Conscious travel is making sure that when travelling, you are mindful and take into consideration the impact of your trip on the environment and the local surroundings. Read onto learn how you can be more conscious while travelling.
Conscious travel is making sure that when travelling, you are mindful and take into consideration the impact of your trip on the environment and the local surroundings.
Choosing a more conscious travel experience can mean taking a local’s perspective, integrating with the local community and seeking meaningful experiences, all of which will provide a more authentic experience as well as being more environmentally friendly.
Being a conscious traveller doesn’t mean giving up all of your travel luxuries, instead it means making small and conscious steps towards reducing your carbon footprint when travelling. The aim is to create a sustainable travel economy that positively gives back to the local community and its environment.
We have compiled a list of easy changes to assist you in becoming a more conscious traveller:
Choose a destination that is committed to sustainability, promotes human rights, preserves the environment, supporting social welfare or has a community-based tourism industry. Alternatively, you can choose a destination that doesn’t get much tourism.
Air travel leaves a large carbon footprint so when possible its best practice to use train or bus travel. If this isn’t possible, then try and opt for eco-friendly airlines or airlines with strong sustainability policies or one with a with carbon offset programs and direct flights.
While on holiday choose train, local buses, pushbikes or go on foot as a travel method.
Select eco-friendly accommodation where possible or accommodation with a cause, such as donating to a local charity or sustainability project.
Do your research and see what eco-friendly habits the accommodation participates in, such as using refillable toiletry bottles, having recyclable waste facilities, using solar power and LED light bulbs and source fresh produce locally and ethically.
You can also stay in smaller locally-owned accommodation such as guest houses or B&Bs instead of large global chains.
Make environmentally friendly decisions while travelling. Remember everything do can help, including the following:
- To avoid waste while travelling, pack a refillable water bottle, your own cutlery set and a reusable shopping bag. You could also pack your own towels that can be reused during your stay
- Still recycle while on holidays, (see here for our article on reducing plastic)
- Choose reef friendly sunscreen to conserve the local sea life
- Be water conscious in your accommodation by taking short showers and re-using linen rather than getting it clean every day
- Support the local economy, by shopping in local shops, restaurants and tour companies.
- Don’t take advantage of locals by bartering too much, a few dollars to us may be a week’s food to them
- When in your accommodation turn air conditioning and lights off when out or not needed.
Do your research and prioritise animal welfare by only participating in ethical animal experiences. Some tourist experiences do not have good standards in the way they treat their animals.
Make sure you don’t disturb local wildlife, meaning that you shouldn’t touch, feed or disrupt wild animals as this may alter their natural behaviour.
Do not buy souvenirs or products made from animals or eat exotic cuisine that includes endangered species or involves animal cruelty.
Before visiting a new place research local culture to ensure you respect the locals and know what is and isn’t appropriate. For example, certain cultures require the covering of shoulders and/or legs in public or specific touristic attractions. Remember to enjoy the differences by respecting and making the most of the different cultural experience.
While volunteering at schools and orphanages is often viewed positively, there are cases where it can produce more harm than good. Look for ethical volunteer or charity organisations, where volunteering does not replace the good work of local people. Care is required around children forming attachment issues with so many volunteers or in the worst case scenario where children are placed in orphanages solely for the benefit of western tourists. Also avoid giving money to street children.
Everyone can make a difference and have a positive impact by making some of these small changes when travelling. let’s all work together to make a more sustainable travel economy!