BWW’S GUIDE TO SUSTAINABLE TRAVEL
Have a read of our top 10 tips on how to become a more sustainable traveller.
At BWW we want to help people travel the world responsibly and sustainably. We are at a critical point in our planet’s future and the actions we take now will determine its long-term survival.
With that in mind, we have created a ‘how to’ guide on being a positive traveller. Our guide has been developed to give real, practical advice on what immediate steps travellers can take to be responsible travellers.
1. GO SLOW – TRAVEL FOR LONGER & LESS FREQUENTLY
Discovering new landscapes on foot, by horse, bike or boat gives you the opportunity through ‘positive slowness’ to experience a destination that really allows you to feel, see and appreciate your surroundings. The concept of indulging in a gentle journey is becoming more and more popular as we begin to embrace slow travel.
Consider reducing the number of annual trips you take and spend more time on the ones you do. Not only will your carbon footprint reduce dramatically, your trip will be more in depth, allowing you to make more personal, meaningful connections. For time-poor individuals see if you can escape for longer and perhaps schedule some work whilst on the road. Combining travel with work commitments is becoming increasingly easier to do, especially with the increase in virtual meetings software.
2. RESEARCH YOUR TRAVEL PARTNERS
Do some research on the sustainability credentials of any travel partners you are using. At BWW sustainable travel is fundamental to our core. We only work with local partners who can demonstrate sustainable business practices. We will discuss ways to lower your trip’s carbon footprint before calculating the carbon emissions caused by flights, vehicles, boats and hotels. We then offset the carbon produced by your trip by using a Gold Standard offsetting scheme.
3. CHOOSE A SUSTAINABLE DESTINATION
Making a conscious decision on where to travel can maximise the positive impact your trip can have. Avoiding places that are plagued by mass tourism and choosing a destination that is less well known is a great way to explore our planet responsibly. Destinations can quickly go from being vastly over visited to complete ‘no-go’ areas. Natural disasters, political unrest and terrorism often result in a destination losing the majority of their visitors. For example, after the terror bombings in 2019 tourism in Sri Lanka dropped by 70%. Once safe to do so, returning to these countries that are so heavily reliant on tourism can make a huge social and economic impact.
4. RESEARCH HOTELS
Plenty of accommodation providers claim to be eco-friendly, the industry is rife with what we call ‘greenwashing’ (i.e. phrases like ‘dolphin friendly’ or ‘plastic free’). With a tiny bit of research you’ll quickly see past the ‘lip service’ and find truly sustainable properties to spend your time and money with. Check out their accreditations, find out how much power comes from renewable sources, discover if they are involved with the local community and you’ll soon discover if their walk lives up to their talk.
5. PACK MINDFULLY AND SUSTAINABLY
Choose to pack essentials only. Packing lighter clothes and shoes are a great way to minimise the weight of your luggage. For accessories there are more and more sustainable brands which combine a social purpose. For example, buy a pair of Pala Eyewear’s sunglasses and you’ll help provide eyecare solutions in Africa, including eye tests and glasses for children and adults.
Ensure your toiletries are free of chemical nasties and that they are packaged in sustainable, biodegradble packaging.
Finally, consider using a portion of your luggage allowance for the inspiring ‘Pack for A Purpose’ initiative. Since 2010 travellers have taken nearly 200,000 kilos of supplies including toothbrushes, pencils & books. You can check out their website here for a list of hotels that you can drop your donation to whilst in country.
6. RESEARCH ETHICAL INSURANCE COMPANIES
There are insurance companies out there who care about the planet, not just profits. This sector is evolving fast and if you spend a little bit of time researching you’ll get a good idea of who has ethical policies and investments. Visit who have the lowdown on ‘who’s who’ in the world of green investments.
7. MAKE SURE TO KEEP IT LOCAL
According to the United Nations, for every $100 spent by a tourist in a developing country, only $5 stays in the local economy. The best way to make sure your tourist dollars stay local is to think small – visit markets instead of supermarkets, book small guesthouses locally and use local independent cafes and restaurants rather than big corporate chains. Support the community by using local guides and organisations, not only will you help keep money in the local economy but it will give you a much richer, more genuine experience of the destination you’re visiting.
8. FOOD CHOICES
When choosing where to eat consider how seasonal the menu is. Do you get the impression all food is grown and produced locally? Are the restaurants actively promoting work with local farmers? We would always avoid a property offering a buffet as these tend to generate large amounts of food waste. Make sure you always have a reusable water bottle, we send our clients on their trips with an Ocean Bottle – a reuseable bottle that makes a difference to the amount of plastics found in our oceans.
9. DEDICATE SOME TIME TO RESPONSIBLE VOLUNTEERING
Sharing your time and experience is a great way to make a difference when travelling. Spending your time with local organisations that have a focus on conservation and environmental protection is a great way to get involved in worthwhile causes. We work with partners across the globe who we can put you in touch with if you would like to take part in some worthwhile local initiatives.
10. CHOOSE ACTIVITIES CAREFULLY
Choosing experiences where your family get to have a brilliant time but also give back to the planet is a great mantra to have. More and more organisations are making this possible. For example, diving and snorkelling can cause damage to sensitive marine eco-systems so make sure your chosen operator has a Green Fin seal of approval from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and you’ll be helping to champion the environment.
When it comes to visiting wildlife, any kind of encounter out with their natural habitat is a complete no no. Riding elephants, cuddling tiger cubs or swimming with dolphins in a pool are all examples of how not to interact with wildlife. Do your due diligence before visiting any sanctuary or animal welfare organisation. Reducing the impact humans are having on wildlife is one of the most ethical decisions you can make as a sustainable traveller.
E X C I T E D?
Taking your family on an African safari for the first time can be rather daunting. Parents are worried about what to expect and concerned about