Business travel can seem like a lot, from maintaining productivity to adapting to a new location. Responsible travel can make those journeys more special and rewarding.
In short, responsible travel alludes to the responsibility of a visitor to travel both sustainably and authentically, their footprints benefitting the local community and environment as a whole. This can come in many forms, from engaging with locals to going on smaller, less environmentally damaging tours, but the overarching purpose of responsible travel is to positively impact cultures and communities in the long term.
Responsible travel has become even more important recently, with the tourism sector providing around 290 million jobs globally in 2021. Because of its sheer magnitude, the way we approach travel and the choices we make as travelers can greatly impact the host country’s environment, economy, and cultural practices; consequently, traveling responsibly and sustainably can benefit local communities significantly for an extended period of time.
More specifically, as a public benefit corporation, Jack and Ferdi is dedicated to making travel a positive experience for both clients and hosts. Our mission is to promote healthy and culturally accurate bleisure trips, which include mindful and responsible tourism.
While responsible travel is incredibly impactful, it’s also surprisingly accessible.
Here are seven simple ways in which you can become a more sustainable traveler today based on social and community engagement:
1. Learning the local language: spend some time before each trip learning the language of your host country; even knowing simple phrases such as “hello”, “thank you”, and “sorry, I don’t understand” can be the catalyst for better and more authentic communication with your destination’s citizens.
2. Being respectful of different cultural practices and norms: societal values and cultural norms can vary greatly across the globe, so it’s important to be informed about the expected etiquette of your host country and act accordingly. Jack and Ferdi’s app provides a comprehensive guide on etiquette and common practices for different locations.
3. Lodging in local accommodation: instead of staying in hotels run by international brands, try supporting the community you’re in by choosing homestays or other local accommodations. Not only will you be directing giving to the community around you, your experiences will also be unique and tailored to that specific destination.
4. Using community-based tourism options: many places offer tours by local or indigenous groups as well as community-based projects open to visitors. Engaging in those activities actively help preserve historical or cultural roots of a region, but you also get rare insights from locals not found anywhere else.
5. Supporting local businesses: consider domestic options when getting food, services, or gifts for a loved one. You might discover personalized and fascinating items, while the money circulates to the locals instead of large corporate chains.
6. Visiting new and niche locations: popular tourist sites are often overpopulated, unsustainable, and distant from the local economy; exploring different and more niche attractions, on the other hand, can be more rewarding and beneficial to your host community. Jack and Ferdi’s app includes an extensive library of local restaurants, shops, and leisure options for you to explore.
7. Using social media: sharing your experiences with your friends and family is a great way to ensure a flourishing tourism economy in the long term. However, some communities might not be comfortable with being promoted online; be sure to always ask for permission before posting anything.
In fact, responsible travel benefits the traveler as much as it supports the host. On top of helping local economies and communities, you get a more genuine experience as well as connections that make your trips pleasant and memorable for many years to come.