Ethical Travelling 101
It’s that time of year again – people disappear from the office and come back glowing and tanned. It can mean only one thing – holiday season has begun!
I feel very blessed to have two trips this summer – a choir tour and a family holiday. I landed from the first last week, and reflecting on my time away has got me thinking, ‘what can I do on my next holiday to have a positive impact on the environment and community?’
So, before I go away again, I’ve set myself some challenges for a more ethical holiday.
Learn about the culture before going
How much should you tip in restaurants? Will people sleeping rough benefit from hand-outs or does it do more harm than good? What customs are you expected to acknowledge, such as covering shoulders in public? Lonely Planet is a great place to start.
Take your habits with you
Could you pack a reusable water bottle rather than use disposable ones? Could you pack a week’s supply of Fairtrade tea bags in the bottom of your bag in case you can’t buy Fairtrade abroad? Some hotels will change your towels every day unless asked otherwise, and hotel miniatures are a prime example of unnecessary waste.
Find the eco-alternative
If you’re travelling light, backpacking, or in any situation where you might need to do some washing (of clothes or yourself!), why not find an all-in-one, biologically safe detergent? My personal favourite is from Sea to Summit – super safe, concentrated, and multipurpose.
Think about offsetting the carbon footprint of your flight
Flying is one of the most carbon expensive activities we can do, but some airlines will help offset some of your carbon emissions. If there’s any wiggle room in your budget, this can be a great way to reduce the impact of your trip, even if you just donate a small amount.
Support the locals
Often, local businesses are losing out to the international travel industry, as we automatically go for our favourite chain restaurants and book excursions through UK based travel organisers. Supporting local businesses can help make sure that the money you spend on holiday stays in the country you’re in, and therefore ensures that local culture doesn’t get washed away by holidaymakers!
There you have it. I’m aiming to fulfil three out of the five tips on my next holiday – with the hope of beating my score in the future. I’m ready to become a fully-fledged ethical traveller.