The hot topic right now is sustainable travel. And while travelling and experiencing the world is one of the greatest things you can do, is it possible to see the world and give something back at the same time?
Exposure to other lands, other ways of life and other people is a well-recognised route to broadening your mind, enriching your life experience and perhaps finding out quite a bit about yourself and what makes you tick along the way. But more and more of us are realising that our holidays come at a cost – environmentally and socially, and we want to find some way of redressing that balance through sustainable travel. It turns out there are all sorts of ways to combine wonderful experiences and being a little socially responsible. Everything from microchipping endangered black rhinoceros in the Serengeti to ideas like trekking up Kilimanjaro for charity for instance – the opportunities are as limitless as the places you can visit.
Try Some Volunteering
One of the quickest routes into doing some good while you travel is to look for volunteering work. There are all sorts of organisations all over the globe looking for help, so finding an overseas volunteering project is easy. Whether you want to help to construct schools in Namibia or clear nature reserves in Cambodia, there will be a chance out there which will suit you. Some volunteering organisations have outside funding and you can join the project for free, while others charge a small fee to volunteers, but include food and accommodation. Do your research before you go and you could have a life-changing experience ahead.
Find Tours Which Give Back
Some organisations offer a tourist experience which takes you off the beaten track and makes memories that will last a lifetime – all as profits are poured back into funding local community projects. Tour operators like Epic Road are all about letting you see the reality behind the picture postcards in places like India, meeting and mixing with local residents, having the chance to contribute in a small way to their own improvement of their living situation. There are now many eco-friendly resorts located in faraway paradise locations which seek to minimise their ecological impact, give back to local people through employment and a celebration of their culture and use locally sourced items to stimulate the economy and limit their carbon footprint. Seek these destinations out and you can be confident that you’re seeing the world without causing undue harm.
Keep Your Transport Green
Of course, flying anywhere always has a negative toll, but using carbon offsetting schemes can help to balance out some of the damage and achieve some means of sustainable travel. Once at your destination, walk whenever possible – this also offers the best way to really see and experience your destination. If somewhere is too far to walk, use the local public transport network, and always try to carry a refillable bottle rather than buying plastic water bottles all the time. Choose to buy from local businesses and artisans wherever possible as well. Little choices like this can make a big difference.