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On Tour

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Souvenirs and shopping

Avoid buying souvenirs that exploit wildlife or threaten endangered species. Buying local souvenirs helps the local economy; whilst it is often customary and even fun to haggle, stop once you have got a reasonable price: the low price you achieve may be at the expense of the vendor.


Avoid disturbing wildlife and damaging natural habitats. Take great care not to touch coral reefs and not to feed or touch wild animals or fish. Stay quiet when viewing animals on safari.

Plants and shells

One of the joys of travelling is the spectacular variety of wild plants and sea shells you will see. These should remain in their natural environment, so avoid picking any. It is also illegal to import some plant species.


Items from ancient civilisations may still be found or bought in countries such as Peru and Turkey. Although they may appear discarded or available to buy, leave them where you find them.

Transport: big, small, new or old?

Transport fuels the local economy and provides a livelihood for many. Sadly it also pollutes. Be sure, however, not to just assume that the newer, energy-efficient technologies are always the most environmentally friendly. Many of Thailand's humble tuk-tuks, for instance, are old but run on methane gas, which is relatively clean.


Don't give out sweets, pens or money, especially to children. Giving to children will only teach them that begging is rewarding and can undermine parental authority. It is far better to interact with children. Cat's cradle, frisbees or simply exchanging drawings or photos can be more fulfilling and fun for both you and the children. Donating to a worthwhile charity will ensure longer term benefits to a greater number of people.


To state the obvious, the world is full of it and you won’t want to add to the problem. Many countries unfortunately don’t have adequate litter collections, let alone recycling or waste reduction schemes. For this reason it’s always best to err on the side of caution and minimise your waste as much as possible. Consider carrying a water bottle or flask that can be refilled, rather than buying new bottles every time.

Photos: think before you click

People in colourful local dress often make good subjects for photographs, but think before you snap. Many people do not like being photographed, and it may even cause offence. Regardless of where you are, always ask permission before taking any photographs.

For more information on taking photographs on holiday, download our photography guide produced by the University of Surrey