Since the beginning of time, human beings have been drawn to the prospect of travel. Hunter gatherers traversed continents; seafarers navigated oceans and traders crossed borders, thereby becoming increasingly fascinated in the cultures, histories and customs of others. Since the dawn of flight in the 20th century, the travel industry has boomed, making it possible for the everyday person to discover destinations found on the other side of the planet. It’s this very accessibility to travel that allows us to widen our horizons, but it also threatens the welfare of global environments, cultures and heritage. With more and more people traveling internationally every year, it’s become vital for us to travel responsibly, ensuring a sustainable tourism industry that will allow future generations to experience the wonders of travel too. Here are five ways we can make a difference.
Consider your Mode of Transport
The impact on climate change differs significantly from one mode of travel to another. Besides walking or cycling, coach travel is your best bet when choosing a responsible mode of transport, as it causes less pollution per passenger mile than any other form of motorized transport. In fact, traveling by coach creates 85% less carbon dioxide per passenger mile than car and air travel and nearly 40% less than rail. As a leader in luxury coach travel, Insight Vacations’ fleet of state-of-the-art motor-coaches is among the most efficient in Europe, complying with EU emissions standards.
Support Local Artisans
One of the best ways to have a better understanding of a destination is to meet and mingle with the locals. Opt to dine and shop at locally-owned establishments that are run by local families and artisans. By doing this, you’ll be benefiting the welfare of the community, contributing to job creation and promoting local economic growth.
Be Environmentally Conscious
With soaring numbers of tourists passing through destinations, it has become imperative to leave as small a trace as possible. The good news is that there are many ways in which you can make a difference by simply learning a few easy habits. When staying at a hotel, take your own toiletries along and avoid the prepackaged ones provided, switch off your lights and air-conditioning when you’re not in the room, unplug electronic devices when not in use and save water by only having your towels washed every third or fourth day. Continue to recycle paper and plastics as you would have done at home, take along a reusable water bottle and stick to designated trails when you’re out hiking.
Traveling is one of the best ways to form lasting relationships with people from across the world. It can however, have the opposite effect, especially when local customs and traditions aren’t respected. Learn a few basic phrases in the local language and use them in everyday encounters, respect local dress codes and learn about your chosen destination’s customs and culture. Even the smallest gesture can go a long way in forging meaningful relationships across borders.
Offer Lasting Support
Be a true global citizen by recognizing and offering ongoing support to organizations that work to protect the welfare, cultures, and environments of the destinations you visit. Whether it’s through financial contributions, partnerships or simply spreading the word, your support can have a lasting impact on making the world a better place.
To find out more about the 40+ heritage and wildlife projects and initiatives supported by the not-for-profit TreadRight Foundation, visit www.treadright.org.