Thursday 3 March 2022

5 Ways To Make Holidaying Abroad More Ethical

Image Credit: Pixabay

{This is a collaborative post}

It’s become increasingly common to set aside international travel in recent years, as the cost of living, the risks of Covid and the environmental toll have all become starkly obvious. Make no mistake, these are all perfectly good reasons to focus more on a staycation or a local holiday and a lesson we can all learn is that there is beauty and interest on our doorstep. From now on, hopefully, the dial will be turned in favour of more domestic travel, but it would, however, be a shame to become totally insular and miss out on the delights that can be experienced in other countries. A good way forward could be to focus on more ethical ways to see the world and contribute to tourist economies.

Can you travel internationally without compromising on your principles? Yes, but it will take a little more effort. Is it worth it? Yes, it certainly is. Below, we’ll go into some of the ways you can satisfy the more ambitious parts of your wanderlust without having to silence the ethical voice that keeps you on the straight and narrow, as well as recommending some places you can see while doing so. Safe travels (for you and the planet)!

Focus on the local

Just as you can favour local economies at home and keep your carbon footprint to a minimum, overseas travel can offer you opportunities to do likewise. The best way of doing this is to visit destinations outside of the tourist season and keep your focus on the local area. If you go to France, it doesn’t have to be all about heading to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower. There are innumerable delightful French villages that you can reach without even stepping on a plane - and while there you can eat at independent local restaurants, travel by public transport and stay in family-owned accommodation such as B&Bs.

This way, you contribute to the local economy of these areas, conserve the natural character of the communities and experience the genuine uniqueness of your destination - and all without having to queue for hours to see something you’ve seen thousands of times on TV!

Image Credit: Pixabay

Seek out ethical operators

Big name travel operators grow their businesses by working in bulk - getting as many people to as large a list of destinations as possible, and making it as easy as popping to the next town over. As a result, the holidays they lay on are often about as inspiring as popping to the next town over. Once you’ve seen one tourist-filled resort on the Mediterranean coast, you’ve pretty much seen them all. If, however, you book with an ethical operator, your experience will be far more inspiring.

Look out for operators based in the area you’re travelling to, where the money you spend booking the trip will go to a family business, and the hotels will be independent and based in the community. There are ethical operators to be found in the likes of Costa Rica, Norway, Peru and many more besides.

Take home ethical souvenirs

Millions of tourists pour into New York every year, and millions pour out again with T-shirts, mugs, keyrings and mouse mats emblazoned with “I [heart] NY” on them. That’s fair enough, it’s an iconic piece of memorabilia, but it’s also about as locally authentic as a fast-food receipt. There are better ways to remember a place that you have visited, and they begin by visiting local markets, buying clothes, textiles or other artisan creations made by local people. A bottle of locally-made wine or beer is another good souvenir.

To get a little more esoteric or personal, a copy of the local paper from the day you arrived can be a pleasant keepsake, and of course, you should take photos to remember the trip. Why not have them turned into canvas prints that can hang on your wall and form part of a travel montage? Then each memory can be preserved forever with these simple and beautiful touches.

Image Credit: Pixabay

Eat like the locals 

One reason that Anglophone tourists have come to have a bad name is that too many have gained a reputation for showing up in a place, staring at things and conversing loudly, among themselves, in English. Why go to another country if you’re not going to absorb some of the local culture and make an effort to engage with local people? Perhaps the best way of doing this is to mix where people mix - in marketplaces, bars and restaurants, enjoying the local produce.

Anywhere you go, you’ll find restaurants and market stalls selling local specialities - from poutine in Quebec, through pierogi in Poland, to the delicious South African delicacy of Bunny Chow. There are so many amazing tastes to experience and of course, in every town, you’ll never be far from a local bar or cafe where you can buy something cold to wash the food down.

Make friends

Guide books can tell you a certain amount about a town or city you are visiting. They can tell you street addresses of decent hotels and bars, as well as (possibly out of date) information about nearby attractions. If, however, you actually speak to locals, they’ll show you what’s really great about their town. It’s ideal if you’re able to speak some of the language; even if you can muster little more than a badly-mangled approximation of “Where is the nearest pharmacy?” you’ll get points for trying, which so many tourists never bother to do. It will make people warm to you, and usually, some combination of their language and yours will get the conversation flowing.

Locals know the place you are visiting in a way that no guidebook can ever manage because they’ve been there for years. They’ve woken up there, gone to work there, eaten and drank there, and the place is in their bones. Make friends with the locals, and you’ll see your destination at its best and also provided them with a positive experience of a tourist visitor.

All of the above tips - barring, maybe, the one about speaking the language! - are ones that can be put into practice on a UK staycation or on a more international holiday. Each of the tips will be sure to enhance your enjoyment of any trip you do make. Have fun!

Enjoyed this post? Never miss out on future posts 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...