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Traveling is a cultural experience. It’s an outlet to view new places and see new things. But here’s the truth: tourism has extreme, negative effects. Your experience shouldn’t affect someone else’s way of life and if it does, you’re traveling wrong. Over-tourism is a worldwide issue. Privileged humans can be seen traveling to beautiful places, then proceed to litter, disrespect local culture, cause immense environmental damage and as a result, drive up rent. However, there are solutions! Whether you find yourself planning to travel over winter break or looking forward to your summer vacation, there are specific things you can do as a tourist to make everyone a little bit happier.

research

This step requires advanced planning. Make sure to discover information before booking your flight or finding a place to stay. This applies to locations near and far! Ask some questions: what is the local language and currency? What is the culture like? What are the general laws and rules? Do I need to receive specific vaccinations? How can I learn proper etiquette (dining, greeting, etc.)? This type of research takes time. Plan accordingly.

Be clean

Trash does not belong on the ground anywhere, but it is especially rude to trash a place that you are visiting. Discard your trash/recyclables in the proper place.

Appreciate

If you plan on traveling to a place with a different culture than your own, you must learn to appreciate. Access your internal biases and remove prejudices from your system. After all, this is not your home and you are being welcomed regardless.

In summary, plan better and be better. Experiencing the world is a privilege. It is so exciting to be able to study abroad, plan a vacation or even travel a few states over. Regardless of how or why you are planning your travels, understand the effects of tourism and pledge to be better.

Abby is a freshman at Ohio University. She is studying Journalism News and Information. In her free time, Abby enjoys painting, reading, writing, and thrifting!
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