Your Next Big Trip

Travellers Share their Best Tips for Sustainable Travel

Year of Sustainable Tourism

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?

Your Next Big Trip

Viewing giraffes in the wild on an ethical walking safari in Tanzania.

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.”

New Year's Resolution for Sustainable Travel

Read about Marinel’s latest tips for sustainable travel adventures in the Georgian mountains here. Follow along on Instagram.

 

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!”

You can follow her underwater escapades at sgdivegirl.co.nf, on Instagram and on Facebook.

 

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!”

Year of Sustainable Tourism

You can read about their two-wheeled adventure on Tanlines For Two, on Facebook and on Instagram.

 

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.

Our mission is to promote responsible travel while providing an awesome experience.  This includes philanthropy opportunities, responsible lodging and transportation when available, supporting local businesses through excursions and activities, and providing people with photos of it all.”
Sustainable Travel 2017

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.”

Year of Sustainable Tourism

Taken while Laura was hitchhiking in Russia!

You can follow her overland adventure on: www.plantbasednomads.com and on Instagram.

 

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!

Year of Sustainable Tourism

When Tanzanian buses look like this, why would you fly?

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.

Pin this!

Tips for Sustainable Travel

Join my mailing list (below) for updates on how I do. I don’t spam your inbox or pass on your info. Ever.

27 thoughts on “Travellers Share their Best Tips for Sustainable Travel

  1. Erica

    This is such a great round up of resolutions! We’re honored to have been included and look forward to sharing more sustainable travel adventures with you and your followers!

  2. LC of Birdgehls

    I think sustainable tourism (and living, in general) is so, so important. Last year I tried to cut plastic out of my life, which is something I’m continuing with this year. I’m staying put in Australia for most of this year, but I’d like to join a landcare group to plant trees – give something back for the flights I took over the last two years of living in Europe. :/

    1. Cliodhna Post author

      Those cheap European flights make it almost impossible not to travel! I’m also trying to cut plastic out. It’s difficult living in a disposable society and definitely requires some planning but I hope to get there eventually.

    1. Cliodhna Post author

      Definitely, particularly if you’re tight on time. I have the luxury of 8 weeks off in the summer (I’m a teacher) so am going to make my biggest effort there when I have the time to slow things down a bit.

  3. Ellis

    Very nice blog post. I hope it will inspire other people to think more about sustainable travel. What I miss is also the cultural aspect of sustainable travel. I think part of sustainable travel is also that tourists read about the culture of a country they visit and adapt accordingly rather than walking around in their bikini tops in a village in Laos. I think sustainable travel is not only about reducing your ecological footprint but also about approprisate and responsible cultural interaction.

  4. Iza Abao, Two Monkeys Travel Group Writer

    These are all great suggestions. I do not like to watch live shows of marine animals. Unfortunately, there are really a lot of tourists who want to watch these shows.
    I like to travel by bus here in the Philippines because I get to see the surroundings of the places. I will be going on a road trip soon and I am sure it will be a lot of fun!

    1. Cliodhna Post author

      I went to a marine show as a child and imagined that the animals swam out to a huge enclosure in the sea. I was horrified when I found out how they are actually treated. I love travelling by bus too. I just stick in my earphones with some good music and watch the world go by.

  5. Samantha Lorenz

    I would love to make my travels more sustainable. We love to do tours that revolve around the local wildlife and while I tend to research our tour companies ahead of time, it can be tough to make sure it’s actually benefiting the environment. We try to focus on tours that involve seeing animals in their natural habitat rather than cages and zoos and hopefully that’s at least a small step in the right direction!

    1. Cliodhna Post author

      It sounds like you already have a great idea of how to pick an ethical tour company! I can’t visit a zoo since going on safari but zoos were what gave me a love of animals as a child so it’s definitely a conflict.

    1. Cliodhna Post author

      It was tough going mentally, I’m not going to lie! However, we did catch an amazing red sunset and got a sense of how sparsely populated the country is.

  6. Sonja

    This is such an interesting read! It’s great to see the different ways that we can personally make a difference. I’m terrible for flying a lot because of the cheap flights in Europe and taking lots of long weekend city breaks. I will have to think about how I can make a difference!

    1. Cliodhna Post author

      Cheap flights are a killer for me too! I take lots of city breaks during the year but I have 8 weeks off in the summer so that’s where I really have time to make better choices.

  7. Naomi

    I find this very difficult, as travelers we have to make choices for what we want and what is good for the planet. Most of the times, we do not even know if tours are good or bad. Everybody can say anything online but until you go see for yourself and judge the situation, they are just words. For myself, I make the decision on a case by case basis which cause some serious internal conflict most of the time.

    1. Cliodhna Post author

      I totally agree. There’s nothing worse than being in the middle of the tour and realising you shouldn’t be there. We can all only do our best. I think the main thing is to be aware of some things that are in our control and question tour operators as much as possible before we go.

    1. Cliodhna Post author

      Imagine the impact if everyone just did one small thing! I’ll definitely be making it a priority this year.

  8. Laura

    Thanks for including me in this! This was a really interesting read, with some great resolutions. Very inspiring 🙂 Hopefully we will all live a bit more sustainable this year 🙂 Happy travels x

  9. Natalie

    What an interesting post topic! We use travel for fun and to add to the educational foundation for our kids! This is a topic I haven’t considered yet, but will now! These are interesting travelers with great insights. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Cliodhna Post author

      Thanks for reading! As I teacher, I always try to seek out ways to make travel educational. It’s always great to show children ways that we can use our own enjoyable travels to help others and the planet.

  10. Swati

    Thanks for such an inspiring post, loved reading it. Travel is definitely the best teacher and every day is a new and challenge on roads. And good to know everyone is doing and contributing their own way to the sustainable tourism and keeping a tap on carbon footprint.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *