Top Ten Tips for Responsible Tourism

Ultimately, the health of our planet is in all our hands - protecting our environment is a combined effort and that's quite a challenge. However, there are many organisations and initiatives in place that offer advice and guidance, although that doesn't take away our individual responsibility to do our bit.

Taj Mahal

1. See the World Wisely

If you have to flee the country to make the break, check out Responsible Travel or the Eco Tour Directory for holidays that give something back.

2. May Every Flight Count

Flying may be a necessary evil, but if you book with North South Travel, they'll give profits to development projects. You can also offset the carbon emissions with Climate Care or Carbon Neutral.

3. When to Fly

If at all possible, avoid night-time and winter flights. Getting airbourne during the day is much less polluting.

4. The Road Less Travelled

Looking for the perfect holiday destination? Choose a country where tourism can really make a difference to the community, then make sure you spend as much as you can with local shops and restaurants.

5. Buy Fairtrade

Supporting Third World farmers and communities, the Fairtrade organisation has established a standard of fair wages, decent working conditions and freedom from exploitation.

6. Shop Sensibly

Conflict or blood diamonds are those traded illicitly to fund brutal military campaigns in Africa. Ask before you buy: Is that jewellery conflict free?

7. Read the Labels

Palm oil is found in one in ten supermarket products - demand that has lead to the destruction of acres of rainforest in Malaysia and Indonesia to make way for palm oil plantations. Make sure products you buy use palm oil from a sustainable source.

8. Give a Little

Volunteering is the practical way to do your bit for the environment and have some amazing experiences. Try Action Earth for positions in the UK or the Volunteer Travel section of Responsible Travel.

9. Take a Stand

The environment is high on the agenda for every government, so make sure your vote is counted - after all, it's your future too. Visit Friends of the Earth for ideas on how you can have your say.

10. Spread the Word

A large part of the eco-effort is about letting people know what they can do, so why not become a catalyst for change? Forward this feature on, tell people about websites and organisations that play a part and get the ball rolling.