7 Ways to be a Responsible Traveler
Available in: Italiano
If you are here it is because you have already heard about responsible tourism and maybe you want to take a sustainable journey. Lately, and I would also add luckily, it is always more talked about. More and more people are informed and want to know what their impact on this planet is.
An impact that is not only environmental but also human. Tourism is one of the most profitable industries of the last century, but while it has produced wealth, it has also produced poverty.
Sustainable or responsible tourism (here I explained the difference), according to the definition of the UNWTO (World Tourism Organization) “meets the needs of travelers and host regions and at the same time protects and enhances opportunities for the future”.
How can you be a responsible traveler?
In reality, I think it is not enough to be on the trip and then forget about everything once at home. But even the opposite I think is not possible. Because it is an awareness that must come from within, from anyone who has this sensitivity to the planet Earth that hosts us and to all living things: men, animals or plants that are.
For example, I did not know that I was a responsible traveller “in part” until one day I asked myself the question and I analyzed my way of travelling. But I have always been sensitive and interested in sustainability and my impact on this planet.
That’s why we talk more and more about it, because above all with today’s computer media we no longer have the excuse of “I did not know” and a growing number of tourists start to travel responsibly.
Ok, but what does it mean in technical terms to make a sustainable or responsible journey?
There are some basic rules to make your journey more sustainable. And it all starts even before the flight is booked, continues during your stay and sometimes even when you return home. Does it seem challenging?
Could be! But if you are looking for a journey that makes you grow, that makes you move beyond that simple selfie with the monument behind you and that you will not forget for a lifetime here is what you have to do:
1. What to do before leaving for a responsible trip
Let’s start with a password to “get informed“. Before booking, look for information on the country you want to visit and ask yourself what kind of experience you want to do. Search for news on the history, culture and socio-political situation of his people. So you can get an idea of what kind of trip you can organize and what situations you have to expect when you arrive.
Learn about the climate, what is the best time to visit the country and above all, make an effort to inform you about local habits.
Travelling will happen to meet completely different habits from those you are used to at home and can sometimes be a cultural barrier between you and the locals. An additional tip is to learn a few words of the local language to be able to interact at least a minimum.
2. How to organize a sustainable journey
Once again search for information on the tour operators that you choose for your sustainable journey. If you want to rely on a tour operator choose one of those established in the field of sustainable travel and guaranteed by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. If, on the other hand, you want to organize yourself, there are various ways to reduce the impact of our trip.
The first thing you can think of is the round trip flight. It is commonly thought that a sustainable journey cannot provide for an air flight because it is a highly polluting means. The hard reality with which you can, however, reach a compromise.
For example, there are several airlines that are working to offset the impact of their flights by funding environmental recovery projects. However, it remains the guideline to prefer travelling by train or by sharing to limit its impact as much as possible. And the most important thing is to prefer local transport or travel on foot or by bike once you reach your destination.
As for hotels, there are also various solutions in this case. First of all the search for local structures not linked to multinational chains or at least only those that guarantee their commitment to the local population. Another option is to look for guest-houses from local families where you can live their daily life and share your trip with them. Or, depending on where you go, the Couchsurfing option (I tried it here) is still valid, or a hostel.
3. Participate in local daily life: interact and get your hands dirty!
Maybe it is not appreciated by everyone but if you really want to know a country the best way to do it is to participate in everyday life. If you like to experience local you can not try to immerse yourself in their culture. Whether it’s a large metropolitan city or a Bedouin desert tribe, try to interact and get your hands dirty.
You must be the active protagonist of your sustainable journey but always in full respect of who you are facing. Use local transport such as buses or commuter trains, or go to the local market, not the popular one for tourists!
5. Do not take advantage of animals: live your journey with them!
A little ‘everywhere around the world there are tour operators who use animals to “entertain” tourists. Before anything, ask yourself if the animals are having fun with the tourists.
Ask yourself especially how they are treated and how those animals live when there are no tourists. And in the end, opt for experiences you can do with them, not on them!
6. Do not waste: reduce your environmental impact!
Above all in this case it is not a principle to be implemented only while traveling, but it must be a way of life.
n many tourist resorts at the arrival of the high season the territory that is usually suitable (sometimes not even this) to accommodate a certain number of users and population is found to be invaded by double or triple people. This has a significant impact on the place.
So the first responsible must be us that we do not want to be part of this mess. Just a few things to which you are already attentive to your home: make the differentiated, do not waste water or light, adjust at a right temperature and do not always leave the air conditioning on and so on.
7. Spread Responsible Tourism: give a good example!
Even if more and more people are sensitizing to the subject, there is still so much that it does not even realize its environmental impact. Ever since we are children, the best way to learn is to imitate!
You yourself set a good example and you will see that those around you will begin to ask you questions, to get interested and maybe even start to travel with more attention and awareness.