Traveling can be a joyous experience, as we explore new destinations, fulfil our bucket list dreams and overcome the challenges that are sometimes set before us.
But there are two things we need to remember:
- Traveling comes with many responsibilities, especially when it comes to our carbon footprint.
- Traveling isn’t always a self-centered experience. We should remember the needs of others as we journey the world.
So, think about your impact on the world as you travel. No matter your reason for traveling, make sure your impact is a positive one, as the choices you make are important.
Here are some suggestions on how to make a positive impact to the world on your travel adventures.
#1: Make eco-friendly choices
We don’t have to remind you of your environmental responsibility, as you will already understand the mess the world is in because of the actions of ourselves and the big businesses around us. Pollution is a major problem, and we need to consider our impact, in all aspects of our lives. This is especially true when traveling, as we need to make green choices at each step of our journey.
So, you might choose an airline that uses cleaner fuel when choosing who to fly with. You might buy a flask instead of buying bottled water on your trip to reduce the risk of plastic waste. When shopping abroad, you might opt for those stores that operate sustainably. And you might follow these other eco-friendly ways to travel, as you will make a positive impact if you do.
The world is in a mess, but you don’t have to leave more destruction and chaos in your wake as you travel. Be a green warrior, and encourage your traveling companions to be the same.
#2: Support the good, avoid the bad
When you’re traveling, support those businesses and charities that are doing good in the world. Visit those nature reserves that protect wildlife, and avoid the places where you suspect animals may be being mistreated. Take part in activities that cause no harm to others, and avoid unethical activities, such as elephant rides, and bullfighting.
Get involved in charitable work while you travel, and steer clear of any group or venue that seems to exploit others to make a profit from travel tourism. And before you travel to a destination, commit to research, as you might discover more about the rights and the wrongs that are happening in the areas you are visiting.
#3: Get involved with a good cause
There are thousands of volunteer projects in the world, so rather than traveling for your own pleasures, give your time to a worthy cause instead, and make a real difference to the lives of others. You might want to work at a conservation site, for example, and support the work being done to care for those animals that are at risk of extinction. Or you might want to support the work of a charity that works in countries that have been beset with famine and drought.
Think about the causes that might be close to your heart and commit to a Google search. And visit the websites of well-known volunteer programs, such as the Peace Corps, the Help Exchange, and Plan My Gap Year who promote volunteering in India. Giving back to others is a worthwhile thing to do, and not only will you benefit the lives of others, but you will benefit your own life, as you experience the personal rewards that come when you help another.
#4: Support your fellow travelers
You might be well-versed in the art of travel, but there might be other people who don’t have your level of skill or understanding. As you travel, you might meet people who are lost, who are lonely, who are unable to put up their own tents, and who are taking risks that you know to be dangerous.
When you see somebody in need, don’t walk by and leave them to fend for themselves. Stop for a while, lend a hand, and give advice if you need to. You might even make a friend or two as well, and you will gain that sense of satisfaction in knowing that you have done a good deed for another.
#5: Support the local economy
Instead of staying in a flashy hotel chain, support the local economy by staying at a locally-owned hotel. Instead of visiting those shopping malls that feature big brand name stores, support the local economy by shopping at those smaller stores that have been set up by local people. And when choosing where to eat, forego the expensive chains, and support the local economy by eating at those smaller diners that are independently owned.
By supporting local businesses, you help to create employment opportunities, as they will be less likely to shut down because of the bigger business names that are taking over their communities. Not only that, of course, but you will benefit too. When you shop at a community store, you will find culturally borne products that can’t be bought elsewhere, and when you eat at a local diner, you will get the opportunity to eat foods that you have probably never tried before.
#6: Share information on your blog or social media pages
You probably share pictures and stories of your travels on your blog or Insta-pages anyway, but going beyond showcasing the exciting things you have been up to, and going beyond the scenic travel pics, share information about the causes you see around you.
Share pictures of the poverty you see. Write about the injustices that are happening in the countries you are visiting. Provide links to the charities that are making a difference. And encourage your readers to take a stand, perhaps by linking them to a page you have set up on change.org.
You can be the advocate for others, and your voice could affect the lives of millions.
So, consider what you might be able to do on your next travel adventure. Think about the impact you could have on the world. One person can make a difference, and as you’re traveling, that one person can be you.