With well over 1.2 billion international travellers, making travel sustainable
- or better yet, regenerative -
is more important than ever.
Learn how you can do your part.
Plenty of travel companies talk about sustainable travel. Technically this means sustaining the status quo. And while tourism is mostly a force for good, lately we see some ugly sides as well: overtourism, pollution, pressure on resources and damage to sites, cultures and ecosystems.
Regenerative travel aims to leave a place better than we found it, to restore it to the state it once was in. It sometimes means we need to change our thinking about travel in terms of resource exploitation, and start thinking about how travel can make the whole community, the environment and our heritage flourish.
Although we want you to consider local cultures and the environment, the last thing we want to do is to subject you to endless rules and regulations. Therefore we try very hard to maintain a balance between your enjoyment on our trips and continued conservation and respect for the local environment and cultures. Our traveller guidelines are not meant as rigid instructions but rather as suggestions to make your holiday more enjoyable – for everybody.
• HAGGLING – While it is customary and fun to haggle, remember that the stallholder / shopkeeper has to make a living. Be firm but always polite, don’t offer a price that you are not willing to pay and once you have agreed to a price – stick to it.
• SHOP LOCAL – Try to buy local produce, clothing and souvenirs etc.
• SOUVENIRS & ARTIFACTS –Use common sense when buying souvenirs. Many animals, plants and animal products are protected but non-restricted goods can also cause damage. Leave things such as shells and coral where they are. "Leaving nothing but footprints, take nothing but photographs".
• CARBON OFFSETS – Air travel is a major contributor to climate change. By investing in offsets you contribute to energy efficiency programmes around the globe. This ensures that the same amount of carbon your flights produce is prevented from entering the atmosphere in the first place. You can purchase offsets here or join our One Percent for Our Future Challenge.
• GETTING AROUND – Walk or take public transport where feasible.
• WATER – Use it sparingly, especially in areas with shortages. Consider bringing your own water bottle with a filter or purification drops. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. A large proportion of plastic bottle ends up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments.
• ENERGY – Turn down or off heating or air-con when it’s not really necessary. Switch off lights, TV and a/c when you leave a room.
• BATTERIES – Consider using rechargeable batteries and dispose of empty ones at home.
• GENERAL – Use guidebooks to familiarise yourself with the culture, language and customs of your destination. Learn some basic words in the local language.
• BEGGING – Try to avoid giving out money, sweets and pens to children as it encourages them to beg – it is far better to interact through games or drawings etc.
Of course giving money to a person in real need is always an option. Perhaps avoid giving to people who aggressively target travellers but instead give to those who quietly sit on a street corner, or to organizations who look after the poor.
• PHOTOGRAPHS – Always ask permission and respect a person’s decision.
• DRESS – Learn to understand and respect dress codes in public areas and especially at religious sites where it may be customary to cover your head or remove your shoes. In some destinations it is advisable to wear clothes that cover shoulders and knees.
• RELIGION – Some religions and customs may seem strange, complicated and at times unfathomable but to local people they are important. Learn about them and please be respectful.
• ANIMAL CRUELTY – You might see examples of animal cruelty, for example snake charmers. Please do not take photos of this as it encourages the activity. Avoid riding elephants. When dog-sledding or hiring pack animals, please ensure you travel with an operator who treats their animals well.
Consider visiting a destination off-season or during quieter hours. Not only will the destination benefit from an extended season and fewer visitors during peak times, you will get a much quieter and more rewarding experience.
• LITTER – use bins or take it with you. Consider bringing a spare bag and picking up trash when you see it.
• WATER – If you must wash in streams, avoid detergents and chemicals and use biodegradable soaps. The water you are using may be someone else’s drinking water.
• TOILETS – If there are no toilets available, make sure you are at least 30 metres away from water sources, bury waste in the dark organic layer of the soil and take any toilet tissue with you in a ziplock bag. Dispose of it in an appropriate place like bin or campfire.
• HIKES – stay on the trail and avoid taking shortcuts as these lead to erosion. Rubber tips on trekking poles are recommended or even required to protect sensitive trails, ecosystems and historic areas.
• WILDLIFE & NATURE – Avoid disturbing wildlife and stay the distance. Try not to disturb their habitat. Take care not to touch coral reefs and do not feed animals or fish. Admire flowers but please don’t pick them.
• SUNSCREEN – Sunscreen can harm the environment, especially coral reefs. Look for products without any form of microplastic spheres or beads, any nanoparticles or ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, oxybenzone, octinoxate, 4-methylbenzylidene camphor, octocrylene, para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), parabens and triclosan.
Too much plastic gets thrown away and ends up in the world's oceans. Use refillable bottles, resist throw-away toiletries in hotels (let the hoteliers know and bring your own), refuse to use straws and plastic cups, avoid using wet-wipes, or, if you must, use fully-recyclable ones. Don't accept plastic shopping bags and where possible, recycle all plastic packaging.
On your return
Share all the great things you learned about your destination and regenerative travel with your family, friends and colleagues. Suggest improvements where needed. Be an ambassador for responsible travel!