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How to Travel Safely and Responsibly in BC

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We all have a role to play in ensuring safe and responsible travel in British Columbia. Even if you’re vaccinated, there are protocols and expectations to be considered to keep you and our communities safe. Follow these nine tips to ensure your visit has a positive impact.

1. Plan ahead

Take more time to plan ahead. Make reservations whenever possible. Many businesses and services across BC have adjusted their schedules and policies to ensure your safety. Some may still be operating at a reduced capacity, with limited hours, or require advanced bookings.

Tip: See accommodationtransportation, and experience provider listings to start your research, visit IndigenousBC.com for information on Indigenous travel experiences, or contact the local Visitor Centre for more information.

2. Prevent and report wildfires

Nature has been there for us throughout the pandemic, now we need to be there for nature. As conditions can change rapidly, it’s important to verify information from official sources both before you leave and during your trip, so you can make informed travel decisions. Check BC Wildfire Service for fire bans and fire safety tips @BCGovFireInfo on Twitter. Report a wildfire by dialing *5555 on a cell or calling 1-800-663-5555 toll-free.

Tip: Before and during your trip, visit ExploreBC.com/TravelUpdates for more wildfire safety resources, reach out to the business you have booked with or contact the local Visitor Centre for real-time information about local conditions. BC is a very large province and there are plenty of options, if your plans need to change. The Visitor Centre is a great resource for activity and accommodation suggestions, should you wish to modify your plans according to the weather conditions.

3. Be respectful

Respect the people, businesses, and communities you visit this summer. Please also respect a community’s wishes if they are not yet ready to welcome visitors. Responsible tourism means that the experience creates a positive impact for everyone involved–both residents and visitors alike. You may see new protocols and policies within communities to ensure your safety; please respect the guidelines they’ve put in place. Contact the local business(es) you plan on visiting to make sure you understand the latest guidelines.

Tip: Visit ExploreBC.com/TravelUpdates for more “Know Before You Go” information, or contact the local Visitor Centre for more information.

4. Support local businesses

BC’s tourism businesses are eager to welcome you back this summer and many communities rely on your support. During your travels, dine at the local restaurants, book an activity or a tour, and find a unique accommodation. BC’s tourism industry is made up of small and medium-sized businesses who will surely provide a memorable experience.

Tip: Speak with local Visitor Centre staff to learn more about how to support local businesses.

5. Be AdventureSmart

This summer, many visitors are looking to explore the outdoors in new ways, such as hiking on a new trail, taking up mountain biking, or learning how to kayak. No matter what outdoor activity you are planning, do your research in advance and be prepared. Learn the three Ts—trip planning, training, and taking the essentials—and apply them to all your outdoor adventures.

Tip: AdventureSmart.ca will be your best friend when it comes to outdoor safety in BC.

6. Practice Leave No Trace

When exploring BC’s outdoors, always leave it in a better state than when you arrived. Respect local wildlife. Minimize the impact of campfires and check BC Wildfire Service for fire bans and fire safety tips. Pack out what you pack in and dispose of waste properly. These are just some of key principles of Leave No Trace, a set of seven guidelines for enjoying the outdoors responsibly while minimizing your impact on the landscape.

Tip: Visit LeaveNoTrace.ca to learn more about responsible outdoor recreation.

7. Respect Wildlife

BC has an abundance of wildlife that can be very exciting to see. If you encounter wildlife during your
adventures, please remember to keep your distance and recognize that you are a visitor to their home. Observe them quietly, refrain from feeding them, and keep your dog on a leash to avoid stressful encounters.

Tip: Visit LeaveNoTrace.ca and WildsafeBC.com for more tips on how you can respect wildlife in BC.

8. Practice Water Safety

From pristine lakes to rapid rivers and open ocean, British Columbia is a haven for watersport enthusiasts. While you’re out on the water, remember to wear your lifejacket, know the water risks, and always carry the required safety equipment.

Tip: Visit AdventureSmart.ca and CoastSmart.ca to learn how to stay safe near or in the water.

9. Be Kind, Be Calm…Be Patient

Remember, activities may take longer than usual, or places may be at capacity when you arrive. Practice patience. Have a back-up plan researched and ready. Be calm, patient, and kind, and remember, we’re still in this together.

Feature image: Nuk Tessli Wilderness Experience | Kari Medig

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