In honour of World Environment Day (5th June), the Meaningful Travel Experts at Rickshaw Travelhave shared five ways to make a positive impact when travelling.
Tourism contributes to around 4.6% of global warming, so there are plenty of ways to ensure you are doing your bit for the environment. From getting to the destination to the souvenirs you take home.
Rickshaw Travel has recently partnered with Animondial to develop their Meaningful Travel vision and inspire other small travel business to make tourism a force for good. Rickshaw has also committed to supporting the end of elephant riding by signing World Animal Protection’s elephant-friendly pledge, and is in the process of auditing their trips involving any type of wild animal interaction.
1 – How you travel to your destination
It is no secret that planes are bad for the environment. The nastiest plane emissions are produced on take-off so, if possible, choose a direct flight. You can also minimise the wastage created on board by bringing an eco-water bottle and your own snacks – if you can bear to pass on the delicious culinary delights offered by most airlines.
2 – Getting around your chosen destination
When exploring, swap petrol power for pedal power. Exploring by bike or on foot is great for the environment and allows you to take in more of the little things. For most of us, travelling by our own steam does have its limits, so for longer journeys try to make use of local public transport. This is also the perfect opportunity to try out the phrase book!
3 – Limiting your negative impact
Our fragile oceans are estimated to have over 5-trillion pieces of marine litter floating on their surface, and until we figure out what to do with our plastic that amount will probably keep increasing. Waste has a colossal impact on our planet so after making all of that effort to travel the globe in search of a pristine landscape, it makes sense to put some effort into keeping it that way. Small, simple acts can make a real difference, such as avoiding buying food in too much packaging, taking a re-usable bottle rather than buying bottled water and skipping take-away coffees.
Water can be a rare commodity in some places. Eco-etiquette dictates that you do your bit by keeping showers short and re-using towels and bed linen.
4 – Where to stay and who you travel with
It seems like everything has a ‘green’ label slapped onto it now, from your coffee to your washing machine, your tour operator to your hotel. The ‘green washing’ of every marketable item can induce a bit of eye-rolling cynicism, but choosing a genuinely ‘green’ travel option is a sure-fire way to make mother earth smile. Look past the label and think about how they take destination-specific issues into account and how they treat the people, flora and fauna in the place you are visiting.
Choosing a small, locally run hotel is the best way to rack up those eco points. To make sure your visit has more pluses than negatives for the locals, always avoid activities that may cause harm to animals or that disrespect local beliefs and customs.
5 – Think about what you buy
For many of us, food is often one of the highlights of an exotic adventure. Trying exciting – or sometimes downright terrifying – local food gives you an insight into the culture and can be a great choice for the environment. Buying local food supports the people who produce it and cuts your carbon footprint. A great excuse for some guilt-free gluttony! However, if in doubt about any of the ‘delicacies’ on offer, do some research before tucking in – eating endangered species is definitely not going to help the environment.
Adorning our home’s with trinkets garnered from our travels is a great way of keeping the adventure alive long after you are back to standard domestic drudgery. Try and ensure your tourist dollars can also be a valuable boost to local businesses, but never consider purchasing anything endangered, corals and turtle-shells belong in the sea – not on your shelf!
Rickshaw Travel is committed to providing enriching, immersive travel experiences that take holidaymakers off the beaten path and into the heart of local communities. Protecting nature and wildlife – and encouraging travellers to do the same – is also key for the Rickshaw team.
For more information on Rickshaw Travel, and the trips available, please visit: https://www.rickshawtravel.co.uk/
About Rickshaw Travel:
Rickshaw Travel is an independent tour operator based in Brighton. They are committed to providing enriching, immersive travel experiences that take holidaymakers off the beaten path and into the heart of local communities.
Meaningful travel – or travelling in a way that everybody benefits from – is the core ethos of Rickshaw: the traveller benefits from enriching experiences where they learn something new (about the destination, culture, a skill or about themselves) and at the same time the local people, animals and/or environment benefit too.
Rickshaw Travel’s individual approach to independent exploration enables adventurous holidaymakers to visit the heart of a destination and experience the real spirit of a local culture. Rickshaw specialises in offering small-scale, authentic accommodation that truly reflects the character of each destination.
Rickshaw are proud to have built up a team of passionate Travel Specialists who each have extensive travel experience in their own dedicated destinations. They pride themselves on being open and honest about the places they have visited and are on hand to inspire and support travellers. The company’s style of travel is unique – Rickshaw’s dedicated Product Team has worked alongside the company’s in-destination partners to create a choice of carefully selected bite-size trips, typically 2-4 days long, which can be combined to create the perfect itinerary. Rickshaw’s bite-size trips include a range of local excursions, charming authentic accommodation and some transfers to ensure a hassle-free holiday. A minimum of three bite-sized trips must be combined to create a full itinerary
Protecting nature and wildlife – and encouraging travellers to do the same – is also key for the Rickshaw team. The company has partnered with World Animal Protection to develop an Animal Welfare Policy, has committed to supporting the end of elephant riding by signing World Animal Protection’s elephant-friendly pledge, and is in the process of auditing trips involving any type of wild animal interaction.
Rickshaw Travel now offers trips in 24 destinations across Asia, Central and South America, including Cuba, Vietnam, Myanmar, Thailand, India, Costa Rica, Peru, Borneo, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Chile, Brazil and Japan. The company’s turnover and passengers carried increased by 50% from 2015 to 2017 and the company is aiming for a further 30% increase by 2019.