Travelling with Shanti Travel means choosing an authentic journey, one with a human face and one that is filled with beautiful encounters, shared moments and cultural exchanges. At Shanti Travel, we are above all a facilitator of meetings with the inhabitants who open the doors of their countries to you.
Did you know that the average duration of a trip to a distant continent such as Asia, is around 12 days?
On average, during these 12 days we interact with 70 people and make eye contact with 1,000 people. The money we spend will be divided between 2,000 people. We drink from 30 plastic water bottles, we cross paths with some 50 species of animals, including 2 endangered species and we will create about 20 kg of waste and consume about 3.5 tons of CO2.
To help make your journey as unique and responsible as possible, we suggest you follow these tips before, during and after your trip.
Before your trip
1) Preparation and Research
Prepare yourself for your trip by learning as much as possible about the country you will visit: the lifestyle, religion, heritage, environment, economy. Why not learn a few words of the local language as well to impress the locals? You will find a lot of information on the ‘Travel Guides’ section of our website. If you need more information on a specific subject, please do not hesitate to ask your Travel Expert who will happily answer your questions.
2) Travel light
Take only the essentials, and save space in your suitcase to bring back home-made souvenirs.
Try to remove all plastic wrappings and other packaging from your belongings that would be thrown away at your destination. The recycling of waste, and especially plastic is not well implemented in all Asian countries.
Finally, reducing the weight of your luggage is also a way to reduce CO2 emissions related to their transport!
3) Understand the tipping culture
Find out the average amount to tip drivers, waiters and guides in your destination. If unsure, you can always ask your Travel Expert for a guideline.
4) Keep an open mind
You will probably have the opportunity to read and hear many opinions about the country you will visit. Furthermore, you will also have your own personal attitudes and experiences about the destination and its people. Leave it all at home and come with an open mind!
During your stay
1) Respect the customs and traditions
Each country has its own customs and traditions. As a traveler, we must discover them with respect and compassion without imposing our own habits and/or lifestyle, paying attention to our manner of dressing, especially in places of worship, but also to signs of wealth that can contrast with the local standard of living. Taste the local cuisine, get to know the locals and be curious about authentic accommodations.
Did you know? You should always wear a sarong when entering a temple in Bali; never enter the kitchen of a Brahman and do not touch the monks in Burma or walk in their shadows.
Anger is poorly regarded in most Asian countries. We understand that sometimes it can be easy to lose your temper when things don’t go your way. However, here in Asia, you will find it much easier to solve the problem and get what you want if you keep calm and smile. A touch of lightness and a sense of humor will be your best assets in fixing a sticky situation and your Travel Expert remains available 24/7 to help you solve any problems you may encounter.
3) Negotiate fairly
There are many stores in Asian countries where prices are not displayed. The game of negotiation is sometimes inevitable, but do not always try to push the price to the cheapest possible; rather strive to reach the fairest price, where both parties are happy with the deal.
4) Ask before photographing
The best memories are often the interactions and meetings, so do not stay too focused on your goal of capturing the best photo. Remember to ask permission before taking pictures of people - most of the time you will have beautiful smiles in return, and sometimes funny poses. For children, ask for parental consent.
5) Do not encourage begging
If you wish, you can give to the elderly and the disabled who, if they are excluded from their families, often have no other sources of income.
Nevertheless, avoid giving to children. When you give money, food or gifts to children who beg, or you buy their goods, you encourage them to continue begging, which prevents them from going to school thus locking them into a cycle of poverty (child safe movement).
6) Respect the nature
Both on land and under water:
7) Save natural resources
Some countries and regions that you visit might suffer from lack of water and/or electricity.
Some hotels give you the option to not to change your sheets and/or towels on a daily basis in order to save water. After all, you do not change them every day at home either. The idea is not to restrict yourself, but to contribute to the economy of water and electricity.
8) Think about the welfare of animals
Attractions to avoid:
After the trip
1) Share your travel experiences with your family, friends, or on social networks to show not only the wonders, but also the fragility of our planet.
2) Prepare for your next trip, whether near or far, by becoming aware of the many virtues of tourism, not only economic and social but also cultural and environmental.