responsible travel practices

9 Responsible Travel Practices To Consider For Your Next Trip

We’re a global economy now, and the ability to travel to the world’s furthest corners has become increasingly easier over the years. Some of the greatest sites in the world have limits to the number of tourists they allow so that they can preserve those locations. As such, you can imagine the strain and damage that tourist traffic can incur.

If we think we have a responsibility to see the world, then it stands that we also have a responsibility to do our part to preserve it.

More people can travel across the world nowadays, which means more travelers to service. All of those travelers together have an impact not only on the tourism industry but on the world. Without practicing responsible travel, tourist places will get damaged, and it may be harder to enjoy these beautiful spots again.

Thus, every traveler must be as caring and careful as possible. On that note, here are nine actionable tips for sustainable, responsible travel so that we can continue to see the world, check off our bucket lists, and protect it at the same time.

Things to Think About To Travel Responsibly

1 – Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

When you board a flight, you don’t think about the carbon footprint that the plane you are riding on generates for that one flight. To travel the world, though, you sometimes have no other choice but to fly.

Although you can’t avoid boarding a plane, it doesn’t mean you can’t reduce the carbon footprint you contribute to making. There are plenty of responsible travel practices that you can apply that will help reduce the carbon footprint you generate during a trip. 

For example, you should try and get a direct route to wherever you need to go because the plane landing and taking off is the part that uses the most fuel. If you plan on traveling locally or in the same country, try to use a train or a bus to get to your next local destination instead of a plane. Within a city, attempt to use public transportation. In addition, you can try to fly with only a carry-on and backpack to reduce the load you have to carry and the load that ends up on the plane.

2 – Combat Overtourism

The side effect of more people being able to travel is that some places have to deal with overtourism. Overtourism is a term that refers to the phenomenon of too many tourists in a single destination. 

The more popular a place is with tourists, the more expensive it becomes. It might not be a big deal for tourists, but for locals, it is. In addition, especially for world heritage sites, high tourist traffic can contribute to the deterioration of the site – leading to higher spending for preservation.

Knowing that this can happen, especially in popular destinations, you may plan to travel to these areas in the offseason to reduce the traffic during peak times; you may also decide to focus on local shopping and food options so that tourist traps do not continue to take away from local sales.

3 – Respect Local Culture

Before traveling to a country you’ve never been to, try and research the local culture first. Educating yourself about the intricacies of their culture is a form of respect for that particular country. It also helps open up your mind, widen your perspective on the world, and contribute to your personal growth.

Look up things such as customs that might offend the locals so that you can avoid them. It would be best if you also researched basic phrases or words in their local language before going.

4 – Book Sustainable Accommodation.

Another responsible travel practice is to stay in sustainable accommodations during your travels. For example, staying at a local guesthouse or smaller hotels is more sustainable than staying in a massive chain hotel. 

If you are staying in the middle of a more natural area, you should look up eco-lodges that are more environmentally friendly. Find these by looking for local indigenous communities and the availability of their accommodations in those areas. 

5 – Purchase Locally-Made Products

Supporting locally made products or local businesses is another way you can be a responsible traveler. Supporting family-run businesses is gratifying because you know you aren’t serving or making an already-rich enterprise richer with your money. You’re helping a family.

Doing this also ensures you’re getting a more authentic experience. You know you aren’t getting a manufactured version of the local culture.

6 – Consider Volunteering Your Time.

If you’re staying in a specific country for more than two weeks, you might consider volunteering some of your time. There are plenty of consoles or non-profit organizations that could use your help. It will be even better if you have a skill that would help in any way.

When volunteering, ensure you are fully aware of what you’re signing up for so that you don’t back out right when they expect you to be there. 

7 – Think & Go Green

Any responsible traveler should know that traveling isn’t the most environmentally-friendly activity. As mentioned, the flights alone create quite high carbon emissions. However, you can do your part by going green in other ways.

It doesn’t have to be anything too complicated. It can even be simple: supporting luggage brands that use eco-friendly materials and source ethical labor to make their products.

Another way you can go green is by not purchasing plastic water bottles. Instead, get yourself a reusable water container and refill that. That way, you aren’t contributing to plastic waste around the world.

8 – Leave No Trace

When you’re traveling, you should avoid leaving behind any trace, especially when hiking or in the middle of any natural site. Aside from not littering, it would be best to avoid carving your name on walls or writing your initials somewhere.

Aside from not leaving anything, you should also avoid disturbing nature by bringing home sand, rocks, or whatever from where you’ve been. 

9 – Refrain From Over-Bargaining

There are plenty of places where you would benefit from sharp bargaining skills. It is even part of the culture to bargain for a lower price in some areas. However, it would be best if you thought about whether an item is worth bargaining over or not. 

In some places, that extra dollar you save could go a long way for the seller. If it’s relatively cheap and the price isn’t offending, maybe you shouldn’t haggle over the price. 

Final Thoughts

There is more to responsible travel than those on this list, but starting with the ones here should get you far. This self-awareness will help you get far without disrespecting other cultures and the environment.

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