Advice, Holiday, Travel

How to be a good tourist

There was some bad press this summer, particularly in Spain, where locals got very vocal about the impact that over tourism is having on their home towns. Mallorca and Barcelona come to mind as two areas that have seen a huge mass tourism boom in recent years and residents have angrily voiced their feelings about the results they witnessed.

I by no means support the way that they handled this situation. I am a true believer that we should all travel and explore places we have never been to. Also, these towns need our tourism, the money we spend on holiday helps to support local businesses and the overall area economy.

However, as tourists we need to remember that local people live in the places we visit for just a few hours or a few days. I think there are some things we can do to reduce the overall negative perception of tourism.

Things that will help us to be good tourists

Sustainable travel and Conscious travel

The easiest way to stop negative tourism is to reduce the current affect we are having as tourists. Being active in conscious travel and sustainable travel are two ways that we can really help.

Conscious travel

“Conscious” = awake, thinking & knowing what is happening around you

Sustainable travel

“Sustainable” = causing little or no damage to the environment and therefore able to continue over a long time

I do feel that big package holiday companies, tour operators and cruise companies need to make some vital changes. But if we as holiday-makers start to implement some small changes ourselves, we will be taking a step in the right direction.

Some simple ways that we can have a more conscious and sustainable holiday…

Be respectful

Behave in the same way that you would in your own home town. Don’t leave rubbish behind or vandalize in any way. Be aware of what you are wearing in certain places and that your behaviour is always respectful to your surroundings. Pay attention to signs or posters with restrictions like ‘no touching’ or ‘no photos’ and leave things exactly as you found them.

Go with the flow

Many places we go abroad on holiday to run at a different pace to back home. Don’t fight it if the crowd is walking slowly down the street. Don’t get angry if the waiter is taking ages to bring your drinks. Just relax, you are on holiday and go with the flow and whatever relaxed lifestyle surrounds you.

How to be a good tourist 1 Seeking the Spanish Sun travel blog

Learn some phrases

Locals will really appreciate you attempting to speak their language. Even if it’s just a few key phrases, don’t be afraid to try. A simple phrase book or translation app on your phone will work. Even if your pronunciation isn’t perfect, it will come across to locals much better then you expecting them to speak your language.

Be open minded

On holiday you will see, hear and taste things that you don’t get back home, that’s part of the fun. Don’t try to change local customs, traditions and flavours to match what you are used to. That will only lead to them losing their local identity. Be open to new experiences and embrace the differences.

How to be a good tourist Seeking the Spanish Sun travel blog

Buy local goods

Wherever possible buy from a small independent shops or restaurants. These businesses really rely on us to ensure they survive. Try not to only buy from your hotel or the big supermarket. Small things like buying bottled water from a local shop, souvenirs from street stalls and having lunch at a family run café all make a difference.

Don’t be loud and disruptive

If you are walking by houses or you are entering a scared place lower your speaking tone. Try not to travel in big groups, particularly through narrow streets or in small shops. Breaking into smaller groups where possible will make it easier for you to interact with locals and cause much less disruption.

Going on holiday is all about having fun and relaxing but the more conscious we are of our behaviour and actions the better. I would hate to live in a world where beautiful towns, villages or beaches are open only to those who live there.

Do you believe you are a good tourist? Do you have any other good ideas or advice on how we can be better tourists? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

You might also be interested in my thoughts on…

Why I think everyone should travel 

Why I started a blog – I just couldn’t settle 

Save this to Pinterest to share these points and get people thinking about how we can reduce the negativity around tourism.

How to be a good tourist - Seeking the Spanish Sun travel blog


12 thoughts on “How to be a good tourist”

  1. We were actually in Barcelona and Mallorca this summer, ha ;). And I can understand why natives get upset. However, like you say, people should have the freedom to visit and tour where they want. I think you make some good points here, the most important one being open-minded. How can you enjoy traveling if you’re not open-minded? It’s a big world.


    1. I totally agree that being open minded is the most important point, its sounds so simple and obvious but I think people forget to be accepting to the differences when they go on holiday and small towns try to provide what “bad tourists” want. We should be free to visit anywhere in the world but we do need to consider the impact of our actions. I’m so glad this negativity didn’t affect your holidays this year 🙂 Hope you had a fab time in Barcelona and Mallorca!


  2. Such inportant reminders. I just got back from Lisbon and they have the same issues there. I believe that people need to be aware of the impact they have on the communities and people that they are visiting. I mean, if I love a place then I want to preserve it and do eevrything I can to keep it intact and be reapectuful. Great reminder!!


    1. It’s a shame the animosity seems to be spreading across Europe. Yes, why can’t people preserve the places they love? Thanks! Hopefully with us addressing the issue and talking about ways that people can be more aware, things will get better.


    1. You’re right it would change the place completely but unfortunately most people seem to forget that and make demands for home comforts which then leads to places losing their own customs as they cater for tourists. Thanks so much for reading this post and taking the time to comment.


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