Tips for Eco and Ethical Travel

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Travelling around the world is the ultimate dream of many people. Living nomadically is adventurous, stimulating, and fulfilling; it will broaden your horizons more than you ever thought possible.

However, it can be increasingly difficult to know how to travel sustainably and ethically. There are lots of companies out there offering eco-friendly trips and advice – but they’re often untrustworthy and of no use to the traveller who wants to strike out on their own.

If you travel because you love the world we live in, the last thing you want to do is to damage anywhere you visit. Read on for a few tips on how to minimise your impact so you can travel joyfully and with ethical confidence!

Take Your Time

The number one cause of bad decision making and unethical travel choices is lack of time. This takes many forms; lack of planning, having to make snap decisions, and prioritising speed and comfort over longer experiences.

Of course, getting to foreign parts of the world can be difficult, especially if you live anywhere cut off by the ocean. Still, if you’re embarking on a long trip why not consider travelling by sea rather than flying?

Sure it’ll take a while longer, but the experience of travelling is all about the process as well as the destination – and if you’ve never stood on deck and seen a sunset across the waves, you’ve not lived.

Consider Your Methods of Transport

Not all your travelling will be done by sea or sky – but it’s equally as important to consider the choices you’re making to get across land. Finding a balance between your journeying needs and their potential effects is tricky, but it can be done!

The best way of adventuring is always by foot; hiking and hitch-hiking allow you to slow down, immersive yourself in local geography and culture, and produces almost no impact. However, it’s certainly not for everyone.

Trains and buses are usually better than cars, or if you’re serious in your ambitions to traverse the globe it’s worth looking at eco-friendly vehicles like hybrid campers or cars to give you maximum freedom for minimum environmental cost.

Work and Live Sustainably

As well as the environment, the ethical traveller has a responsibility towards the economy of wherever they visit. You might be desperate for a Coca-cola, but try to support local businesses by shopping and eating in independent stores rather than any recognisable chains.

It’s a good way to travel ethically as well as increase your range of exciting experiences, and not just sink into the same old comfort zones. Local hostels and Airbnbs might not be as glamorous, but they’re a much better way to experience local cultures than staying in bland hotels all the time.

Finally, if you’re travelling on a budget, there are many destinations which place an emphasis on transitory work; you might be able to fund your journey by working in a bar, or another shop, in exchange for food and accommodation.

Again it isn’t glamorous, but there’s no better way to see the world and contribute towards it wherever you go.

Andy Higgs
Andy Higgs

Not meaning to brag, but here goes. I can say I’m a travel expert and have spoken at multiple travel conferences and trade shows.

I enjoy travelling all over the world but my big passion is Africa.

I also own and run The Grown-up Travel Company as a travel designer creating personalised African itineraries for experienced adventurers

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