Responsible Travel Tips for Meaningful Experiences on the Road
Much has changed since I set out on my first solo trip, began my journey as a travel blogger and began to pay attention to responsible travel tips – way back in 2011. Travelling has become more accessible, flights are cheaper than ever before and Instagram has changed the way we view the world.
In the age of overtourism and in the midst of a climate crisis, becoming a responsible traveller is not just a pressing need to protect the incredible natural and cultural heritage of our world. It is also the only way we can still find authentic experiences, engage meaningfully with locals and savor the pristine beauty (or what remains of it) on our planet.
Also read: The Ultimate Guide to Sustainable Fashion in India
Responsible Travel Tips, Definition and Examples
Before jumping into my responsible travel tips based on a decade of meaningful globetrotting, it’s important to understand what it means to be a responsible tourist, no matter where in the world we are.
What exactly is responsible travel?
Simply put, it is a commitment to travel choices (getting to a destination, where to stay, what to eat, what to do) that are mindful of the environment, inclusive of local communities and soothing for our restless soul. It is often used interchangeably with “sustainable tourism”.
Is there an official definition of responsible tourism?
While there are many ways to define responsible tourism, the one that I personally believe in was adopted at the Cape Town Responsible Tourism Declaration:
“Responsible tourism is about making better places for people to live in and better places for people to visit.”
According to the UNWTO:
Example of responsible tourism
While there are many environmentally and socially responsible travel initiatives out there, one of my favorites is the Black Sheep Inn, set in the remote outpost of Chugchilan at over 10,000 feet in the Ecuadorean Andes. The eco-lodge literally brought tourism, waste management and environmental education to the area, and is well on its way to self-sufficiency in energy, water and food production – thereby scoring admirably on the 3 pillars of responsible tourism (social, environmental and economic).