Heart & Mind

Heart lock

Travelling in Europe might not expose you to the extremes and outermost differences in the world, but still you’ll find many different cultures and customs within the close borders of this continent. And if you love travelling – you generally love the world. So respect its people, its animals and the nature. As a traveller you’re a guest in someones home – so travel with respect.

Here are 6 things to keep in mind and in your heart when crossing a border.

Support the locals

Think about where you do your shopping and where you buy your coffee when travelling – well, in general. Sustainability is about supporting the local and most likely smaller businesses, instead of always going for the familiar big brands and world-wide chains. After all it’s more fun to check out the local coffeeshop anyway, than to drop by a world-brand you can find anywhere.

Be respectful

Travel with respect for the local customs and with general respect for the people who welcome you to their city and their country. Be polite with staff and try to learn at least a few words of the local language – you can’t expect everyone to speak English. Never forget you’re a guest.

Care for the animals

Never support animals performing unnaturally to their nature or animal activities like bullfighting. Culture or tradition doesn’t make it right to torture animals, while activities like horse riding and husky-sled trips are completely okay as long as the general conditions are good. Never buy souvenirs made by making animals suffer, like ivory.

Care for the environment

Have the environment in mind, also on your holiday. Just because you have paid for your hotel room doesn’t mean need to run the bath daily, that you can’t use your towel several times or that it’s okay to leave the light on when going out.

Many hotels nowadays have environmental pledges and urges you to re-use the towel if not dirty. And of course don’t leave your trash on the beach or in the park – it’s just common sense.

Be openminded

Travel with an open mind and an open heart. Be open to cultural differences. After all that’s a big part of why we travel. Be open to understand the locals and the way they see the world – and open to try new things.

Make someone’s day

You can’t save the world alone and unfortunately it’s impossible to help everyone. But big cities often have a big amount of homeless people and although it might seem like a drop in the ocean it’s nice if you can share a few coins with someone who needs the food more than you need an extra coffee – just once in a while.

By Brian Schæfer Dreyer