As we learn more about the impact travel has on the world and its cultures, many people are looking for experiences that will leave less of a footprint while also providing a more authentic and enriching experience.
The latest buzz phrases “sustainable travel” and “responsible travel” and all that attaches to them can make traveling as such a daunting endeavor, especially with kids. But, there are a few simple ways you can make your trips more responsible and more fulfilling.
One of the easiest ways to travel responsibly is to give back to the local economy. We’re not talking hand-outs here. Rather, when shopping, dining and touring, use local purveyors. Not only are you helping to support local industry, you are also getting a more authentic experience.
Follow Local Customs
Do a little research before you go so you know what the customs and traditions are. Sometimes, participating in these are the most memorable experiences.
Immersing yourself in local culture offers a great education and, often, a lot of fun. Kids will likely get a kick out of having to take off their shoes before entering a restaurant in Japan. Who wouldn’t want to try their hand at feeding the cows when staying in a local village?
Take Re-fillable Water Bottles
If the place you are traveling to has tap water that is safe for drinking, bring along your own water bottles and fill them from the tap. If you can’t use tap water, you can still bring your own bottles.
Buy a big 5 liter jug at the grocery store and then refill from that. At a minimum, you’ll cut down on the amount of plastic being used and you’ll save money while you’re at it. Save the world, save your wallet!
Bus, Bike, Boat, Metro!
Take the bus or metro, rent a bike, hop on a ferry, flag down a rickshaw. Depending on where you are, there may be other ways of getting around that will leave less of a carbon footprint. Often times, they’re also a lot more fun than piling into a car or taxi.
Help Preserve the World’s Natural Beauty
An easy way to help preserve our planet is to pick up trash, and not just your own. Some friends of ours take a small plastic bag with them whenever they go on a hike or head to the beach so that they can collect any trash they come across. They’ll later dispose of it in a bin or recycling container. Kids learn about conservation, preservation, recycling, and that small acts can make positive contributions to improving our world.