Traveling is a great way to explore new places, but it can also have a negative impact on the environment and local communities. With the world slowly emerging from the pandemic, it is more important than ever to be mindful of our actions as travelers and to consider how we can positively impact the places we visit.
Here are some tips on how to be a responsible and sustainable traveler:
Do Your Research Before you travel, take the time to educate yourself about the destination, including its COVID-19 protocols and cultural norms. Look for online communities of travelers who have visited before, or talk to a specialist to assess the impact of your visit. Consider booking with a locally owned hotel, avoiding peak season if the destination is prone to overtourism, and finding Indigenous tour guides.
Learn the Lingo: Sustainability and responsibility are buzzwords in the travel industry, but what do they really mean? Make sure you understand the definitions of inclusive, sustainable, regenerative, and certified green travel. Look for certifications from internationally accredited organizations, but don't rule out a destination just because it isn't certified. Evaluate it through the lens of diversity and equity instead.
Be Generous When traveling, tip more often and consider leaving something extra for the kitchen staff and other people who made your trip enjoyable. Remember that it takes a village to execute your trip and to keep you safe.
As we look forward to post-pandemic travels, it's crucial that we adopt a more conscious approach to our trips. It's not just about visiting destinations and taking in their beauty, but also about being mindful of our impact and leaving a positive impact. From researching your destination, understanding the local lingo, and evaluating the companies you book with, to being generous to everyone involved in making your trip a memorable one, there are many ways to ensure that your travels are sustainable, inclusive, and regenerative.
By taking these steps, we can help protect and preserve the destinations we visit and make sure that we're not just takers, but also givers. And, in doing so, we can create memories that will last a lifetime and also help sustain these beautiful places for future generations to enjoy.