The Eco-Conscious Traveller

Tropical beach

The travel industry is huge. Like really huge. In 2019 it was globally estimated to be worth $9.25 trillion US dollars (I have no idea how many noughts that is) to the global economy. A whopping $4.7 billion US dollars was linked to leisure travel. For each of us who have contributed to that figure – we have a responsibility to consider how we spend every dollar, pound or euro (other currencies are available). Not only have we worked hard across the year to be able to warrant having that trip and want to get the best from it – we should also want to ensure that we’re spending it in a way that is ethical and is helping to conserve the natural world for future generations to enjoy.

If you’re like us – the desire to travel is strong. But that desire also puts us in a quandary. On one hand – there’s this big old world out there that we want to explore. On the other hand we’re conscious of the footprint travelling leaves on the world. What to do? We are here to offer some advice on how you can be an eco traveller …

  • Research

Before you book a ticket anywhere – do your homework first and consider alternative destinations to those commonly visited by tourists. Whilst there may be a desire to see the same sights that others who have gone before you have – there are often lesser known alternatives that are just as picturesque and breath-taking but have fewer other people there.

  • Carbon Offset

Let’s face it – if you want to go and see all four corners of the earth – the chances are that you’re going to have to get on a plane to do it. To counter your carbon footprint of this journey there are schemes that enable you to pay to carbon offset it. It’s a small price to pay for the memories that trip will give you though … 

  • Getting Around

We understand the appeal of a private transfer but there are more eco friendly ways of getting around. Whilst using public transport may seem daunting – it can be a great way to see different parts of a country, provide an opportunity to chat to locals (language barriers permitting) and can be much more cost effective. 

  • Accommodation

Over recent years there appears to have been a surge in the number of eco-lodges, hotels and hostels coming onto the scene. Often surrounded by nature, they aim to reduce their own footprint on the world through the power supplies they use, ensuring they recycle all they can and source produce locally and often organically where possible. Whether you’re on a shoestring budget or going all out on a luxury break – there will be a eco friendly place to stay to suit your requirements.

Backpacking doesn’t have to mean bunkbeds and dorm rooms at Jollyboys in Livingstone, Zambia.
  • Where to eat?

Look for options that offer you local, organic and seasonal options. Eating seasonally is always a better option for the planet.

Lunch at Imiloa. Photograph © Akana Mandaté
The Imiloa Institute in Costa Rica combines eco-luxury with beautiful plant based food. Photograph © Akana Mandaté
  • Days out

Wherever you go – the chances are that there will be excursions available for you to go on. It goes without saying (we hope) that you should be avoiding things like swimming with dolphins, riding elephants or walking with lions. Where any animal is involved – be it wild or otherwise – you should consider the welfare of them. Many conservation projects the world over have facilities that are open for the public to attend. By visiting them you are helping support the vital work that they are doing.

  • Staycation

You don’t have to travel that far to see the wonders of nature – it’s all around us. Take a moment now – look out of the nearest window, or if you’re already outside – look around you. If you need some inspiration on local places to go – try our friends at The Outdoor Guide for ideas of walking routes in your local area. You could also grab your local map (if you’re in Great Britain – you can’t beat an Explorer Map from Ordnance Survey) to discover local green spaces you might not have realised were there.

So those are our top tips? What are yours? Share them with us on our Facebook page.

Please support our work

The Global Wildlife Rescue Project is a registered charity in England & Wales. Registered charity number 1188557.

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