What You Can Do

What You Can Do

You can choose among many options to help make the impact of your travel experience a positive one for the people, cultures, and lands you visit.

Offset CO2 emissions

    • According to Climate Care, travel is the fastest-growing cause of global warming today. Flying releases tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, causing the greatest negative environmental impact of your trip.

You can offset this negative impact by investing in reforestation and energy-efficient projects that make your travel experience “carbon neutral.” It’s easy and it makes a difference! Check out:

Attitude

    • Possess a genuine interest in learning about the destination and people you are visiting.
    • Be aware of the feelings of the locals and respect their customs.
    • Discover the richness of everyday activities in another culture instead of seeking the exotic.
    • Cultivate the habit of being present, of listening, of not always talking and having answers; of learning by watching and listening.
    • Be aware and sensitive to how your actions are impacting the people and lands you are visiting.
    • Utilize the opportunity of travel for personal and transpersonal growth and global understanding.
    • Have patience, be flexible, and focus on humor, especially when traveling in third-world countries!
    • Be open to new ways of doing things, and try not to assume the Western way is the right or best way.

Social

    • Learn some words in the local language. You will be enriched by efforts to engage in friendly exchanges with local people.
    • Always ask before taking photos of people. If they’re not comfortable, put the camera aside.
    • Respect local citizens’ privacy. Always ask before entering sacred places, homes, or private lands.
    • Be careful about expecting special attention or privileges. For instance, visiting a school can be a wonderful experience for travelers and students, but too many visits takes away from classroom work.
    • Dress appropriately, based on local conventions. In many countries, modest dress is important.

Economic

    • Bargain responsibly.
    • Purchase locally made items.
    • Stay in locally owned accommodations.

Environment

    • Offset carbon emissions by supporting reforestation and energy conservation programs.
    • Stay on designated trails and roads.
    • Reuse your towels.
    • Be sensitive to the amount of water you use, especially in areas where water is scarce.
    • When diving/snorkeling, be especially careful not to touch the coral.
    • Never buy crafts or products made from protected or endangered animals.

Philanthropy

  • Avoid giving handouts; only do this when it is well-researched.
  • If you decide to give items directly to people, consider:
    • Purchasing the items locally.
    • Giving items that can be shared by many (e.g., soccer balls).
    • Giving items that help with one’s education (e.g., pencils).
    • Giving out candy is not a good option. It can promote tooth decay and lead to begging, especially in well-traveled areas.
  • Contribute to community- and conservation-based projects with good reputations (Global Sojourns is happy to help you find such projects. See giving back.)

 

 

“Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights;
its a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.”
-Miriam Beard-