Immediately after getting to a destination, some travelers head to the concierge, and others (like my partner) immediately start looking for the pool. That’s not me, though.
The very 1st thing I always do after arriving at my travel destinations or hotels is stand in the premises’ lobby and take a long, 360 degree visual.
Am I able to tell what nation I’m in (or at the very least what continent I am one of) just from the architecture, the staff uniforms, the surrounding nature, or even the décor? If I can’t, I head for the door right away.
I only want hotels that have embraced a sense of a destination instead of conquering it.
You see, the way I plan out my travel manifesto and itinerary reflects all my values, all combined with a nice hint of fun, discovery, and adventure. Some of the values I can think of off the top of my head include supporting local people, protecting cultural and natural heritage, and ensuring everything I invest in is environmentally friendly.
Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash
Why is it essential that we all approach our expeditions in this manner?
Back in 1950, the number of international travelers was approximately 25 million. Fast forward to less than a century later in 2019 (before the Covid pandemic disrupted the travel industry temporarily), and we see about 1.46 billion international tourist arrivals, according to the World Tourism Organization (UNTWO).
What’s even more mind-blowing? According to a prediction by the UN’s World Tourism Organization, we will eclipse two billion people crossing borders as international travelers by 2027.
Whether this forecast is good or bad news will depend on how much all of us are willing to tweak our travel itineraries and become better sustainable travelers. After all, I believe that travel should present an excellent opportunity for enriching our lives while at the same time safeguarding mother Earth.
My plan today? To show you how and where this new version of “travel with meaning” has found its foundation and things you can do to be a part of the great revolution.
Pick Establishments that Can Help You be a Sustainable Traveler
Less than a decade ago, one could count the amount of eco-friendly and sustainable tour companies out there using one hand. Today, they can quickly fill a book, and that’s a great thing. That said, you still ought to know that only a portion of operators walks the talk better than their counterparts.
How do you tell them apart?
Well, for instance, before I sign on with any tour company, I thoroughly investigate the company’s sustainability credibility on the internet and ask several questions, including, but not limited to – Do they give priority to hiring locals, do they engage and enforce “leave no trace camping” practices, do they help safeguard cultural traditions, do they support the protection of nature, and much more.
If I notice that the answers are vague or ambiguous, then I move on. I only want my hard-earned cash going to companies that feel as passionately about sustainable travel as I do.
What about picking sustainable hotels?
If you ever spot me in a chain hotel, it’s most likely because I’m there for a conference or simply needed a hotel close to an airport. Otherwise, I always opt for more surprising, authentic, and lesser-known locations to stay at.
A great example is the Bulungula Lodge, found on the “Wild Coast” of South Africa. This joint is run by village ladies who prepare fresh fruit smoothies using bicycle-powered blenders. Or perhaps Six Senses Zighy Bay found in Oman. Here, you have the option to hang-glide into the premises for check-in.
I wish I could list all eco-friendly hotels around the world in this article, but we both know that wouldn’t be such a great idea. So, I’ve decided to go for the next best thing.
If you’d like to explore the world and do it consciously by comparing and booking eco hotels at your destinations, then check out our platform Triwey.com. It has been specifically designed to help sustainable travelers find eco-friendly hotels, organic farmhouses, green b&b, and much more.
All you’ll need to do is type in your destination, your arrival & departure dates, and the number of people who’ll be accompanying you. Subsequently, hit the search button, and let the site do its thing. If there is availability, a list showcasing the best sustainable hotels at your destination will pop up shortly thereafter.
You could make your transport options more sustainable as well
A few years ago, while visiting Nairobi, I hopped onto a tour van to visit the pulsating East African city. While I did see it, I honestly didn’t experience it. The most vital thing missing was the option of unscripted interactions. These include sitting alongside locals at café servings, exchanging pleasantries with the tie-dye-clad ladies I saw at the market, or even stopping to listen to the group of street drummers waving at our tour van.
Do not get me wrong. Of course, there is camaraderie and safety on tour buses. However, if you can explore a location by bicycle or foot, I recommend that you always do it. If you’re anything like me, it’ll be more rewarding, way more eco-friendlier, and it’ll also award you the option to spend your hard-earned dollars on the locals (even those away from tourist hubs.)
In the years ahead, I would like to invite you and your loved ones to join me and my loved ones as we embark on a journey of exploring mother Earth in more sustainable, fun, and enlightening ways. For me, the chance to travel sustainably implies that our kids and grandkids will also get the opportunity to enjoy remarkable expeditions, whether exploring a tropical island in the Philippines or a biodiversity-rich rainforest in Brazil.
What does traveling sustainably mean for you?