10 Steps to Being a Sustainable Traveller

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Travelling is a wonderful opportunity to discover new cultures, reconnect with nature, stretch our boundaries and unwind. However, there is more to travel than meets the eye. With travelling comes the responsibility to preserve and protect the environments we visit so we can continue to enjoy them for years to come.

With the number of threats our environment faces today – it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when it comes to responsible travel. Yet, you may be surprised how easy it is to minimise your impact and contribute to the environment in a positive way. To help you get started, we’ve created 10 simple steps taken from our Responsible Travel Guidebook.

Featured image: Franklin River by Glen Walker.

1. Choose Carbon-Free Transport

Self-propelled modes of transport are not only good for you, they are good for the environment too! They are a great way to get fit and reduce your footprint. Whether you like walking, cycling or kayaking – they are all excellent ways to slow down and immerse yourself in the area you are visiting with minimal impact.

Kayaking in Coles Bay, Tasmania. Image credit: Brian Dodson

Kayaking in Coles Bay, Tasmania. Image credit: Brian Dodson

2. Avoid Single Use Plastic Bottles

It’s a well known fact that single-use plastic bottles are a problem for our planet, particularly in countries with no recycling systems in place. To reduce your impact, travel with a reusable drink bottle and fill up at potable water stations or use water purification tablets. There are also UV water purification drink bottles on the market too.

3. Leave No Trace

Help protect the long-term health of our natural world by practising the 7 Principals of ‘Leave No Trace’ whenever you are travelling through wilderness areas.

  1. Plan ahead and prepare
  2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces
  3. Dispose of waste properly
  4. Leave what you find
  5. Minimise campfire impacts
  6. Respect wildlife
  7. Be considerate of your hosts and other visitors

When in doubt – ‘take only photos and leave only footprints’. Learn More

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4. Be an Ambassador for Peace

Before leaving home, read and commit to the International Institute of Peace Through Tourism’s Credo of the Peaceful Traveller. Learn More

5. Keep Wilderness Trails Litter Free

Make your impact positive by signing up for initiatives such as 10 Pieces, a litter collection initiative that harnesses the collective power of travellers to keep wilderness trails free of litter. Learn More

Helping tidy up walking trails in Nepal through the 10 Pieces litter collection initiative.

Helping tidy up walking trails in Peru through the 10 Pieces litter collection initiative. Image credit: Mark Tipple.

6. Choose Sustainable Accommodation

Choose accommodation options that protect and conserve local environments, for example avoid tea house lodges in Nepal that contribute to the problem of deforestation. Learn More

Semi-permanent campsites on the Larapinta Trail.

Semi-permanent campsites on the Larapinta Trail.

7. Consider the Welfare of Animals

Whether wild or domesticated, all animals are entitled to the universally accepted principals of animal welfare called the Five Freedoms:

  1. Freedom from hunger or thirst
  2. Freedom from discomfort
  3. Freedom from pain, injury or disease
  4. Freedom to express (most) normal behaviours
  5. Freedom from fear and distress

Read our Animal Welfare Code of Conduct for a better idea of how you can ensure that your travels do not negatively impact all the beautiful creatures of the world.

Cute face of an infant mountain gorilla in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda. Image credit: Gus Cheung

Cute face of an infant mountain gorilla in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda. Image credit: Gus Cheung

8. Do Your Research

An informed traveller will make better decisions for the environment. We urge you to research the environmental issues faced by the destination you are visiting and to commit to minimising the contribution you make to these problems.

9. Take a Direct Flight 

Minimise the carbon produced by your air travel by booking the most direct flight to your destination. After all, sometimes the savings of cheaper indirect flights are not really worth it once you add up hotel costs, airport lounges or expensive airport meals.  Even better, off-set your air travel next time you travel to support sustainable energy projects through the South Pole Group. Find Out More

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Trekking in the Annapurna Ranges in Nepal. Image credit: Mark Tipple.

10. Choose Your Trip Carefully

Again, this comes down to doing your research. Look for substantial commitments to responsible travel, actual procedures and initiatives in place which make a positive impact on the local people and environment. Ensure that whoever you travel with has a proven commitment to responsible travel and the environment. Like us!

Responsible Travel with World Expeditions

World Expeditions is committed to sustainable travel. It was a commitment formed when the company was established. Today, in the face of a multitude of threats to the environment and culture, our commitment is stronger than ever. Over decades we have honed our responsible travel philosophy and are continually assessing and improving initiatives we have in the field to ensure that we minimise our impact and where possible leave behind a positive impression. Read more in our Responsible Travel Guidebook.

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