With the current state of the world today with the depletion of the world's natural resources, environmental destruction, rising pollution, greenhouse gases & natural disasters. The picture we are all faced with looks very bleak at the moment. Fortunately, there now appears to be a growing consensus amongst most countries that something urgent needs to be done to avoid catastrophic environmental disasters in the future.
Travel and tourism as a whole has also added to this bleak picture with effects ranging from the destruction of natural habitats in order to accommodate new high rise hotels to excess carbon emissions through an explosion in cheap flights.
To minimize or reverse some of the damage, it is essential to travel responsibly in order to benefit the environment, the economy, the local people and also, you as an individual through knowing that you have added something of value to the world. To help in this process, please use the tips below and if you come across any other helpful ways of travelling responsibly, share them by completing the feedback form.
- Buy locally grown produce to minimize the amount of imported goods which will reduce transport and carbon emissions.
- Reduce water consumption by not leaving the tap on while you brush your teeth, by filling the kettle with only the water needed, by taking showers instead of a bath and by using only the minimal amount of water for household tasks and gardening.
- Reduce energy consumption by insulating the house more effectively, wearing more thin layers of clothing instead of turning up the heating and using energy efficient light bulbs.
- Try to recycle as much of your waste rubbish, paper, glass, clothes and metal as possible.
- Before setting off on your gap year travel, plan your route well to minimize flights and plan to travel lightly by only taking essentials. Minimize packaging and research your destination.
- Whenever possible, use public transport or walk to reduce pollution and to help support the local economy. Alternatively, hire a bike.
- Respect new countries and cultures. Approach your travels with an open mind to fully immerse yourself in the experience. Avoid comparison with your home country. Dress sensibly according to local rules.
- Learn a few words of the local language to help you get around as well as to mix socially with the local population.
- Just like at home, minimize water and energy consumption to avoid wasting valuable resources.
- Support local businesses which try to benefit the local environment through using renewable forms of energy and by protecting the local way of life.
- Do not litter, pollute or damage the local environment.
- Avoid buying animal products especially when they come from endangered species.
Hopefully with the right balance of responsible travel and new experiences, your gap year travel will be an amazing and rewarding experience which will stay with you for many years to come.