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3 Tips for Travelling Ethically Around the World

14 August 2023
3 Tips for Travelling Ethically Around the World

Travel can help us to expand our horizons, become more tolerant and understanding of others, and better appreciate the world around us. Unfortunately, for all of the personal benefits it can bring, travel runs the risk of doing harm to the environment and to local communities and economies in touristic destinations.

As we become more conscious of the damage that travel can do, we're seeing a rise in ethical tourism, whereby tourists try to minimise their negative impact, and instead, bring advantages to the people, animals, and environment of their travel destination. In 2023, 69% of tourists chose to make more sustainable travel plans, and we can expect this rate to rise over the coming years. To become a more ethical and responsible traveller, consider these three tips to ensure your global travel plans do good for yourself and others.

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1. Choose destinations with ethical food and accommodation options

Some destinations are a little easier for ethical travel than others. Consider the culture of different countries and how this impacts your ability to choose eco-friendly accommodation, travel and dining options. For example, finding plant-based food in Taipei, Taiwan is easy, given that 14% of the population doesn't eat meat. Similarly, Zurich in Switzerland has strict laws surrounding vehicle pollution, meaning that you can easily access clean transport to explore the city.

Some countries are working hard to protect the environment and local populations against the damaging effects of tourism by making changes to local laws and regulations. A common tactic is to create protected areas to prevent tourists from damaging at-risk habitats, or to charge tourist fees to cover the cost of environmental conservation.

Ultimately, you can build an ethical vacation from the ground up when you choose countries that are already prioritising responsible, sustainable tourism with these types of strategies. Belize, Barbados, Cabo Verde, Costa Rica, Botswana, Chile, Mongolia, Palau, Seychelles and Timor-Leste are the world's most ethical destinations, according to Ethical Traveler.

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    2. Support local, independent businesses

    Ethical travel focuses on protecting and supporting local communities and economies. Tourism runs the risk of harming local economies when wealthy international companies own local hotels and holiday accommodation. However, locals often find themselves reliant on the tourist industry for jobs. One of the best ways to support the local community and economy is to make use of small, independent businesses rather than large international ones.

    It often feels easier to find vegan and vegetarian food options in chain stores and restaurants than in small, local stores and eateries, but it’s best to try to avoid the convenience of big brands where you can if you want to shop sustainably and ethically. To do this abroad, it’s worth learning the basics of the local language so that you can ask around for the best local and plant-based food options.

    When you request vegan and vegetarian food options, you demonstrate to business owners that there's a demand for plant-based products and dishes, which might encourage them to increase their offerings for future visitors.

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    3. Consume local produce and buy local souvenirs

    Imported produce and goods carry a higher carbon footprint than those made locally, making local goods and produce the more ethical option. If you follow a plant-based diet, it's easy to become accustomed to buying food products or ingredients that you already know. Unfortunately, these products that you are used to eating back at home may come with an ethical cost if they've been imported to your travel destination. Doing plenty of research before your trip can help you to avoid familiar but non-local produce and discover locally-grown plant-based ingredients instead.

    It’s also important to be mindful of the origin of the souvenirs that you buy when on your travels, as it’s common for stores targeted at tourists to import mass-produced goods that are cheaply made from unsustainable materials like plastic. For this reason, it’s best to avoid such stores where you can and choose more sustainable, artisanal goods made by locals instead. Such products will have a lower carbon footprint, and are likely to be better quality – not to mention, you’ll be directly supporting a local artist with any purchase that you make.

    Explore without harm when you choose ethical travel tactics

    Travel does lots of good for us as individuals, but it's vital to consider its effects on the world at large. By following these 3 tips, you can make your global adventures as sustainable and ethical as possible.

    Loveholidays is the UK’s fastest-growing travel agent. They’re on a mission to open the world to everyone. They’ve become the fastest-growing travel agent by offering unlimited choice, unmatched ease, and unmissable value. They believe that holidays refresh and renew us. That travel makes new connections, turns strangers into friends and that it shouldn’t be an expensive luxury.

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