Now more than ever, travel comes with a sense of responsibility. The silver lining of the pandemic is that it has accelerated a movement towards traveling more mindfully, with a greater focus on a sustainable future. More and more travellers seek those travel brands/companies that aim to make a meaningful impact on the world.
• There’s an increasing desire to go deeper, finding real, authentic, and enriching experiences.
• To go further, venturing off-the-beaten-track, following the road less travelled in search of secluded sanctuaries and untouched pockets of the planet.
• To stay longer, allowing more time to truly immerse yourself in a place. And most importantly, to make it count.
Here are 10 tips on treading lightly, but with great impact as travel has a magical ability to not only change your world but others’ at the same time.
1. Follow the road less travelled
Pick lesser-known destinations. Not only does the road less traveled often have much more to offer, but you’re likely to find communities that rely heavily or solely on tourism. You have the opportunity to keep communities afloat while discovering a unique part of the world.
2. Be curious
Do your research to understand if your values are shared. Ask questions along your journey to find out what they’re doing to make a difference. Do they run any conservation programs or support local communities? Do they go the extra mile to minimize their footprint wherever possible?
3. Be gentle
Respect the environment and its wildlife. Don’t touch – take a step back and observe, whether on land or underwater. Don’t interfere in order to get the best picture. Don’t feed wild animals or birds. Don’t litter, and don’t just walk past. Sign up for a beach cleanup. There’s one golden rule to remember, aim to leave a place as you found it (or better).
4. Learn something new
Spend time with guides, attend a talk, or simply take a walk in wild. Keep your eyes and ears open, “nature speaks to those who listen”. Learn about the environment and discover what makes each place unique. Find out if there are any conservation or community activities you can get involved in on the ground.
5. Remember the little things
Be mindful in your everyday decisions, however small. Say no to single-use plastics, choose glass, opt for reusable straws and reusable bags, go paperless wherever possible, be water-wise, and turn off the lights when not in use. Keep the basics in mind on holiday too.
6. Support local economies
Choose travel companies that support local economies by sourcing locally as much as possible, whether that’s through their employment, their food, or the items they stock in their boutique. Your travel decisions have a direct knock-on effect.
7. Connect with community
Travel broadens the mind. Take time to understand different cultures and approach differences with genuine curiosity and respect. Wherever you go, a couple of small things will always stand you in good stead: learn a little lingo, even if it’s only a poorly-pronounced ‘thank you’, and show your appreciation.
8. Slow down
Choose to linger longer. Give yourself more time to really get to know a place, before rushing off to the next (and avoid the extra miles). Travel slowly and savour the beautiful moments in life.
9. Take the kids with you
Learning starts young. Don’t wait until they’re “the right age” to travel. They might not remember all the details, but their travel experiences will make an imprint on their character, mindset, and future worldview.
10. Take your learnings home
Even if it’s just one thing, note it down, remember it, practice it, and tell someone about it. Small actions can have a great impact.