What is this responsible travel that everyone talks about! Well, it is pretty simple. It’s the concept of consideration. Leaving the place you are in the way you like it for the next person. Considering your surroundings and the people in them. There is a huge hype around being a responsible traveller and I just wanted to offer a few tips that don’t change anything dramatically but instead helps where you go!
1 – Reusable Water Bottles
Travel with a water bottle. I only ever see backpackers doing this. On long flights you can get really dehydrated, that’s why it’s always handy to have a bottle with you, air hostesses will fill it up with water if you ask nicely -This tip also helps to defeat jet lag! You have to go through customs with an empty one but in most airports, there are water fountains around that you can fill it up with water. Besides the fact that it is convenient, it also helps reduce the waste of plastic. One bottle CAN make a difference!
2 – Bag
A backpack is always convenient. Daniel and I always travel with a tote bag to carry the things we have bought however if you like carrying a backpack then it serves 2 purposes! By refusing one plastic bag you are reducing the demand and also helping to prevent that packet from landing in the ocean or an overcrowded landfill.
When we travel we do put all our toiletries in a plastic packet and keep it tight so if it leaks it doesn’t leak in our bag. Most hotels offer a plastic bag for laundry which is usually quite a thick plastic that you could use to reinforce anything that could potentially ruin your bag’s contents.
3 – Local Restaurants
Daniel and I love our food! It is very tempting when you are in another country to try their version of KFC, Mac Donalds or Nandos. I’m not saying don’t ever use them but rather opt-in for a more local boutique restaurant for a pastry, coffee or snack. It may actually be cheaper, better experience and way tastier. You will be supporting a local small business owner. This helps create another unique experience to remember forever.
4 – Recycle
I think this tip is a given! Most of the Northern hemisphere have separate bins so you are able to recycle. If you find yourself in a country that doesn’t recycle as often as you are used to, I would recommend putting more effort into using little to no single-use plastics. Otherwise its pretty simple, I would ask a local!
5 – Review and Recommend
We all have our favourite places and absolutely love to rave about it. Do it online, recommend on Tripadvisor or their Facebook page. A lot of companies can’t afford top-notch marketing so your review can really benefit their business. So next time you are posting a food or experience on social media, tag and recommend!
6 – Walking tours
Did you know that walking tours are free??? This is such an enriching activity. Mainly students partake in offering these tours as well as other people who are passionate about the history and culture of the city they are in. By supporting walking tours, you are supporting the society of the city as well as the person who is putting it together for you. In the end, you offer them a tip based on their service. I have never had a bad experience on a Walking tour and it really is a lot of fun walking through the beautiful streets. Most walking tours tell you things that simple hop on hop off busses won’t. The detail and stories are remarkable. My favourite walking tour was in Prague!
7 – Travel by foot or by local transport
Depending on how far you are travelling get into the local lifestyle. Trains, busses, trams and metros. They all offer another authentic experience on your trip. They are cheap, efficient and a whole lot of fun.
8 – Coffee Cup
Daniel and I drink a lot of coffee. When we travel we are always getting coffee while we walk along the streets. We don’t always remember to bring a reusable coffee cup and I am sure most people are on the same page. We do like to use one and wash it and keep it in our bag for the next place we go to. Alternatively, we try not to use the plastic lid that goes on the top.
9 – Markets rather than Malls
This is actually my favourite. Markets, they are honestly the best. Best rates, experience, meet the nicest people and you make memories. Support the locals in their trade of generations. There are many upsides to markets but I think the main thing that attracts people is it is more affordable and interactive.
10 – Be grateful
Such a simple tip. Be grateful to the locals that welcome you. They make space for you. Be grateful that they look after their city so you can enjoy it and return the favour.
To travel is such a privilege, make sure we keep it that way. We love the old buildings, local restaurants and authenticity of any experience. Let’s be responsible travellers and promote that as long as we can!
Written by Amy Peacock