Responsible travel is about ‘creating better places for people to live in, and better places to visit’
What this looks like in practice is subject to much discussion and debate but in a nutshell we believe we have a responsibility to ensure we respect for the local culture, environment and people we and our clients visit.
Our tour operators and trips
We work with partners that share our commitment to responsible tourism. We don’t ask them to adhere to specific responsible tourism standards or associations but work on an individual basis to identify and minimise any negative environmental or social impact of their trips and maximise the positive ones.
Our ultimate aim is to have a positive impact on the places that we are all so privileged to be able to visit.
The types of things we look at include:
- Minimising water waste and implementing water saving practices
- Minimising energy use by encouraging energy efficiency and supporting renewable energy projects
- Minimising waste and pollution generated from our trips
- Encouraging the local sourcing of food and other equipment and materials required for our trips
- Favouring accommodation that is actively minimising its environmental impact and helping guests to do the same
- Working with operators to encourage staff training in good environmental practice
- Supporting the local economies of the places we visit by working with small, locally owned businesses where possible
- Working to ensure local staff get a fair wage for their work and that guide tips are in addition to this
- Supporting local responsible tourism initiatives and community projects
Travel is complex and each traveller has to make their own judgement. We appreciate any feedback from customers on our trips and policies and ways in which we could improve them.
Our own impact
We try our best to minimise our environmental impact with our office work in the UK and Liberia
- Travelling abroad to meet our operators is a vital part of ensuring we deliver the best service to customers but we limit our flights by taking overland options where time and cost allow. When we are in the UK its public transport and our trusty bikes all the way!
- We limit our use of paper by sending documents by email instead of post wherever possible. The paper and stationary we do use is recycled or responsibly sourced.
- We are careful to minimise our energy and water use in the office and when we are travelling.
As we grow we are committed to measuring and reporting our carbon footprint and to setting targets to reduce this.
What you can do
Before you go
Remember, often “the journey is the reward”.
Your destination might be far away but it doesn’t mean you have to fly there. Many of our trips involve journeys whether by land or sea and we’ll help customers to swap an internal flight for a overland or rail journey where possible to enable them to travel slower.
If taking an international flight there is a temptation to pack in as much as possible seeing loads of different places. But sometimes spending longer in one pace, getting to know an area can be more rewarding as well as having a smaller environmental impact.
Language & local customs
Let’s face it, you’ll never be fluent in the language of every place you visit but learning a few words and phrases of the local language is a great way to break barriers, make friends and show respect to the communities you visit. A simple “thank you” and “goodbye” will go a long way and be appreciated. Always be aware of religious customs and local traditions and dress appropriately. By showing respect to the people and places you visit will impact on the respect you receive back and impact on the journeys of others who follow your footsteps in the future.
Leave nothing but footsteps and take nothing but memories is worth keeping in mind for low-impact travel. Keep your packaging down to a minimum and avoid disposable goods that it might not be possible to recycle overseas. Eco-friendly soaps and personal care products made with natural organic ingredients will help ensure you don’t pollute local waters particularly if you’re heading into rural environments.
On your trip:
Water pollution and usage
Use water sparingly especially in dry countries and if you do need to wash in streams or rivers don’t use detergents which can pollute the water. Where plastics are not recycled, take a reusable water bottle or filter and purify your own drinking water to minimise the number of plastic bottles you use.
Souvenirs and shopping
Never buy souvenirs that exploit wildlife, threaten endangered species or come from illegally traded wildlife parts. Demand for illegal or endangered wildlife souvenirs is what fuels the growing crisis of poaching in all regions of the world. “When the buying stops, the killing can too” is the message from leading wildlife protection organisations. Buying locally made souvenirs helps the local economy; whilst it is often customary to haggle keep it friendly, keep it in perspective and ensure that the seller and maker get a fair price.
Avoid disturbing wildlife and damaging natural habitats. Take great care not to touch coral reefs and not to feed or touch wild animals or fish. Stay quiet when viewing animals on safari and trekking.
A huge problem all over the world, and many places do not have adequate waste collection or recycling facilities to deal with it. So, having ‘reduced’, ‘reused’ and attempted to ‘recycle’ something do always be careful where you dispose of rubbish and limit what you have to throw away in rural areas taking it back into the city with you to properly dispose of.
Whilst taking great photos is a key part of many people’s trip it’s customary to always ask before taking a photo of local people. Many people do not like being photographed whether it’s spiritual, religious or just not wanting to feel like a goldfish in a tourist bowl. It’s lovely to offer to send a copy where possible but if you make a promise to do that make sure you do.
We’re proud of the priceless knowledge of the local guides we employ for our own trips and those our partners use for their adventures. Don’t reply on your guidebook. Ask your guide or accommodation owner for tips or information on where to eat, what to do and where to go. The locals know best!
Once back home:
Consider contributing to some of the projects and organisations you may have come across on your trip or speak to us for organisations we recommend that are doing incredible work locally and worldwide.
You can also really help us by giving us your honest feedback on our trips operators or policies. Whatever it is, you can email us [email protected].
And if you’re ready to set off on an adventure then check out these amazing trips.