How You Can be Part of Sustainable Travel NOW

By Allegra Lynch, President of Authentic Vacations

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When we think of sustainable travel,  what comes to mind is the energy we use to go from one place to another.  Exciting prospects are on that horizon. At the last World Economic Forum, many attendees arrived in jets powered by SAF—Sustainable Aviation Fuel.  This fuel comes from refined plants or waste products as opposed to fossil fuels—it’s a lot more earth-friendly.  How about going electric? We’ll see that for short flights by the end of this decade.

 

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But sustainable travel is so much more, and that more can offset the carbon footprint.  We just need to be aware, and active, around the other important aspects of sustainability.

 

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Being considerate of the environment and contributing to local businesses are huge parts of the sustainable equation.  Positively impacting a society is, too—that includes teaching, helping a community achieve economic freedom, and medical care.  But let’s talk about what we can all do right now.

 

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Whether we’re traveling for business, taking a trip we’ve dreamed about forever, exploring with friends and family, or venturing out solo on a whim, we can actively support sustainability.  Our checklist includes using local transportation and lodgings , diving into the culinary scene, shopping for items by area artists and craftspeople, and encouraging communication. (And each is a unique opportunity to create memories.)

 

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Step out of the familiar.  Immerse yourself in the people, nature, culture, and customs of the places you visit. Doing this sends your happiness quotient soaring, and it boosts the well-being of the area you’re discovering.

I’ve been travelling for decades—my parents got me off to an early start.   I consider that to be an enormous stroke of good luck.  Travel has taught me to move seamlessly through various cultures, both abroad and at home.  It has supported my ability to face challenges while remaining calm.  It makes me, I hope, a more understanding person.

 

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Travel shapes us.  We become resilient, self-confident and empathetic.  These qualities serve us in our personal lives, but they also create healthy, global interactions.  We truly are one.  We see our differences disappear when we travel with people and understand their cultures.

My earliest memories are of back roads.  They were green and twisted, punctuated by homes with peeling paint and families on the front porch.  Roadside stands, with farm women selling fresh jams and juices, were always worth a stop.  I remember one stand where an ancient man, who sparkled, sold his hand-carved red birds.  (I still have mine.) The money he earned went into a tin coffee can, and you can bet that money was spent in the grocery store down the street.

My wish is for travelers to experience their vacations, even if they’re in a big city, as if they’re on a back road.  I want them to dip into local cultures and see life through new eyes.  Harmonious relations are definitely part of fostering a green world, and strong communities support our drive for innovation and need for security.

 

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I encourage travelers to welcome awe.  When we’re filled with wonder, two things happen:  We don’t have anxiety—wonder and anxiety cannot co-exist, it’s simply impossible.  Here’s the second thing that happens when wonder is a player:  We feel deep appreciation for natural beauty and we want to protect it.  Walk through an ancient grove in Scotland, see a reindeer herd, and tell me you don’t care what happens to them. I won’t believe you!

 

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Consider experiences and places off the beaten path that boost locals. Natural wonders, vibrant food scenes, arts and crafts, homemade music and festivals, and unique wellness opportunities are all elements of sustainable travel.

 

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Here’s how to be part of the sustainable travel movement:

  1. Buy local products.
  2. Use local guides.
  3. Avoid chain lodgings
  4. Support local economies. (St-Georges-Market_Belfast.jpg)
  5. Be a tidy traveler—don’t leave trash behind.
  6. Enjoy fresh-to-fork foods. (Mushroom-Foraging-Leitrim.jpg.)
  7. Look for flights with the fewest stops.

 

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Last and definitely not least:

  1. Accept kindness and spread joy.  Nothing creates a healthier planet.

 

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Allegra Lynch is President of Authentic Vacations, the US brand of Tour Partner Group. She sits on the board of directors for Tour Partner Group, a multi-national collection of destination management companies headquartered in London. In her role as President, she uses the latest technologies, paired with unique local in-destination products, to provide authentic travel experiences, with an eye on customization, to travelers worldwide.  Her goal is to build healthy relationships on every level of the travel industry. Her joy is to travel mindfully and with curiosity.

