Much has changed in the world since the pandemic began. People have changed their career path, people have redesigned their homes, people have changed their lifestyle dramatically. People have also adapted their free time and their holiday expectations. The staycation was the buzzword of summer 2020 and it could carry on as a cultural trend.
However, a staycation is not the only way to travel ethically in the world. There is no doubt the world will start to open its doors again when the vaccines are introduced and people can begin to move freely again. But the idea of travelling ethically and reducing our carbon footprints for the benefit of the planet is likely to remain.
FIND ECO FRIENDLY ACCOMMODATION
One of the big obstacles you encounter when attempting to travel ethically is finding suitable accommodation. That is accommodation that is responsible to the environment and the local economy. Often, staying in the brand name hotels means sacrificing quite a lot of ethical credit.
The good news is ethical accommodation doesn’t have to be hard to find. There are usually hotels in the area that demonstrate more commitment to the environment and are more integrated with the local economy. Think of Airbnb’s and some of the deals on NetVoucherCodes.co.uk. They are the perfect way to invest directly in the local community.
Many ethical accommodation options will advertise their commitment to practices that contribute to a lower carbon footprint or more ethical investment. When choosing your hotel or hostel look for any signs that they cater to ethical tourists on the website or on vouchers such as NetVoucherCodes.co.uk.
CAREFULLY CONSIDER TOURS
When travelling abroad in a sought after location it’s normal to want to go on organised tours. These tours are an excellent way to see some of the local area’s iconic locations, and find out more about your destination. Unfortunately, they can also negatively impact the planet.
Some tours can damage the natural environment and harm animals. Take snorkelling for example. On the face of it, snorkelling seems like a harmless pursuit, all you’re doing is ducking under to look at some fish and coral. However, overused underwater trails can damage the coral and prevent fish from returning.
Animal sanctuaries are another example of a potentially harmful vacation tour. The animals kept in the sanctuaries are often underfed and overworked. They are often mistreated as well. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit an animal sanctuary, but you need to do extensive research first to ensure it’s ethical.
USE SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORT
In general, travelling abroad isn’t the most ethical or sustainable thing to do. One single long haul flight adds the same carbon to the atmosphere as a vegan diet across a two year period. That’s a substantial contribution to your carbon footprint. However, it is still possible to travel sustainably.
Where possible, it’s best not to fly. Instead use trains, boats, or cars. You might even consider swapping your destination so it’s closer to home and you can have a more carbon neutral holiday. If you want to track your carbon you can with an easy online calculator. Tracking your annual carbon footprint is a great way to stay connected to your practice.
When you’re at your destination you can also reduce your carbon output and travel ethically by using public transport. Public transport is a better option environmentally than hiring a vehicle or using a taxi service. There will be exceptions of course, but if you keep in mind the general practice of using public transport you will earn more carbon neutral points.
TRY TO SHOP LOCALLY
When you travel the world do you want to see the same shops and restaurants you are familiar with back home, or do you want to try the local cuisine and have new and interesting stories to return home with. There’s no doubt some people prefer the former, the latter is what most people opt for.
When you spend your money at the big multinational shops and restaurants you find the world over, you not only buy into a lesser experience, you also contribute to environmental degradation. These companies are responsible for enormous carbon emissions and your business is a motivating factor.
Instead of using the familiar restaurants and shops it makes a big difference to the planet and the local economy in the area if you use local restaurants. You will find local restaurants are just as good. They are very happy to have you custom and will serve you up something unique, that you can talk about for years.
CONSIDER A VOLUNTEER HOLIDAY
These days many travellers want a different experience from the standard holiday ideas. They don’t necessarily want to lay on a beach or drink sangria at the pool. Of course, it’s a nice and relaxing way to spend your tie off, but for many it is unfulfilling.
Instead, many ethical tourists are looking for a volunteer holiday. There are companies you can find online who specialise in sending people to work with children or animals. You will get the chance to interact closely with a community and add value to their lives. This type of holiday is growing in popularity and for good reasons.
The volunteers sent to impoverished communities or animal sanctuaries can bring their skills, experiences, and personalities to new situations. At the same time they can learn new skills and experiences that will enhance their own lives and offer new perspectives. What could be a more worthwhile or ethical way to travel.
When the world reopens its doors to the traveling public you might expect them to charge down the gates and make a beeline for the sunshine and the beaches. This may well happen, but the lessons of the pandemic are likely to be embedded somewhere in the back of our minds. There has been such a dramatic decrease in carbon emissions during the shutdown that it would be sensible to carry on the best practices. For some this could mean staying on home soil, for others it might mean remaining their holidays to make them more planet-friendly.