With so much focus on phrases such as ‘eco-friendly’ and ‘sustainability’ lately, it’s no surprise that conscious travel is the hottest travel trend for 2019 — but what exactly is this new trend in travel?
“Conscious travel is about human rights and sustaining communities, not just about environmentalism.”
What is conscious travel?
Conscious travel is making sure that when traveling, you do so mindfully, taking into consideration the impact of your trip on the environment.
The rise in conscious travel comes as the awareness of climate change increases. People are more aware of the numerous species facing endangerment, the rising sea levels, and most importantly, how our actions are harming our ecological system. Our decisions and lifestyle habits are increasingly important in every aspect of our lives, including travel.
Understandably, a lot of travelers are under the assumption that eco-friendly travel means sacrificing luxury or modern comforts. This is not true. Don’t let the term ‘conscious travel’ scare you into thinking you’ll end up in a straw outbuilding, sitting in the center of the outback.
The benefits of this movement extend across communities, the economy and the environment, but why is it important and why should we invest in this specific kind of travel and tourism?
Why is conscious travel important?
According to a study by Unilever, over the last year, consumers have become more aware of ethical consumption. Over a third of consumers have noted prioritizing sustainability when booking their holiday. This means that companies providing options for conscious travel, and demonstrating a concern for environmental impact are more likely to be favored.
Conscious travel benefits local communities
A large influx of tourists can have a damaging effect on the environment and lifestyles of the local neighborhood. As demand for local goods spike, so do their prices, pushing the cost of living up for locals. Taking a more conscious approach to travel can help minimize the negative impact on communities.
Travel can be more meaningful and personal experience
Choosing a more environmental option by integrating with the local neighborhood, farmers, and families will provide a more insightful and authentic experience to your holiday, as well as being kinder to the planet. Purchasing their goods and services also helps benefit the local economy.
How can I become a conscious traveler?
Travel is one of life’s greatest pleasures and traveling consciously doesn’t mean losing any of that. Taking small and steady steps towards slowing-down the process of climate change can make a big impact, so we have compiled a list of easy changes you can make to reduce your travel carbon footprint while still enjoying the world.
Create a conscious travel-packing list
In a time where disposable habits have become the norm, it’s good to be mindful of ways to avoid them if you want to practice sustainable travel. For example, instead of buying plastic bottles of water on your travels, bring a refillable water bottle. This way, you can bring it along to each activity and to meals, reducing the wastage of both paper or plastic cups and bottles, as well as water.
You could also pack your own towels that can be reused throughout your stay, and instead of paper napkins, use cloth napkins that can be cleaned, dried and reused.
These are just two travel tips that can help you travel consciously.
Do your research
One of the biggest contributions to how green your holiday is, is the accommodation. Before booking, it’s good to carry out research to try and find out about the accommodation company’s ethos towards sustainability. What measures do they have in place to make their spaces more environmental?
For example, are LED light bulbs and solar panels installed? Do they source their fresh produce from local farmers with fair prices? Are there separate bins for different kinds of waste? Keep these questions in mind and always check the hotelier’s profile to ensure you can enjoy a guilt-free holiday.
Recycle where possible
Some waste is unavoidable, however, don’t forget to recycle just because you’re traveling. Each year, tons of waste that can be recycled end up in landfills. The result? Incinerated and toxic pollutants released into the air, damaging the O-Zone layer, which protects the Earth from dangerous UV-Rays and global heating. Choose a hotel with an active recycling system in place to keep unnecessary waste to a minimum.
Support the Local Community
When you’re visiting a location, try your best to support the local community. This means shopping at locally-owned stores, and eating at non-chain, local restaurants. In foreign countries, the US dollar often goes much further than you would imagine. So consider hiring a local guide when doing activities that support them, if you want to be a more conscious traveller.
Spread the word
You’ve learned all about the benefits of conscious travel, now it is time to spread the word so we can all work together!
Change your travel habits today!
Every small change you make to the way you travel can have a positive impact. Before booking your next eco-friendly and sustainable holiday, do your own research to make your trip an environmental one. As Mother Nature has been our provider, it is time for us to take care of her as we explore our planet.