Tips for off the beaten track travel

At Responsible Travel, we have tips on low carbon, nature positive travel that benefits local communities. Here are some more for the adventurous traveler...

  • There is no benefit per se in a more expensive hotel or restaurant.
  • Sometimes, restaurants with Formica tabletops in the docks near the fish markets are better than those with crisp white table clothes in the smart areas.
  • Choose carefully where to stay. Never stay anywhere that looks like a hotel from home unless you absolutely have to.
  • Choose places that are either extremely friendly, beautiful or – better still – once beautiful and now fading elegantly, quirky, or with a sense that something unexpected might happen.
  • If you can ever homestay with a local family, eat rice sat cross-legged on the floor with them, or hear wildlife at night through the sides of the tent then do it – it will be an experience you’ll never forget.
  • Buy evocative things with a story. If you can do so directly from the maker, then so much the better.
  • Above all, never ever go where everyone else goes. Be safe but investigate dives, especially if they have live music and are dimly lit.
  • A tip from a local person is better than from an app.
  • Shut down apps and maps. Take a left when everyone else is taking a right. Unpromising looking streets can turn up the best surprises. Pay attention to interesting or unusual people (locals or visitors), and where they go or what they do.
  • Always seek out markets, and always pay your way.
  • Finally, your phone camera can rob you of more experiences that it saves for you. Switch it off, leave it in your bag, or if you feel safe to do so, at your hotel.

With an acknowledgement to Christopher Gibbs, Aesthetics on the Skids, 1967