3 Easy Ways to Conscientiously Enjoy Sustainable Travel
Air travel is more popular than ever, with an estimated 3.7 billion global passengers in 2016, so it’s no surprise that air pollution is too at huge detriment to our own health and wellbeing as well as that of the Earth. The need for us all to make enviromentally conscious choices is now more crucial than ever and one of the most dramatic and potentially planet-saving changes we can make, as individuals, is to start holidaying on home soil.
But, although there are many wonderful sights to see here in the UK and wherever you are in the world, no doubt there will be an abundance of beauty to discover without the need for air travel, we’re not perfect and sometimes work requirements or the pull of distant lands where we can immerse ourselves in new cultures, unusual food and an alternative lifestyle, just for a short while is something we can’t resist or avoid.
However, if you are jetting off to another country there are other ways you can ensure more sustainable travel…
Do not participate in animal abuse
We really love animals here at Tabitha James Kraan. We never test on them, directly or indirectly and they play a huge role in the lives of our whole team (you’ve probably already met the TJK pups and horses on our Instagram feed!). We also feel passionately about spreading the word to those of you heading off on your travels to never support any animal cruelty, whether that is in the shape of riding elephants, camels, horses or donkeys, petting chained up tigers, swimming with captive dolphins or posing for photos with baby monkeys.
Many people take part in these activities without realising the harm, so it is up to all of us to get informed and spread awareness.
If getting up close and personal with animals is something on your bucket list, this is still something you can do by visiting and supporting amazing sanctuaries, animal charities and ethical wildlife tours, but always research places thoroughly before getting involved.
If you are planning to watch whales or see dolphins check out this website http://worldcetaceanalliance.org/ first. My wonderful cousin Dillon Walker is the CEO of WCA – World Catacean Alliance and they guide you as to how to do this sustainably without risking their habitat of the animals.
Minimise your waste and never litter
White sand beaches and clear, crystal seas are in rapid decline, thanks to the negative impact tourism has on many paradise islands like the Maldives, Fiji and Thailand. The main culprit? Plastic waste.
When on holiday it can be easy to slip out of great eco-habits that come to us so naturally at home, but it is just as important if not more so to reduce plastic waste when visiting other countries.
It’s easy to tackle at least a part of this problem with a few sustainable travel tips. Bring a reusable water bottle with you and buy large bottles of water to top up from before you leave for the day, rather than lots of little bottles. Pack a reusable cloth bag for when you go shopping, decline straws and of course, never litter. If there are no bins near by take it back to your accommodation and dispose of it there.
Support local communities
Tourism can be fantastic for local communities but it can also be detrimental and tiresome if those of us traveling aren’t respectful and supportive.
Enjoy sustainable travel by immersing yourself in local culture. Eat in local restaurants and stay in local run accommodation, or at least accommodation that employs locals. Shopping at weekly markets will help inject money into the local economy too and also give you a lovely experience.
It is important to consider and respect traditions and customs of wherever you are visiting. Often these are quite different to what we’re used to in our own countries, so take the time to research first. Open your mind and embrace what is so unique about their world!
Supporting local, ethical projects is fantastic too, but again, make sure you’re clued up so that you’re not giving money to support abuse or cruelty. In many poverty-stricken areas of the world you will be asked for money by children begging and while this is undoubtedly heart-breaking, giving them money will most likely only encourage further abuse and exploitation of mafias who are instructing them. Instead, buy food, toys, pens and paper to give them – something they will really take pleasure from, themselves.
Being a responsible traveller is not only best for the planet and all those who live here, but it will also help to give you the most real, satisfying and memorable experience of the countries you visit. Be considerate, be kind and broaden your world-view. You’ll be a more well-rounded human being for it!