What if every holiday you had made a positive change on the world in some way? What if every tourist cared about how to be a responsible traveller? We believe that travel can have transformative powers – not just for you, but for the people and the destinations that you visit.
In our experience, the most enriching holidays are the ones that make a meaningful impact on local communities, economies and the environment. The choices we make when we go away carry more weight than you might think. And, with sustainable tourism being one of the key elements of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, Responsible Travel is more important than ever.
Want to know how to be a responsible traveller? Here are a few ideas to help you make a positive impact through your travels.
Give Back To Local Communities
We firmly believe that community-based tourism is one of the best ways to spread the benefits of travelling to those that most need it.
Using community guides, staying in locally-run accommodation, dining in local restaurants and visiting areas where local people are empowered to manage their resources, will not only play a part in influencing positive change, but it’ll probably give you a more authentic flavour of the destination too.
See Wildlife Responsibly
The call of the wild can be very powerful. For many travellers, seeing wildlife isn’t just part of the adventure, it’s a bucket list experience. But how can you ensure you’re doing it responsibly?
The golden rule when viewing wildlife is to always keep a safe distance – this means no touching, riding, feeding or playing with the creatures you encounter. Choose responsible wildlife experiences, led by expert guides who encourage respectful practices. Using guides who provide education on animal behaviour and conservation issues will lead to a more rewarding experience – for you and the animals.
Remember, if a vendor offers hands-on experiences – be it elephant riding or selfies – there’s a good chance that the welfare needs of those animals aren’t being met.
Avoid Plastics And Pack Carefully
Sadly, more than 8 million tons of plastics end up in our ocean each year, disrupting delicate ecosystems and jeopardising precious marine life. Single-use plastics are some of the biggest culprits.
But there are ways that you can minimise your plastic waste when you travel – like using reusable water bottles, packing shampoo bars and bringing your own tote bag for shopping.
Thinking about what you pack and consume is one of the best ways to control your plastic and carbon footprint. Pack smart and pack light. Not only will this make your luggage lighter to carry but it may also lighten the load on the plane – a heavier plane requires more fuel.
Help Ease Overtourism
Did you know that some of the world’s most popular tourist destinations are suffering as a result of overtourism? This is when the sheer number of visitors puts a huge strain on the local culture, community and the environment.
To help combat the problem, we recommend veering off the well-trodden tourist trail. Many of our trips are geared towards exactly this. When exploring ‘must-see’ attractions, we try to visit them in a different way to reduce overcrowding – whether it’s approaching Angkor Wat from the back gate, taking alternative routes to Machu Picchu or sailing to the quieter parts of Ha Long Bay.
Travel Off Season
Similarly, if you are keen to visit popular destinations, why not do so during their off peak or ‘shoulder’ seasons? This will not only help minimise the strain on communities, hotels and the environment, but it will probably result in a cheaper trip for you too.
Although you may take more of a gamble with the weather, travelling outside of high-season often means cheaper flights, better hotel rates, smaller queues and the chance to explore a destination without the crowds.
Respect Local Culture And Customs
Travelling is one of life’s greatest privileges. Crossing borders and experiencing ‘new’ ways of life can help us develop a more open-minded outlook on our world and its diverse communities.
We believe that travel should be a mutually beneficial experience – for travellers and local communities alike. And as more tourists seek ‘remote’ adventures, it’s important to remember that these destinations are often home to indigenous cultures, whose customs and traditions may be vulnerable to Western tourism.
So, before you travel, familiarise yourself with the local customs and traditions – whether it’s dressing modestly in a temple in Cambodia or not showing the soles of your feet in Thailand. Buying an artisanal keepsake from the place you’re visiting is another great gesture of respect and appreciation. Not only will your support help local craftsmanship thrive, but it’s an opportunity to learn and connect.
We believe that travelling responsibly ensures that the cultures and natural environments of our destinations are protected, respected and healthy for future generations to enjoy.
By booking a Beyond Tourism holiday, you’ve already taken a big step towards being a responsible traveller. We’ve designed our trips to create as many positive impacts as possible, so just by being there you are already helping out in lots of ways.
Got any suggestions on how to make a positive impact through travel? We’d love to hear it! Email us at [email protected]