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Natural Wonders

Responsible Tourism in Scotland

The Scots view their land as sacred. Showing respect for Scotland, its history, the inhabitants, and her cities is surprisingly easy for those privileged to visit. With planning and awareness, we not only become responsible tourists, we also have a fuller experience. Following are steps that will make you a most welcome, considerate, and deeply happy traveler.

Leave No Trace Behind

Whether you’re exploring the wild Cairngorms, the Highlands and Islands, or strolling the streets of a fine city, leave a clean trail. In the countryside, if a sign asks you to stay on a path, do so. There may be small, exquisite plants that are fragile and vulnerable. And, if you see a plastic bag or wrapper that a stranger dropped, be a good sport and pick it up.

Your Accommodations

Whether you want to stay in a boutique hotel, a cozy B & B, a Manor House, resort, or a castle, choose places that have a positive effect on the local economy. Authentic Vacations, for one, has vetted all accommodations to ensure that they live up to the standards of a quality lodging, and a fair number that are listed as eco-friendly or green. Even in rainy Scotland, water is precious. If you don’t need new towels or soaps, it’s okay to pass on them for a day!


When you choose treasures and trinkets to bring home for yourself or as a gift, choose those that are made in Scotland. Sweaters, CD’s, woven goods, woolens, teas, spices, and locally distilled whisky are favorites. Consider a book that you wouldn’t find anywhere else, complete with photos to remind you of your travels, or stories that are about the heart and soul of Scotland. They fit easily in your suitcase.

Local Guides and Businesses

When traveling, use local guides and businesses. Their financial well-being supports the community. And there is the obvious—locals know their land and its stories like no one else. Chat with your guide or a shop owner. You’ll gain insights into how a community works and what their needs are. You’ll also pick up a new idea, a solution, or a way of seeing the world that you can bring home with you.

You can support renewing ancient waterways and green tourism on the 5-Night Scottish Highlands itinerary. Get onto Loch Ness, visit a castle, and go on a historic distillery tour—all have won Green Tourism awards.

Travel with Friends or Family

Consider decreasing your carbon footprint by traveling with your friends or your family—get a vehicle that holds everyone, and you’re saving on several rentals and fuel. When touring together, you can hop on a train if some of you want to get into the wilds, while others prefer to stay at your lodging. You can also support the economy by using a driver while you relax and enjoy the natural wonders.

Our 9-Night Ultimate Scotch Whisky Experience is the ultimate Eco-friendly Private Group Tour for friends and family. Imagine a private guide & chauffeur, whisky straight from the cask, the art of barrel making, a highland safari, tastings and exquisite dining on lakesides, mountaintops, and a castle. Beautiful!

Volunteer and Give Back

What skills do you have that you can share? What would you like to be part of that gives you the satisfaction of giving back? Research the part of Scotland you want to see, and tell your Authentic Travel Expert you would like a list of volunteer opportunities during your planned vacation. Help is often needed for archeological digs, wildlife and bird spotting and counting, animal care on farms, libraries, and teaching or building in cities and rural areas. You only need to come with an open heart and mind. Dive in and discover community in a truly authentic way.


Traveling off-season is an effortless way to be a responsible tourist, and Scotland is open all year long! Highways and roads are less busy, making it easier to just pull over and take in a particularly spectacular view. Sights that might otherwise be busy are less crowded, or you may find no crowds at all. Heaven. There are plenty of winter festivities, and when those are over? Get in out of the cold and sit by the fire in a cozy pub. It’s the best possible time to savor a glass of local whisky or a heady brew. As an added benefit, storytelling and music becomes a terrific community event. Join in and celebrate life!


Even in Glasgow or Edinburgh, you can get off the beaten path. Rent a bicycle and explore the quiet side of a city. Join one of Authentic Vacations tours, and you’ll visit hidden gem distilleries, ruins, castles, enjoy local music, and visit sites where history becomes real.

Our 10-Night Highlands and Whisky, Green Tourism award-winner, is a joy.

Get into those Highlands and hike with a local guide. You’ll view the land through their experienced eyes and see so much more than you would on your own. Be aware of your surroundings—once-in-a-lifetime experiences are all around you. Talk with your guide, ask questions, look for wildlife on the edges of a city, notice the sky and the stars, and get into the spirit of Scotland’s music.