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The Travel Guide: Holiday with peace of mind

by | Jan 8, 2024

Reason to care: Travelling is such an important source of joy in many of our lives. We learn about new cultures and experience new places. When we travel, we break away from our regular routines and sometimes forget about all the low-impact habits that we have so well implemented in our home life. But, there are ways to travel more mindfully that allow you to embrace the joy while minimising your impact. Sustainable travel is a three-tiered concept held up by the following pillars:

  1. Employ environmentally friendly practices (reduce, reuse and recycle)
  2. Protect cultural heritage (restoring historic buildings or saving endangered species)
  3. Provide tangible social and economic benefits for local communities (upholding the rights of indigenous peoples and supporting fair wages)

10 small actions with big impacts:

  • Give slow travel a try. Read this article to learn more.
  • When travelling to a different place, buy local. Try to be mindful of where you spend your money and make sure that your purchase benefits the local community
  • Contribute to conservation. Many African economies depend on wildlife and eco-tourism to fund programmes that protect their natural heritage like elephants and rhinos threatened by poaching, and various other endangered animals. By supporting wildlife establishments, such as game and nature reserves, you are essentially promoting the conservation thereof – giving value to nature and providing the necessary funds to protect it.
  • Learn about the history of your destination. As a responsible tourist, the only way you can truly be mindful of the present is to understand the past. Take time to visit museums, monuments, exhibitions, and support local tour guides so that you can learn about the context of the place you are travelling to. This will give you guidance on how to mindfully explore your destination. This applies to learning about the city you live in too. For example, if you are in Cape Town you can take Traci Kwaai’s Anti-Tour of Kalk Bay or head over to the District Six Museum.
  • Support organisations that contribute to creating more sustainable cities. For example, check out the work of Open Streets Cape Town and Our Future Cities.
  • Travel with reusables. Travel can be a huge source of disposable plastic, so travel with a reusable water bottle, a travel mug, a foldable/cloth shopping bag to carry your purchases, a metal/bamboo straw and utensils.
  • Leave no trace. Whether you’re tackling a technical hike or simply meandering along a scenic route, be sure to leave the trail in better shape than when you arrived. Take a small bag along to collect litter as you go (something that can also be done while walking on the beach).
  • If you  drive your own car, check your tyres once a month. Tyres that are under-inflated use more fuel.
  • Whenever you can, bike or walk. It’s better for the planet, and good for your health. Be aware of the traffic and avoid highly polluted areas.
  • If you’re in the market for a new car, investigate an electric option. These are not very popular yet, but as infrastructure improves (batteries and clean energy supplies) we’ll all be driving electric cars.
  • Prioritise joy, but limit air travel. Travelling the world is a joy we all deserve, but be aware that travelling by plane has a huge carbon footprint. When flying check the carbon footprint of your chosen airline here.
  • Discover local and embrace the beauty on your doorstep. There are so many beautiful places to travel locally. Instead of always aspiring to travel overseas, plan a local trip or two to immerse yourself in the beauty of our local places and spaces. Check out these guides for the best South African eco-tourism destinations and eco-hotel recommendations.

If you are looking for inspiration, look here:

Image: Pexels / David Kouakou

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Our work is in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 12, which aims to ensure sustainable consumption and production. Read More