6 WAYS YOU CAN BE AN ETHICAL TRAVELLER IN 2019?
There’s certainly a buzz around the word ‘ethical’ right now and rightly so. No matter if you’re travelling to Cornwall, Crete or Cuba, it’s important to make sure we’re responsible travellers no matter where in the world we escape to. If you’re not sure where to start, there are lots of simple steps you can take to practice ethical travel and do your bit for the planet, so we’ve rounded up 6 ways to help you be a more ethically minded traveller in 2019 and beyond.
WHAT IS ETHICAL TRAVEL?
When you hear the phrase ‘ethical travel’, it essentially means being mindful of the individual impact our choices have on both the communities and environment of our chosen destinations. Each time we travel, we make lots of small decisions that go on to have a big impact; everything from the food we eat to the excursions we experience. By being a more mindful traveller, you can ensure your decisions have a positive impact on both the people and the planet each time you getaway.
1. REDUCE YOUR PLASTIC USE
It’s no secret our oceans are littered with plastic – in fact it’s at an all time high with an estimated 12.7 million tonnes of plastic ending up in our oceans every single year. From our own UK shorelines to far-flung idyllic islands, plastic is a persistent problem all across the world. When travelling, think consciously about how you can reduce your plastic use; from carrying a reusable tote bag to saying no to straws, these small changes can have a huge effect on the environment. We live in a throwaway culture and so intentionally avoiding one-time use items like plastic cutlery and bottles and instead sourcing sustainable alternatives will all help to reduce the amount of plastic polluting our oceans.
2. SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESSES
Many local communities around the world thrive on tourism so when you’re next on holiday, choose to support the local businesses in the area instead of opting for familiar brands like Starbucks or McDonalds. By embracing the local lifestyle, not only are you making a more ethically minded decision, you’re boosting the local economy too and you’ll have a more enriched and authentic holiday experience by discovering what’s on offer.
3. BE WARY OF WILDLIFE MISTREATMENT
It’s no secret that the tourism industry is associated with the mistreatment and exploitation of wildlife the world over. For many of us, travelling to an exotic location and getting up close and personal with the animals is something to tick of our bucket list however it’s time to think twice before engaging in these types of activities and contributing to the issue. These animals are captured and cruelly beaten all so that travellers will pay for a photo opportunity. From riding elephants to swimming with dolphins, these activities may bring a moment of joy to us, however they contribute to a life of cruelty for these species. There are many sanctuaries and centres you can visit instead that rescue and rehabilitate these animals and rely on charitable donations from visitors to continue their good work. Find out more on animal friendly travel at World Animal Protection.
4. RESPECT YOUR SURROUNDINGS
The world is full of beautiful, breathtaking locations waiting to be discovered. From the Great Barrier Reef to the Grand Canyon there are so many iconic and incredible destinations to explore however these will only remain if we as travellers are more respectful of our surroundings. Next time you take a trip, consider the impact you alone have - now imagine every other traveller adopts the same approach. We only have one planet and so doing our bit to protect and preserve everything from our beaches to jungles is a must to ensure future generations can experience and enjoy the natural beauty our world has to offer. Our beginners guide to ecotourism might help get you started, too.
5. OPT FOR ECO-FRIENDLY BEAUTY PRODUCTS
Did you know that some sun cream brands actually contain chemicals harmful to our oceans? Or that over a billion plastic toothbrushes are disposed of each year? When it comes to beauty, it’s now easier than ever to find environmentally friendly products to take with you on your travels. From skincare to toothbrushes, many companies now not only offer more eco-friendly products, they specialise in them too. From industry leaders like Lush to independent brands such as Truthbrush, before you stock up on travel-sized cosmetics this summer, do a little research and see the incredible alternatives available.
6. BE CONSCIOUS WHEN SOUVENIR SHOPPING
Travelling is all about making memories and so buying souvenirs or gifts abroad is a wonderful way to bring back a little piece of your trip with you. As we previously mentioned, supporting local businesses is a great way to be a more ethically minded traveller and this doesn’t have to stop at restaurants, shopping from local makers and artists gives back to these communities too. There are a few things to be conscious of however so keep an eye out for animal products featuring the likes of ivory and tortoiseshell as buying these will only encourage poachers to continue killing endangered species to make money.