Changing Ethics: Once Common Travel Experiences that Now Seem Morally Wrong

As society grows, we realize some things we collectively celebrated aren’t ethical. Nowhere is that more apparent than in the travel industry, where adventures everyone flocked to thirty years ago are now considered wrong. 

Here are some of the most prominent tourist draws of the last few decades that we now realize were wrong to engage in. 

Riding Elephants

Elephants enjoying the sunset.
Photo Credit: Gregory Zamell via

Every traveler to Southeast Asia longs to interact with the world’s largest land mammal. Many places offer elephant rides, allowing tourists to get up close and personal with these majestic beasts.

However, we now understand these wondrous creatures’ profound intelligence and realize how awful the tourism industry treats them. Elephants endure abuse, neglect, and horrid conditions, all while being stripped from their families so travelers can have this experience. 

Bears and Coca-Cola

Mother brown bear standing next to her two curious cubs.
Photo Credit: WildMedia via

A place in Minnesota featured caged black bears who loved coke. Tourists could pay to feed the beasts this sugary drink, resulting in overweight bears stuck in tiny cages who constantly craved the unhealthy beverage. 


woman picking up litter as a volunteer, doing volunteer work
Photo Credit: Prostock-studio via

Many people take volunteer trips to underdeveloped parts of the world to “help” the people build schools, wells, and other activities. 

However, most people going on these trips don’t have the skills required to do these things, and the things they “build” don’t work. It is about making the volunteers feel good about themselves, not helping. 

Climbing the Ruins

Ruins of Pompeii
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People used to climb all over famous ruins like Stonehenge and Chichén Itzá. Though it was allowed, we’re now realizing that the massive influx of travelers and climbers can cause permanent harm to these ancient structures. 

Somber Places for Social Media Clout

Holocaust musuem at Aushchwitz.

Far too many people post cute selfies and “fun” videos of themselves on the grounds of humanity’s most atrocious acts. The gas chamber at Auschwitz isn’t the place for a live stream. We’re learning to treat these places with the weight they deserve. 


The head of a killer whale poking out of the water.
Photo Credit: slowmotiongli via

Everyone loved to visit Seaworld and watch the massive whales perform tricks. However, movies like Free Willie and Blackfish taught us that these majestic creatures deserve better. They’re trapped in tiny tanks, stripped from their families, and forced to perform. 

Airbnb Rentals

exterior of a large, pretty grey house
Photo Credit: Artazum via

Airbnb used to be a fantastic resource for meeting locales and exploring the local culture. However, as it exploded in popularity, the profiteers rushed in. Now, investors own a host of Airbnbs in every city, limiting housing for local populations. 

Beg Packing

traveler who is dressed for a flight is making the begging signs with his hands.
Photo Credit: Cast Of Thousands via

Rich kids head out to impoverished countries and then beg their way around. Their begging takes money from the local economy to support their travels. 

Poverty Tourism

A homeless person sitting on the street holding a sign as pedestrians walk by.
Photo Credit: Ground Picture via

Impoverished people aren’t zoo animals. We shouldn’t visit poorer countries just to watch the poor people who live there suffer. 

Tiger Temple

Two Bengal tiger lying on the road in the jungle at Bandhavgarh National Park in Madhya Pradesh.
Photo Credit: GUDKOV ANDREY via

Tiger experiences allow tourists to get up close and personal with the world’s largest and most dangerous cats. Unfortunately, tigers are typically drugged to prevent them from doing what tigers do, which raises many ethical questions about how we treat our fellow creatures. 

Visiting North Korea

Soldiers marching in PYONGYANG, North Korea.
Photo Credit: Astrelok via

Some people’s bucket lists include visiting every country in the world. However, it’s not ethical to see every country. Visiting fascist dictatorships like North Korea only puts more money into the hands of its oppressive rulers. 

Why You Should Visit Aspen in the Shoulder Seasons

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Aspen is a winter wonderland perfect for outdoor skiing adventures. But if you don’t enjoy skiing, you should consider visiting during the shoulder season instead. Here’s why shoulder season is Aspen’s best kept secret!

You Don’t Need to Travel Overseas for Ancient Ruins

Tower ruins at Hovenweep National Monument in the Canyons of the Ancients.
Photo Credit: Zack Frank via

Explore stunning ruins in your own backyard with an adventure through the Canyons of the Ancients.

Morbid Travel Destinations

Women dressed in Vampire cosplay to represent horror conventions.
Photo Credit: Pchelintseva Natalya via

Some folks can’t get enough of the macabre. Here are the morbid travel destinations that see the most travelers. 

Visit a Real Haunted Hotel

An imaginary haunted house - a huge mansion with a giant full moon behind to represent one of the creepiest fall activities to enjoy
Photo Credit: Razvan Dragomirescu via

For a real-life encounter, consider staying at one of America’s most haunted hotels

Enjoy Fictional Horror Instead

Woman making a scared face wearing horror cosplay like a painted skull from Dia de Muertos.
Photo Credit: Dia De Los Muertos via

Celebrate the horror genre by checking out the best horror conventions across the US

Source: Reddit