First and foremost, what is responsible travel?
This form of travel has a similar mission as ‘sustainable travel.’ Ringing any bells?
Sustainable (and responsible) travel is a movement to protect the environment, address climate change, expand economic development and encourage positive cultural interaction in communities affected by tourism.
The Dirty Details
It’s true. Travel and tourism can cause a ton of damage. There are the problems of carbon emissions, appropriation, litter, trail-cutting, overtourism- and that’s just a start. When all we see is how negative of an impact we’re having on our Earth, it can become overwhelming to think of where to start creating positive change.
Tourism Isn’t All Bad
But we believe we can make a change for the better. Tourism doesn’t have to be all bad! By starting small and growing into a wider movement of responsible travel we can begin the snowball effect of positive change on the tourism industry.
At Yervana, community and sustainability are huge aspects of our identity. Ensuring our Earth’s continuity for future generations while educating, learning and growing is of utmost importance. So read on and jump into some tips and tricks on how to start your responsible travel journey!
Responsible Travel Tips and Tricks
To break it down, here’s four areas that can help you track your impact:
- Environmental impacts
- Natural and cultural interactions
- Social and economic impacts
Each category comes with its own guidelines for how to best begin responsibly travelling. We’ve separated them so they’re easy to follow along, but there is often overlap. Every tip we mention is fluid, dynamic and open to your own personal spin! Having fun with responsible travel is key because when you’re having fun, it’s easy for things to become a personal passion and second-nature action.
Remember, these tips and tricks are beginning points! Start here, test things out and keep reaching for more knowledge along your responsible travel journey. We can always do more to ensure sustainability within the tourism industry.
Start small with this one and mimic the things you would do while in your own home. Turn off the lights, conserve your water usage, dispose of items in the proper receptacles, take public transport and whatever else you may do at home! If you’re looking to take things a step further while you explore:
- Avoid plastic water bottles. Purchase a water sterilization tool or buy in bigger quantities.
- Leave No Trace. This doesn’t just apply to the trail or backcountry. Leave things the way you found them or in a better state (aka. Don’t litter. Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy).
- Think about your interaction with wildlife. And then think again. And then really think about avoiding it. If you have to do it on your travels, make sure you research which wildlife based attractions are the most ethical and animal-friendly.
- Be aware of carbon emissions caused by flights. Explore your own environment, stay in places for longer periods of time to justify the flight and travel by alternative modes when possible.
Looking for a new experience close to home? Our Adventures are based in Western Canada (British Columbia and Alberta). Our Locals are exactly that, local. They have the inside knowledge, best practices and tips and tricks ready for you to learn!
Natural and Cultural Interactions
Whenever you travel outside of your home environment, remember that you’re a guest. Be respectful of where you’re going!
While travelling, opt for destinations and activities which avoid overcrowded tourist hot spots. Instead, seek out local favourites and book activities with local guides. These experiences will have you immersed in both nature and culture while being alongside a smaller number of people and avoiding excessive and unnecessary environmental damage.
Part of respect while travelling includes learning about cultures before you immerse yourself in them. You can also:
- Purchase locally made goods
- Interact with locals
- Respect local dress
- Seek to support local experiences vs. foreign experiences
Responsible travel is about sharing, loving and learning. We can all grow from each other, so go into the local experience with an open mind!
Social and Economic Impacts
Prioritize supporting local in your own home environment and wherever you travel! Restaurants, grocery stores, accommodation, clothing, activities and more fall into the local category. Again, spend some time researching before you go off on your memorable adventures.
By supporting local, you give back to the local economy rather than global chains. Not only does this create practical local economic alternatives, but it also increases the value of the natural areas we love so much.
Locals like Ryan LeBlanc realize the importance of sustainability in the tourism industry. Ryan includes zero-waste meals on his Adventures, sources fresh and local ingredients and leaves as little impact as possible on the trails. And he’s one of many who practice responsible travel on the Yervana platform!
From @befreshlocal on Instagram
Sharing is Caring
Share. Share, share, share! Talk about responsible travel with your friends and family. Spark conversation and speak with passion. We can all learn and grow together when it comes to protecting our Earth.
Build a community that is sensitive to over-crowded destinations.
Build a community that practices Leave No Trace principles.
Build a community that gives back.
Build a community that shares but doesn’t preach.
Build a community that is mindful and caring.
Build a community that practices responsible travel.