Because no one wants to damage the very environment they have traveled to see, the Travelers Conservation Trust encourages all travelers to follow the Travelers Code of Ethics. These guidelines will help you interact with nature responsibly, and enhance your experience while you travel.

 Aspire to invisibility

-Move cautiously and quietly in natural areas so as not to disturb birds, animals and plants
- Do not collect natural souvenirs. Respect the sanctity and integrity of ecosystems and the terrain on which you walk
-Do not use recordings, decoys or loud noises to get a better view of birds or wildlife
- Accept that campfires are inappropriate in areas where wood is scarce

Leave no evidence of your visit and vanish without a trace

- Do not leave litter, charcoal or footprints
- Leave extra packaging for items such as film, cloths, toiletries, and foods, etc. at home
-Do not distribute non-degradable, breakable gifts or items in non-degradable packaging
- Use provided toilet facilities. If toilets are not available, carry a trowel to bury waste and burn toilet paper. Never dispose of human waste within 100 meters of water
-Avoid consumption or purchase of animal or plant products harvested from unmanaged wild populations

Respect local cultures

-Employ local residents, not foreigners, as guides and outfitters whenever possible
- Learn a little of the local language and your host staff’s names
- Determine from your guide the proper local etiquette for greetings, eating, and culturally-appropriate way to reciprocate for local hospitality
- Evaluated requests for gifts carefully. Understand the cultural context of gift giving. Only give gifts after a relationship has been established
- Invite local people or guides to visit you in the United States only if you are fully prepared to pay all expenses and compensate your invitee’s family for loss of services
-Take photographs within the guidelines suggested by your guide. Respect privacy requests. Compensation for appearances in your photographs may be a legitimate request
-Don’t make promises you may not keep. Like sending photos
- Purchase souvenirs close to their point of origin, from the original makers if possible. Don’t drive an excessively hard bargain. If moderate discussion does not derive what you consider a fair price on your terms, don’t buy
- Modesty is always cross-culturally appropriate. Dress neatly and conservatively in your own cultural tradition
-Don’t wear clothing or jewelry if you do not fully understand its cultural and ritual significance
-Listen and learn. Provide a balance view of Western material culture and encourage people to appreciate their own cultures and environments
-Don’t rely on local markets or village food supplies to outfit your trip. You can cause local inflation and food shortages.

About Travelers Conservation Trust:

The Travelers Conservation Trust [TCT] was created by Wildland Adventures founder Kurt Kutay in 1986 as a non-profit, affiliate organization dedicated to educate travelers in responsible and sustainable tourism. From its inception, TCT has worked to form and strengthen links between environmentally concerned travelers and host-country grassroots conservation groups. To learn more visit


SOURCE: Travelers Conservation Trust 


Ellen Barone has been creating words and images for travel and tourism since 1998. She co-founded and publishes the group travel blog and is currently at work on her first book "I Could Live Here".