I’ve asked 5 travel bloggers to make one New Year’s resolution for sustainable travel in 2017. Read on to discover their top tips for sustainable travel.
Why support sustainable travel in 2017?
The United Nations has declared 2017 “The Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.”
The UN recognises that sustainable travel plays a huge role in “fostering better understanding among peoples everywhere, in leading to a greater awareness of the rich heritage of various civilizations and in bringing about a better appreciation of the inherent values of different cultures, thereby contributing to the strengthening of peace in the world.”
The next time someone rolls their eyes at my travel plans, I think I’ll quote that in response!
How can we support sustainable travel?
There are some obvious ways that we can travel more sustainably. Some common tips for sustainable travel include: Support local businesses. Say no to exploitative animal encounters. Bring our own water bottles.
Seems straightforward! But did you know that many activities that are billed as responsible, can actually be damaging to local people and wildlife?
When backpacking in South Africa, I was tempted to go shark cage diving. All of the cage diving websites spoke about conservation and scientific benefits. Digging a little deeper, I found that cage diving is actually altering the natural behaviour of sharks. It may even be driving sharks closer to land, causing an increase in shark attacks!
I was lucky to find this out before my trip. However, often we show up and take the tours that friends or hostels recommend without time to do the research. Tourism can play a huge role in development, particularly in developing countries. It’s important to realise that ultimately, we are responsible for ensuring our activities are beneficial to the locality. By researching ahead of time and following some tips for sustainable travel we can ensure our activities leave a positive impact.
Instead of writing a huge post on things not to do on your trip, I have challenged my fellow bloggers (and you!) to make one New Year’s resolution for sustainable travel in 2017. Here are their top tips for sustainable travel.
First up is Marinel a.k.a Brown Gal Trekker:
“As a global traveller and mountain trekker, I have a unique opportunity to travel and work all at the same time through my social enterprise, Peak Explorations. For 2017, as part of PE’s commitment towards sustainable tourism, I will be focusing on lesser known trails for my future treks, such as the newly established trails in the Caucasus Mountains in the Republic of Georgia.
I personally work with the trek operators to ensure that the treks are conducted in a way that support local tourism by hiring locals. I’m also looking into promoting all-women trek in Nepal by working with a female-owned trekking company that will provide female only guides and porters. Besides supporting the local tourism, my hope is to expose the lesser known trails to the world by writing about them through my blog and taking Western travellers to the trails for them to experience the trails first-hand.”
Kristin a.k.a SG Dive Girl wants to use her skills to promote conservation:
“I have a dream to see whale sharks, up close and personal. Whale sharks are the world’s largest known extant fish. I have always been fascinated by how gentle, graceful, and beautiful they appear. With their status as a vulnerable species, not only do I want to swim with them, I also want to do my part to contribute to their survival. As such, one day, I want to embark on a whale shark conservation tour in Maldives.
This tour combines so many of my passions – being out at sea, living on a boat, snorkelling and scuba diving, visiting Maldives, as well as helping in marine conservation efforts. I would be able to learn more about these amazing creatures and assist in conducting research on them, measuring them and collecting data. Compared to going on any leisure tour to swim with whale sharks, I would be spending so much more quality time with them!”
Chris and Katie, a.k.a Tanlines for Two, have made the HUGE resolution: NEVER TO FLY AGAIN!
“We are bicycle tourers and have been on the road for over 6 months now, but we have taken aeroplanes twice: once to Croatia and once to Bolivia. Barring a family emergency or other tragedy, we hope to remain on our bikes, sustainably travelling around the world until a place truly captures our hearts and we decide to settle down. Then we hope to build ourselves a sustainable home and grow our own food!”
Sam and Erica are The Manini Experience, hoping to bring sustainable travel to the masses:
“We Manini girls are thrilled to lead our first group trip to Puerto Rico in June. We will participate in a beach cleanup, partner with an animal rescue organization, and stay in eco-friendly lodging.
You can follow their responsible travels at The Manini Experience Blog.
Laura of Plant Based Nomads has a unique way of cutting down her carbon footprint:
“My travel resolution for 2017 is to not fly. I’m currently on the way to India overland from Europe. I’m really looking forward to seeing all the places on the way, using public transport and meeting awesome people while hitchhiking. I think travelling overland will be great for the environment and much more exciting than just catching a quick flight to India.”
And my own resolution for 2017?
To SLOW DOWN. Seriously.
I pride myself on crossing off up to 7 countries in a year while working full time. However, my desire to always squeeze in one more destination has led to some questionable environmental choices. Travel often comes down to your money or your time. But sometimes taking more time can lead to a new adventure.
Alright, the 22 hour bus journey from Zambia to Namibia was freezing and hellish in points. But, I got to see way more than if I had just stepped off a plane in Windhoek. I want my next adventure to give me more than a taste of the country I’m visiting. I want to get to know the place, crowded public transport and all!
Here’s where you come in! I want you, my fabulous readers, to take the 2017 Sustainable Travel Challenge. Make one New Year’s Resolution for sustainable travel. Let me know your tips for sustainable travel in the comments. Better still, drop me an email and I will help in any way I can.
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