Authentic Vacations specializes in creating customizable itineraries, featuring a variety of authentic experiences and accommodations.  All are carefully vetted to ensure that every client has a unique adventure, one that they choose. As a division of the esteemed Tour Partner Group (TPG), Authentic Vacations is a leading travel provider for destinations across the globe. With its culturally-diverse staff of travel experts, and offices in Dublin, London, Edinburgh, Copenhagen, Scottsdale, and San Francisco, Authentic Vacations offers a level of personalization and client support that is unsurpassed in the travel industry.

 


5 Easy Ways To Be A More Responsible Traveler 

By Intrepid Travel

Do Your Pre-trip Research

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One of the first steps to traveling more responsibly is to conduct pre-trip research. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the country – including its religion, the local rules and values, and the cultural and social norms – to learn what is appropriate behavior while you’re visiting.

During your research, you should consider tour operators and travel companies that support the local economy by using local guides and supporting local businesses, hotels, restaurants and other services. Book with companies that have strict sustainability and animal welfare guidelines and who also give back to local communities, to ensure you are traveling in the most responsible manner and also using your holiday as a force for good.

 

Offset Your Trip

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While tourism is responsible for about eight percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, it is also responsible for a lot of good in the world. Travel allows us to learn about other cultures and their everyday lives and challenges, brings income to communities that rely on tourists and makes us all more open-minded.

Instead of choosing to not travel, consider reducing your footprint and offsetting the impact of your travels. Some airlines offer you the opportunity to offset your flights, and you can also choose to travel with carbon neutral companies who will offset your trip on your behalf.

For instance, for less than the cost of a Netflix subscription, you can commit to a subscription service that helps the planet, through the company Offset Earth. Starting at $6.50 per month, you can part of the climate crisis solution. Offset Earth partners with climate projects all over the world to offset carbon emissions on behalf of subscribers and, as a bonus, plants trees. By committing to a subscription plan via the Offset Earth x Intrepid page, Intrepid Travel will match subscribers’ tree for tree, meaning for every tree planted through Offset Earth, Intrepid will plant one too, effectively doubling your offset contribution.

 

Behave Like a Traveler, Not a Tourist

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While it might be okay for you to act or wear what you please at home, in many countries it is disrespectful to show too much skin or do certain things in public. Using a tour operator that employs local guides to assist you along the way is a great way to learn more, but it’s good to follow a few basic rules too. As a rule of thumb, travelers should abide by the following:

  • Be prepared to cover shoulders and knees and remove hats when in traditional areas and places of worship.
  • Always ask permission before taking photos of local people.
  • Don’t participate in direct interaction with a wild animal, such as riding elephants, or support any attractions in which animals are used for performances.

 

Support Local Businesses

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By choosing to invest your money in local services you are putting money directly into the local economy and supporting local families. Eat local food, use public transport, hire a bike or walk where convenient – you’ll meet local people and get to know the place. Shop from traditional artisans and for locally made products, helping keep traditional crafts alive and favor local products over imported items. By default, you’re also lowering your carbon footprint since the businesses are likely to source their supplies locally. Not only is this style of travel responsible, it will also make your travel experience that much more authentic.

 

Leave Nothing Behind

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Minimizing your waste and impact is one of the easiest ways to be a responsible traveler. Travel with some basics: a reusable cup, a water bottle, a metal or bamboo straw, reusable cutlery, and a fabric shopping bag. You can even buy water purifiers that filter out harmful bacteria, making bottled water less necessary. Plastics and other products aren’t biodegradable, so it’s important to be mindful of how much waste you’re producing and ensuring it’s being disposed of properly. Take care of the environment as you would your own home.

 

 

Intrepid Travel is the worlds largest B Corp certified adventure travel company. The company offers more than 1000+ trips in more than 120 countries and on every continent. A world leader is sustainable small group adventures, all of Intrepid’s trips are carbon-offset and designed to truly experience local culture – to meet local people, try local food, take local transport and stay in local accommodation. For more information: www.intrepidtravel.com