This page is really important to us as we really love exploring new places, seeing the beauty of God’s creation and the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of others’ cultures and experiences, but there are important side-effects to consider. Travelling is even more enjoyable if we can make it a force for good for others as well as ourselves!
. Check out Ethical Consumer’s guide to sunscreens before you stock up on essential supplies.
. Look out for organisations that have been accredited by Green Tourism – the world’s most credible sustainable tourism programme.
. It’s obvious but think twice about flying. Loco2 can help you travel through Europe by train as easily as taking a flight. If you do have to fly consider offsetting the carbon you emit using Climate Care or The Carbon Neutral Company. For further information about offsetting read this Guardian article. Friends of the Earth has 30 no-fly holiday ideas to whet your appetite.
. If you love to travel you can not only make sure that your own travel is as ethical as possible, but, through Tourism Concern, you can also campaign for a world free from exploitation in which all parties involved in tourism benefit equally and in which relationships between industry, tourists and host communities are based on trust and respect. You can buy their Ethical Travel Guide here, and apparently they will be launching an on-line guide later in 2014.
. Before you book into an impersonal chain hotel and do the standard touristy things, check out 24 Apps to Help You Travel Like a Local for some alternative inspiration.
. Couchsurfing – the world’s largest travel community. Get to know a new place through the eyes of a local and enjoy giving and receiving free accommodation. We have been doing this for years, and have stayed with fascinating people in places as diverse as LA, Montevideo, Buenos Aires and Oslo. We’ve also had people to stay with us from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Germany, Romania and Canada. Having people to stay is a great way to get travel experience without increasing your own carbon footprint!
. If you are interested in spending some time volunteering while on holiday or on a Gap Year make sure you consider the ethics of the organisation you are using. Tourism Concern has some useful guidance and can help you find an ethical volunteering organisation.
. Green Traveller is a website that features hundreds of eco-friendly places to stay and fab holidays that can be conveniently reached by bike, public transport, train or ferry. They also produce Greentraveller’s Guides to unique protected areas, such as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and National Parks, as well as to other wonderful holiday destinations, packed with tips on where to sleep, eat, shop and visit.
. If you’re looking for accommodation that caters for vegetarians these directories might be useful:
Veggie Places – a worldwide guide for vegetarian, vegan and veggie-friendly restaurants, cafes, hotels, guest houses, pubs and shops. They identify restaurants and hotels that make a genuine effort to cater well for vegetarians. There are currently 2,664 vegetarian restaurants and hotels listed, together with 4,143 reviews.
Vegetarian Visitor – annually updated and award winning UK vegetarian guide to accommodation, B&B, guest houses, hotels, pubs cafes, vegetarian restaurants that take catering for vegetarians and vegans seriously. I don’t find the web-site very easy to search but there should be good information if you persevere!
. What about visiting the people who create your beautiful Fair Trade products? Traidcraft runs Meet the People tours. You’ll learn something of the different cultures, visit development projects and sites of interest, meet a wide variety of people, including some Traidcraft producers and have your ideas of developing countries challenged. Their tours are much more than a holiday.
. Responsible Travel – eco-holidays, responsible tourism – travel like a local.
. Organic Holidays – organic places to stay, eco-friendly accommodation, B&B, farm stays and restaurants.
. Chillout Retreats – healthy breaks in the UK and abroad.
. WWOOFing – connecting people who want to live and learn on organic farms and smallholdings with people who are looking for volunteer help.
A point to note – as global citizens we should consider it in our own interest (as well as for others!) to aid health improvements of the poor, since it is from an overcrowded slum that the next pandemic is likely to emerge.