If you have never heard about the concept of responsible travel and do not know why you should travel more responsibly, here you find some aspects to consider.
Less environmental impact
Everything we do has an effect on the environment. The way we live impacts our water sources, the quality of air we breathe in and the biodiversity (plants and animals) of the Earth.
Travelling is not an exception. Actually, when we travel our impact on the environment is usually higher. Even if we live in an environmental friendly way at home, we tend to care less about the environment when we are on holiday. Either we blame the circumstances or simply think “it’s only two weeks”.
However even two weeks matter a lot (and imagine the impact of millions of tourists in two weeks!). Moreover with conscious decisions we can set the “circumstances” properly to minimize the environmental impact of our travel.
More quality holiday and real experiences
Responsible travel is about bringing you closer to local people and learning more about local cultures. And that’s why you are travelling for, isn’t it? A local guide (from the destination), for example, knows more about the local culture and has his own experiences about the way of life local people live, so he can get a much deeper introduction to the local culture than an expat guide could ever do.
Moreover locally based tour organizers have a deeper knowledge of the country and the local circumstances; they also have wide scale relationships (not only one contracted partner) and thus are more flexible. They can modify routes or change partners easily if there is a need, and even they are able to offer you a private holiday suittailored to your needs.
Small travel groups really make a difference. Do you remember travelling with 40 other people and always waiting for someone to arrive, having debates on switching on or off the air conditioning, not having enough time to look around in the museum or spending hours for breaks and queuing up for the loo? If you travel only with few people (not more than 13 others), all these problems will significantly reduce. No more queuing up, no more waiting, no more debates. Or actually, much much less of all these.
Moreover – as being part of a responsible holiday – you can interact more with local people and you are taken to less touristic – or even remote – areas. You can have experiences that you would never have if you travelled with big (mass tourism) groups.
More respect means more joy
Responsible travellers value diversity of people and cultures, thus respect social, cultural and religious differences, and understand that their visit can be an intrusion for the locals they meet. To minimise such intrusion as much as possible, when on road you should respect local people’s customs and habits, as well as accept their different behaviour and different way of thinking.
However you should be more broadminded towards your travelmates as well. They may come from different social and cultural background that sometimes might also result in tensions. However we believe that travelling with respect towards both local people and your travelmates would earn you respect too and would make your holiday even more enjoyable.
Responsible travel is also about rediscovering nature by going out and being part of it, as well as learning about it rather than just looking at it. As a responsible traveller you can understand local people’s relationship with the environment and you should be determined to leave nothing but footprints in natural sights.
Visiting nature responsibly and income from responsible tourism can be a powerful incentive for conservation. Travelling responsibly thus can result in positive contribution towards conserving biodiversity instead of destroying it.