We get it! Going on holidays is the freakin’ bomb, but how awesome would it be if you could take a holiday and do something good for the environment at the same time?
Responsible tourism has been getting a lot of attention lately… Hello? The United Nations even declared 2017 as the year of sustainable tourism so things are definitely on the up!
But what does responsible tourism even mean and what small changes can you make to become a more responsible human when travelling? We’ve gathered up some hot tips and travel hacks to share, so you can become a responsible travel ninja, save some bucks and change the world along the way!
Check Out Your Options
You and I both know that getting that perfect holiday destination that hits all your needs down pat is ‘struggle street’, and when you’re trying to travel more responsibly, it can be even harder. You need to spend time researching, digging through individual websites and email the suppliers to ensure they are ticking the boxes of responsible travel, right?
But what exactly are those boxes that need ticking by your travel provider? I’d be asking questions such as: do they support local businesses, travel local and stay in locally owned or small-scale lodgings? These should all be adhered to where possible.
Look at How You’ll Get Around
Flights between destinations are probably more convenient, but are not without stress and are not always the most comfortable (unless of course, you are at the pointy end of the plane!).
Another ‘poo poo’ factor is the amount of carbon emissions released into the atmosphere during these flights. Depending on the duration, it could amount to the same CO2 emission as an entire household in a year! So when flying is only one of many options, why not take the road less travelled and jump on a ferry, go overland or experience the real essence of the destination by taking the local bus or travelling by train?
You’re sure to save some moolah and meet a few friendly locals along the way that will make your trip all the more memorable. If a flight is the only way, you could look at paying back the environment by voluntarily offsetting the carbon emissions.
Could You Travel with a Carry On Only?
Packing is an art in itself, and we are by no means experts in this field, but we’re all about minimalism and capsule packing – plus, there are so many benefits if you can get yourself sorted to travel with only a carry-on. Just think: when all those people are still waiting around the luggage carousel for their luggage, you’re already on your way to your next adventure. Plus lighter luggage means less weight in the plane, which means – you got it – less CO2 emissions!
Go Local Where You Can
Having a real and authentic experience is so much more realistic if you stay in locally owned or at least locally staffed small-scale lodgings and accommodations. By supporting local businesses you are supporting not only the business owner and his family, but also the community as a whole. This is because the income from your travel is spent locally, which in turn gives income to other local businesses… and on it flows. You’re really getting the hang of this now, aren’t you?
Eat like a Local
To truly immerse yourself in a new culture and destination, there aren’t any two ways about it, you’ve got to dig in and try the local cuisine. This is one of the easiest ways to become a better traveller. Move away from the hotel buffets that are full of Western style foods you can get any day of the week back home, and find local restaurants and hidden gems.
These are usually pretty obvious as they’re splitting at the seams with locals. Break the ice and get adventurous by asking the locals what it is they’re eating, how to order it in their local language (yep, they are going to love you big time for trying the local lingo too!), then move to the front of the line and dive on in!
Holidays are a time to relax and enjoy yourself but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be responsible and mindful of the local cultures, rituals, religious sensitivities and so on. Just like you would expect someone who is visiting your hometown to do, remember to dispose of your rubbish thoughtfully, and switch off the air conditioning and television when you leave your room.
Respect the wildlife and their environment, buy locally made handicrafts and products, and respect the livelihoods of local vendors and artisans by paying a fair price. Also, look to respect human rights and protect children from exploitation. Refrain from giving money to begging children and support community projects instead. Always ask before taking photographs of other people, as their privacy matters as much as yours.
Trailblazers Travel is a responsible tour agency based in Australia who prides itself on providing real, authentic and immersive small group tours. For more information visit our website, where we’ve done all the hard work for you. Your only job is to rock up to the airport on departure day!
Browse the holidays that we have on offer, including South Africa tours, India tours and Borneo tours, or join one of our other small group tours. We bet our bottom dollar you’ll find something that ticks all those boxes. Why go on just another regular holiday when you can take a trip that will leave you with your heart, body and soul enriched by the experience?
Trailblazers Travel is your eco travel expert, providing ethical, responsible and sustainable holidays and safari experiences including South Africa tours, Cape Town tours, Tanzania tours, Serengeti safaris, Zanzibar tours, Victoria Falls tours, Rwanda tours, India tours and Borneo tours. Browse our website for more information or get in touch with us today!
Trailblazers Travel is also proud to introduce Carry On Watson, a customisable luggage company that makes a difference. Check out their black carry on luggage with floral motif.