Travel Better Best Practices: Guiding Travellers Toward Sustainable, Responsible Travel

Exploring a new place can have a huge impact on us as individuals, it puts our own lives into perspective and opens a window into the way others live within our world. But the WAY we travel can leave a positive or negative impact on the people and places we visit.

Travel and tourism is the largest and most diverse global industry. Employing 1 in 10 people on the planet and spanning across almost the entire planet, the industry has a phenomenal reach. This, however, means that tourism can be a driver for positive environmental and social change!

Unfortunately, this is not always the case which is why as a business we are shining a light on how we can do things differently and look to guide environmentally conscious customers in the right direction.

By making more informed decisions you can reduce your carbon footprint and if we collectively do this, this small change can add up to a big difference.

Minimize waste & pollution

It’s so important that when we travel, particularly to more rural areas in the world, we consider that their waste management systems may not be the same as we have back home and that these areas are often more vulnerable to climate change too.

1. Avoid disposable plastic products.

The best way to prevent problems is not to create them in the first place! Instead of taking mini bottles of shampoo and shower gel bring bars instead! Grüum has some great eco-travel products. It’s useful to bring a refillable water bottle and to take along a tote bag for shopping and souvenirs. Peace in the Wild is a good place to find these!

2. Be aware of the local recycling and try to recycle whenever you can.

3. Leave no trace.

Make sure you don’t leave any litter and feel free to volunteer to join clean-up events!

4. Fly less & fly smart.

It’s a good idea once you are in the certain area in the world you want to be to, to use other forms of greener transport to get around, use buses, coaches, trains and bikes to get around!

Choose direct flights and choose an efficient airline to reduce your carbon footprint.

Supporting Local People

Tourism has powerful potential to improve local well-being, create opportunities for underserved communities, and support sustainable development. However, this isn’t always the case, as tourism can also contribute to economic leakage or human rights violations. As a traveller, you can take steps to ensure that your money ends up in the hands of local people and benefits host communities in the places you visit.

  • Support businesses that employ locals. To ensure your travel money stays in the local economy, choose businesses that are locally owned or managed and hire local staff.

  • Bargain respectfully. Although bargaining is expected in many cultures, don’t pinch pennies when negotiating. Pennies to you may mean as much as an entire family’s meal. Pay a fair price that makes both you and the seller happy.

  • Eat locally. Dine at restaurants that use local ingredients. Or, visit the local market. Not only will you get to purchase fresh produce, you’ll be supporting the local farmers who grow it.

  • Buy locally-made handicrafts. Buy local, rather than imported products and purchase souvenirs crafted by local artisans. The money you spend on local artists also encourages the preservation of their cultural heritage.

  • Ask companies how they give back. Look for businesses that support skills development for residents or invest in community development.

Protecting Wildlife

Witnessing the different animal species that roam our planet can be one of the most fascinating and memorable travel experiences. While many tourists are well-meaning animal lovers, a lack of awareness or the lure of an exotic selfie can result in tourists unintentionally harming the very animals they care about. As wildlife experiences become more popular, it is important to plan trips that prioritize animal welfare.

  • Keep wildlife wild. Do not touch, disturb, or feed land or marine wildlife. This can alter their natural behaviour and have detrimental effects on their ability to survive.

  • Be a responsible photographer. If you choose to take pictures, do so from a distance and refuse to take photos with animals that are drugged or restrained.

  • Steer clear of common culprits such as caged animals, elephant rides, lion petting, tiger selfies, and dancing monkeys.

  • Use reef-safe sunscreen. Many chemicals in sunscreens can cause coral bleaching. Read the labels and avoid products containing oxybenzone, butylparaben, octinoxate or 4-methylbenzylidine camphor. Grüum also sells this.

Becoming a responsible traveller is an ongoing journey and a learning experience. 

Here are some excellent starting points, but it is always worth taking some time to learn about the local culture and practices before traveling to a new place to see if there is anything to watch out for or any other ways you can help have a positive impact!