EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL
We all love to visit new places and it’s never been so easy to do as it is today. Traveling is now much more comfortable, faster, and cheaper than it was before, but something we should all be conscious of is its global and local impacts. With the growth of tourism, we still want to cultivate and preserve natural areas, local communities, and cultures. We want to be responsible travelers.
Responsible travel is all about conservation, sustainability, and ethics; it is about being aware of the effects, positive and negative, that travel has around the world and make great changes through small actions. From the very first moment you select a destination to your last interaction with a community, you have the power to choose to invest your money, time, and energy in good causes and show mutual respect for the world around you.
When choosing your next destination or booking where to stay, ask hotels about their sustainability practices and community actions, support those places and projects that care about responsible tourism.
Choose destinations that are taking action for environmental preservation and that value their communities as much as their tourists.
Find eco-friendly and sustainable accommodation. Choose hotels/hostels with clear working policies and stay at green guesthouses. Glamping, camping, and local accommodations are often the best options and provide exceptional travel memories.
Reduce air pollution by flying less. When you really need to fly, make sure you reduce your impacts through carbon offsetting your flights, which means neutralizing the emissions of the flight you’re taking by investing in a project that will help compensate for these emissions.
The day of departure has arrived. How much do you know about the culture of your destination? Take some time to educate yourself about the places you are visiting and the people living there.
Every time we travel to a new place we try to learn some useful words from the local language, like ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’. The first time we traveled to Indonesia, we did our research about the culture and decided to stay at a co-living space hosted by a local guy, and we ended up meeting people from all over the world. Our host helped us get to know the city, find nice spots to explore, and made us aware of dress codes.
Respect cultural differences. Some traditions and customs may seem strange to us, but that doesn’t mean they are wrong! While you’re visiting, try to learn these differences in culture. Society is enriched by preserving and respecting cultural diversity.
Conserve water and consume mindfully. Many people still don’t have access to fresh, clean water. Remember to turn off the tap the next time you brush your teeth and be mindful of your shower time! Also, bring a reusable water bottle whenever you’re traveling.
Support the local community by eating at local restaurants, buying local, and taking public transportation. One of the best times we had in the Philippines was a morning where we shopped at a local market for vegetables to cook ourselves. We were the only tourists shopping there and the smiles on people's faces when they realized that someone from abroad came to their stall to get food was one of those moments we’ll never forget.
Your trip is over. You now have unforgettable memories and unique stories to tell, so what’s next? Don’t wait for your next destination to be a responsible traveler—start today, right now.
Share your experience with your friends and family. Let them know how you are positively impacting the world while traveling and inspire those around you to do the same.
See every moment of your trip as unique and positive. Acknowledge the new skills and lessons you received from this experience. Even those bad moments can turn into beautiful stories.
Challenge yourself to do better next time. Maybe it’s just doing more research before the departure date or become a volunteer in that place where you’re traveling to, even if just for a few hours. This is also a good way to find like-minded people and truly connect with your community!
It’s everyone's obligation to be a responsible traveler. Together, let’s take care of our planet so that future generations can also have incredible experiences around the world.
Patricia Santos & Miguel Vaz
In 2017 Patricia Santos & Miguel Vaz quit their jobs and sold everything so they could start living. They are content creators, storytellers, and earth advocates who share raw experiences through their unique lens and promote a mindful way of traveling.