How to travel responsibly in 2024

by | May 7, 2024

Travel offers numerous positive impacts to individuals. It broadens horizons, stimulates personal growth and improves our overall well-being. Tourism is a significant player in the global economy. However, the benefits of travel should not come at the expense of the planet or its people. Responsible travel ensures we don’t endanger fragile ecosystems, wildlife, Earth’s precious resources, cultural heritages or local communities. So, what can we do to travel more mindfully?

Sustainable travel

Longer breaks instead of short and frequent breaks ensure you fly less to reduce carbon emissions. Choose direct flights to shrink your carbon footprint. Find tour operators who provide sustainable and eco-tours. Consider staying at eco-friendly accommodations. Explore lesser-known locations to spread tourism more evenly. If the hot topic is Bali, consider Sri Lanka, which offers tropical getaways of the same calibre. Visit during the off-season to ease the pressure on tourist hotspots, natural areas and local services. Add walking, hiking, cycling and rail rides to your journeys.

Support local businesses

Shop, eat and buy souvenirs at local businesses. It is a great way to sample local cuisine, street food, and regional eats. It brings more cultural awareness and authentic experience. Sometimes, you can watch the process of making food or artwork, which gives you more insight. It allows you to interact with locals more meaningfully. Buying directly from local businesses, artisans, and vendors also helps support the local economy and ensures your money stays within the community.

Pack mindfully

Reusable water bottles, cups and straws are just the beginning. Carry versatile clothing, so you only need a few pieces. Lighter luggage means less fuel consumption for aircraft. Buy local products instead of bringing toiletries and snacks from home. There are plenty of eco-friendly products in almost every country you travel to. Leave room for souvenirs and gifts you might buy on your travels. Always favour local artisans who make eco-friendly products.

Avoid plastic whenever possible!

Buy a carrier or tote bag made from recycled or eco-friendly material like reed, wicker, jute or cloth. Pan bags or reed bags in Sri Lanka are a popular alternative to plastic. It also promotes the art of reed weaving. Instead of buying plastic water bottles, fill up a refillable bottle. Opt for paper straws or reusable glass, metal or wooden straws. Never litter natural areas, such as national parks, nature reserves, oceans, lakes or rivers with plastic. These are hazardous to animals if eaten.

Say no to exploitation!

Choose natural and impromptu encounters with wildlife instead of engineered ones that involve feeding, riding on or coaxing wildlife. Say no to elephant rides. Instead, watch them bathe, feed and frolic from afar. Research animal shelters and conservation projects you intend to visit to understand their policies and whether they are kind to animals. When amongst cultural communities like indigenous people, always respect their privacy and way of life. Ask permission before taking photographs.

Shop responsibly

Avoid purchasing products made from endangered animals and plant species. Ivory, coral, turtle shell, tortoiseshell and fur products are illegal and harmful. Discourage poaching and unethical trade by avoiding genuine and mislabelled products related to protected species.

Conserve resources

Turn off air conditioning, lights, TV and fans in hotel rooms when unnecessary. Use towels and linen responsibly. Less laundry means more water and energy conserved.

Make time for details!

Educate yourself about the countries you visit and the cultures you experience. Get insights into everyday life, social issues, customs, rituals and religion. It helps you to mitigate or promote challenges and awareness.

Tips while travelling in Sri Lanka

  • Wear modest clothing made from lightweight, breathable material. Cotton is ideal and natural. Do not forget hats, sunglasses and sunscreen.
  • Remove footwear when entering religious sites.
  • Stay well-hydrated. We recommend distilled water, thambili (king coconut) and young coconut (kurumba). You can often find thambili and kurumba by roadside stalls or local shops.
  • Dress extra modest when visiting religious sites, temples, kovils and mosques. Ask permission before taking photographs.
  • Carry mosquito repellent. Natural oils like citronella can also offer protection. You can buy it from local vendors.
  • Carry cash. Small businesses and vendors do not have card facilities.
  • Alcohol is not common in restaurants and eateries. You can always sample spirits and wines at hotels and fine-dining restaurants.

Travelling responsibly in Sri Lanka with Blue Lanka Tours

We believe travel is necessary to enrich life. We also believe only responsible travel can bring that enrichment. Blue Lanka Tours promotes responsible travel with dedicated itineraries and giving back to the community with Blooming Smiles. Our tours never exploit wildlife, nature or communities. They reflect our respect for cultural heritage sites, indigenous people, nature reserves and the wealth of natural wonders. We have a selection of eco-properties across the island on our accommodation portfolio, and we only work with operators and providers of ethical nature and wildlife experiences. Make responsible travel your default mode to see the world, and make Sri Lanka your next holiday goal.