't wish to impose certain behaviour on our clients, we wish to encourage behaviour that's respectful of both other people (both locals and other clients) and the regions where you are taking your cycling or walking holiday. Below you'll find a few ideas of how you can help to do your bit. More information about walking with respect can be found in our top tips article - Walking with respect
Keeping it clean
Don't leave any trace of your passage - with the possible exception of your steps on our walking holidays! Make sure you don't leave any rubbish lying around (be careful when having lunch in windy conditions as plastic sacks can easily blow away) and take it away with you. Place rubbish in bins back at the car park or better still take it home and recycle and compst where possible. You may wish to help by picking up existing litter on the trails, but this is entirely up to you. Remember, destinations such as rural parts of Morocco do not have the same litter collection, never mind recycling or waste reduction schemes; so the less you create, the better.
Respect the wildlife
Avoid disturbing wildlife and damaging their natural habitats. Avoid make undue noise Wild animals are not used to loud noises and it will cause them to move territory which in turn could disrupt their behaviour and even put their survival at risk. Don't pick flowers growing in the wild. Some flowers are rare and are protected species, so not only would you be helping to destroy a local habitat, you could also be fined! Before you go on your walking trip, find out more information about the area you're going to and about the possible rules that govern your passage. Such rules may relate to wild camping, lighting fires, etc. In addition, never enter areas that are fenced off.
Communicating with the locals
Learning a few words of the local language is a great way to break down barriers, improve your holiday experience and to be as polite as you would be back at home. Hello, goodbye, please, thank you will help you go a long way.
Local people going about thier daily business can make for great photos, especially in cultures where the local dress is different to ours. However, just put yourself in their shoes, would you like it if someone took a photo of you in front of your house without asking! Probably not. Always ask permission before taking photographs.
Stick to the paths
Stay on the paths. Walking outside of the marked routes can cause unnecessary erosion of the soil and lead to scarring the landscape. The reduction in plant cover in certain zones could also increase surface run-off and lead to problems of flooding. In addition, walking outside of the paths may harm plants and insects. Make sure that gates are closed behined you, so as to ensure that animals remain where they should be and also out of respect for the land owner.
Religious customs and local traditions are often specific to each country and are an essential part of the local way of life. It is important to familiarise yourself with the local people's dress codes and way of behaviour and not to wear clothes or make gestures or behave in such a way that would affend them. You are likely to receive a better welcome by showing them respect.
Normally you'll not need to wask in streams, however if it is necessary do not use detergents or other chemicals. There are a number of eco-friendly soaps available for travellers. Remember, the stream may be used as a water source for drinking further downstream. Avoid buying souvenirs that exploit wildlife or threaten endangered species. Buying local souvenirs helps the local economy; whilst it is often customary to haggle, stop once you have got a reasonable price, going lower may make no difference to you, but may make a lot of difference to someone who is alot worse off than you. Don't give out sweets or money, especially to children. Giving to children will only teach them that begging is rewarding. Please interact with them but if you wish to give something, then it is better to give a donation of money or resouces such as pens to the local schools or to a worthwhile charity which will ensure longer term benefits to a greater number of people.
When out in the countryside, don't light a fire unless you have a very good reason to do so. In certain areas fires are forbidden. In addition, certain regions such as the south of France are susceptible to wild fires and every year thousands of hectaers of forest burn due to negligent acts. Prolonged dry conditions can also make areas that are not normally at risk such as the moors of the UK, susceptible to fires.
Where possible try to use more sustainable modes of transport to get to your walking holiday destination, such as the train. Please take a look at our page on the benefits of using the train.