What is Responsible Travel and Why Is It Important?
Thinking ahead and planning your trip wisely can allow you to have the best experiences around the world while being conscious of responsible travel.
As we move forward in life, we are encountering so many new terms and words for things – especially travel – and we are not quite sure what they mean. See, as our society grows and changes, so do our preferences. With the current generations driving the course of our future, the focus has turned more toward a mindful, environmentally friendly outlook.
We want to do better for ourselves and our planet. And this is beginning to show in our travel trends.
So, what is responsible travel? And why is it so important? That is exactly what we are here to find out today.
What is Responsible Travel?
When countries, cities, towns, and communities open their doors for tourists to visit, they expect to reap the rewards. They want the exposure and the increased economic gains to help propel the area into the future. And who can blame them? So many areas have relied heavily on tourism to drive their economy – and they have done well.
What these same areas didn’t expect, though, is the damage that heavy tourism can leave. For instance, places that have been home to many travelers over the years can end up dealing with consequences such as:
- Loss of habitats and nature
- Traffic congestion
- Destruction of natural (and historical) landmarks
- Drying up of natural resources (and other resources)
- Loss of cultural identity
- An increased cost of living
- Increased crime rates
- Increased pollution of all types
This can lead to a breakdown of the country or community, losing a sense of what it was, leaving it sort of washed up and shoved aside.
We need to stop doing this – and we need to start respecting the land and areas where we decide to travel. This is where responsible travel comes in. It is about being conscious of our impact – taking the focus away from visiting places on the surface and turning it towards the culture. Responsible travel means embracing this current culture – and showing it gentle respect.
Can you change your way of travel to focus on the community as a whole rather than your own needs and desires?
How You Can Travel More Responsibly?
If you are ready to transform your travel plans into something that has minimal impact on the world around you, then you need to pay attention to your choices. Responsible travel is all about making the best choice for yourself, for others, and our planet.
- Book your accommodations in a large chain hotel or you can opt for a local bed and breakfast.
- Spend your time supporting tourist attractions that contain caged animals or you can find a local group in the community to show you around nearby nature perseverations.
- Rent a car while you are visiting an area or you can choose to walk or take advantage of the local mass transit system.
Can you see just how much power you hold in your own hands? It all comes down to your decision to be conscious of responsible travel.
Local communities thrive when tourists come to visit. Unfortunately, as soon as big business see that the destination is growing, they step in. Soon enough, travelers begin booking with the big names they know (and who can afford the large advertisements) – leaving the locals hurt and hungry.
If you want to travel responsibly, then it is time you take steps to choose local each time you visit a new destination. And this applies to restaurants, goods, services, overnight accommodations, and more. Choose local and have a positive impact on the local community – and experiences you otherwise would not have had.
Slow Down, Be Mindful
You can book your travel with all intentions of being responsible when you get there. But, often, heading out on an adventure tends to shift our focus – and it may cause us to overlook the impact we are having.You must slow down and be mindful. Plan your travel ahead of time so that:
- You know the things you will do,
- The things you won’t, the places to visit,
- The places to avoid.
Be diligent in your research so you can rest easy knowing you have chosen to utilize the destination in ways that will leave a minimal impact, and maximize your responsible travel efforts.
While you are there, consider opting for a single retreat or visit one area. Slowing down in this way allows you to not only appreciate the place more, but it cuts down on the damage of your additional traveling.
Finally, be mindful of how much you pack (as heavier luggage uses more fuel to transport), how much water you use when showering, flushing, or brushing your teeth, and how you can stay away from using plastic cups, toiletries, and so forth.
Here is something to think about. When you are traveling to your destination, what is the best way to get there? The easiest choice for most of us would be air travel – but do you know just how much carbon emissions are released into the atmosphere with each flight? About 25%! And just think how many times a commercial jet must land and take off – especially if you have a layover or two. Sure, you could book a straight-through flight if it is available. But, what about a better alternative altogether?
Smaller aircraft produce much fewer emissions than commercial. And they fly directly to your destination. No extra, unnecessary travel or stops. Not to mention that you can also call ahead and make sure that your private jet is equipped with all sustainable drinkware and so forth to further be responsible.
Private jet charters allow you to visit the heart of local cultures (especially since they can reach places commercial aircraft cannot) while leaving minimal impact on their environment.
COVID-19 has kept us all indoors for much longer than we’d prefer. But, as we start heading out on explorations and adventures, we have to be mindful of the damage our travel can cause. Thinking ahead and planning your trip wisely can allow you to have the best experiences around the world while leaving the smallest carbon footprint imaginable.