Every year we’re becoming more and more of our impact on the planet. And while we’re also becoming more aware of the benefits of travel for pleasure, we also know that it’s one of the worst things we can do for the planet.
Realistically, we’re unlikely to stop holidaying, so what can we do to ensure we’re at least attempting to minimise our eco-footprint and generally being a better tourist?
With the new year right around the corner, now’s the time to think about some new habits to weave into our travel moving forward that’ll take into account the social, culture and environmental impacts of your movements.
From shopping locally as opposed to at big chain stores, to opting for sustainable activities — like biking and kayaking to see the city instead of taking tours in buses or vans — here are a few of our favourite suggestions for how to be a responsible traveller.
When travelling, spend your money where it’s most valued — wherever it goes directly into the local economy and has a big impact on the community. It not only helps someone create a better life for themselves, but it also gives you a more authentic travel experience.
Respect the Local Culture
If you’re not taking the time to learn a little bit about the local customs and traditions of your travel destination, you’re missing out. It’s fascinating to learn about the way different people live and how they view the world, and who knows, you might even be able to take away a new habit to adopt into your own life.
Respecting the local culture also means abiding by some of its customs. For instance, many countries are more conservative with their dress sense, so it’s important that as a tourist, you do the same.
Minimise Your Waste
You might already know that waste management can be a major issue in developing countries, so it’s important you don’t add too much to that.
Avoid plastic bags from shops, and instead, put things in a backpack or bag. Eat and drink at restaurants and cafés instead of getting take-away, and bring a reusable water bottle with you that you can fill up from jugs at a hotel or restaurant, so that you aren’t having to buy bottled water.
Sign Up for Sustainable Activities
When you’re looking for activities to do, including tours, opt for sustainable options. Biking, hiking and kayaking will have a lot less of an impact on the environment than seeing an area on a bus, van or boat tour.
Do Your Homework
Finally, the best way you can be a responsible traveller is to do your homework. Before you head on your trip, research the customs and traditions, tour operators, sustainable activity options and eco-friendly accommodations. And then when you’re on the trip, try to talk to locals to find out more.