Responsible Travel Tips
I LOVE traveling!
It’s the thing I look forward to every year: the anticipation of exploring new cultures, eating new foods, expanding my kids and my own mindset, and sitting by a gorgeous beach with a cold drink in hand. Yes, please!!!
It also means getting away from the normal everyday grind! Everyone likes to get away sometimes.
Travel has become one of the most popular hobbies nowadays. Millions of people pack their bags and travel every year like never before in human history. The ability to explore almost every square inch of this beautiful Earth is accessible to the masses. And masses they are.
Not all traveling is created equal of course. The back of the bus doesn’t compare to first class. The hostel with a dude snoring on the bunk above you is on a different level than the Four Seasons.
And not all traveling has the same impact. We’ve been hearing more and more about trash islands twice the size of Texas and the slow degradation of naturally beautiful areas. Remote paradises quickly turn into overcrowded tourist traps when a gorgeous image trends on Instagram. Coral reefs are dying from toxic sunscreens and indigenous communities are being marginalized when hotel and cruise-ship corporations take all the benefits of a location being popular.
Yes, this is a negative way to look at it, but it’s a balance of course, as is life. The fun of travel along with its economic benefits have to be accompanied by a realization that every outing we take has an impact.
I’m happy to say, responsible travel has become a thing. There are easy things we can do to think outside of the box with the decisions we make regarding our travel choices.
Here’s a list of easy, quick solutions that we can be conscious of while booking our next adventure:
- Switch to reef-safe sunscreen. Here are a few options.
- Bring a reusable non-plastic water bottle and use refilling stations around the world. Most airports around the world have filtered water refilling stations.
- Travel with a small reusable bag that folds up nice and small in your purse or backpack. Don’t contribute another plastic bag to the landfill every time you buy something.
- Another way to cut down on plastic usage while traveling is to carry a water filter with you!! Steripen or Life Straw are two great options.
- Buy locally made goods, not imported ones.
- Consider Eco-Hotels or Boutique Hotels instead of corporate hotels, cruise ships, or even urban Airbnbs (who take away from local long-term rentals). Even doing this for a small portion of your vacation experience could benefit your life and the local families. If you persist in staying at an AirBnB or VRBO, make sure to stay at a permitted property.
- Choose locally sourced food from locally owned restaurants. Get out of the resort or cruise ship and find some yummy small local restaurants. Ask the locals where to go and support the actual families that live in that gorgeous town.
- Only frequent animal attractions that are actual sanctuaries instead of activities that train animals for entertainment. Find Out More
- Fully research “voluntourism” opportunities before signing up. Look up if they actually have any negative side effects first. For more details on this, I recommend watching “The Last Tourist” documentary.
- Do book a “voluntourism” activity that gives back to the community AND gives you an amazing experience. See Suggestions
- Book activities with local guides and if you can, tip them. Here are some great local Maui companies you can support:
- Only leave footprints! Pack it in, pack it out.
- And of course, don’t litter.
- There are plenty more. Please add them to the comments below!
Mahalo for reading Responsible Travel Tips! For more great Hawaii activities, knowledge, and advice please check out our activities page.
Media Director – Activity Authority