Because of today’s tech, you could be travelling half way around the world next week with a few clicks from your smart phone. Ethical travel has become a major buzzword in recent years. Tourists are becoming more aware of the impact their travel choices can have on the environment and local communities. Have you ever wondered ‘how can I be a more conscious traveller?’. Well look no further. I am going to share some simple steps so that YOU can become an ethical traveller TODAY.
1. Look further than the guidebook
So many of us go straight to the ‘top 10 hotels or places to see’ kinda guides because we want to get the best for our buck and short vacation time when travelling. Look further than the guidebooks and do a little bit of research on the history, cultural side etc. This will help you so so much when travelling- from things to knowing why people hate a certain politician or knowing the different regions and historical attractions. Honestly, locals just love it when you know even the smallest bit about their country’s history or what they represent. This can also help you decrease language barriers between you and them which can be a big help.
2. Don’t buy water unless necessary
Bottled water takes up a major chunk of plastic waste that is produced every single day, and a large part of this waste is not recycled. I really understand that using local tap water or water from untreated sources isn’t the best idea when you are travelling because it can lead to significant health problems. Solution? Use a Water To Go bottle.
These bottles deliver safe, healthy water from ANYWHERE worldwide. Something I LOVE about these is that they are eco friendly! The filter membrane is biodegradable and the shrouds are recyclable. Buy yours here
- Water-to-Go filters remove bacteria, viruses, water borne disease, protozoa, heavy metals and chemicals! Click here for a full list.
- They remove Chlorine and Fluoride from tap water.
- The filter will eliminate harmful contamiants from the water but allow the beneficial minerals such as sodium and magnesium to pass through leaving you with the healthiest water possible.
3. Support local businesses
Spending your money at local markets or supporting local businesses – where most of the produce is locally sourced and grown is hugely important in terms of putting your money where it can have the most impact. Like ethical fashion, you put your money towards businesses that support their workers with fair wages, education etc. Don’t get me wrong, supermarkets create and further many jobs in the economy however most of the trade to market stalls means you are left knowing that the majority of the money you spend there is going straight into the pocket of those who have worked hard for what they have.
4. Avoid ‘drive-by’ tourism
Although checking off the Top 10 list could provide some awesome photos for social media, consider the possibility of the empty feeling left when we can’t speak further and in depth about the place we visit. Not only that, rethink about how the places you visit are going to look in 100 years. Appreciate what you see now, it may not quite be the same later on…
5. Avoid questionable animal activities
Part of being a conscious traveller means that asking the hard questions about the treatment of animals before you go is beneficial. Although interacting with rescued animals might seem okay, the rise in demand for animal tourism can encourage poachers and smugglers to take more and more animals from the wild. Going to an animal sanctuary and feeding, patting or generally caring for animals can be so much more rewarding to both you and the animal rather than going to some kind or circus, riding animals etc. A controversial animal tourism topic is ‘Is elephant riding okay?’ – What do you guys think about this?
6. Pack light
One of the best things you can do is pack light. Don’t go out and buy unnecessary travel items, because, really, most travel items are unecessary. You don’t need a whole lot when you travel, so don’t consume only because something is sold or promoted as making travel ‘easier’. Also, taking a minimal amount of luggage means that finding your ‘8th pair of shoes which has miraculously gone missing’ won’t be an issue.
7. Explore your own backyard first
I could not express the importance of this enough! Many of us rush off to destinations far away and do so in the most comfortable way possible. Not a lot of people decide to stay in their own country and get to know it further. This way you can choose more environmentally friendly travel options like walking and cycling — depending on where you are located and also gain a much deeper appreciation for what you have close by.
Of course, not everything you do on your travels will be perfect. The right decision won’t always be easy, and we won’t always make it. But the important theme underlying all of the above steps is that research and awareness are beneficial for becoming a more ethical, more conscious traveller. And, once you’ve further educated yourself, don’t be scared to share your knowledge and awareness with others that you meet along the road.