It’s difficult to balance a love of travelling with its numerous environmental impacts – from the long-lasting damage of “over tourism” to the detrimental effects of flying. The environmental challenges are many, and clear-cut solutions few. However overall we firmly believe that travel is a positive endeavour – not only because of the economic benefits to local people in your destination, but also the global value of learning through the sharing of cultures.
Let’s make more considered choices when travelling to minimise our environmental impact.
International travel is one of the world’s main carbon dioxide emitters and, whilst mitigation (or “off-setting”) may seem an easy way out of the challenge, we believe its impact is very small and that reduction of emissions is the right path for us all to choose.
We understand our responsibility to consider the environmental impacts of travel, and that the global effort in combating climate change includes and needs all of us to act together. Flying, of course, is often the most convenient way to travel. With that in mind we favour and promote the idea of taking fewer trips, and staying longer wherever you can. This may mean some hard choices – but emissions reduction is, in practical terms, the most obvious and logical thing we can all do to face the challenge of climate change. Staying longer in your destination has the added benefit of putting even more money into the local economy.
Example: Instead of travelling to India for 2 weeks, and taking 4 internal flights during your trip, consider either travelling for longer and covering internal travel by train, or go for a “slow travel” approach and visit fewer destinations but stay in each for a longer period of time
Example: Perhaps this year is the year you had planned to go to 3 destinations, for 2 weeks each. Each trip requires a return international flight. Consider instead choosing one or two of those destinations, and visiting them for 6 or 3 weeks respectively.
Along with much of the travel industry, TravelLocal recently signed the Glasgow Declaration. This is a commitment to achieve a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 across our whole supply chain, compared to 2019, and reach Net Zero emissions as soon as possible before 2050.
Recycling while travelling requires a joint effort. Our local partners do all they can to recycle, but not all countries are equipped to deal with waste or have little in the way of recycling. Please dispose of litter as effectively as you can. If clean drinking water is available, re-use your bottle rather than buy a new one and use reusable bags when shopping – just as you do at home.
Take account of the local context when thinking about water and power usage – especially when staying in local homes and guesthouses. Let that inform your decisions when, for instance, plugging in all your electrical devices, using aircon facilities or running a bath. In many countries water is a precious commodity, not to be wasted, and all our choices (for example around laundry and washing) should have that in mind.
All of our trusted local experts are in agreement over their shared environmental responsibility in the workplace. This includes reusing waste paper, being mindful of water and energy usage, cycling or using public transport to work instead of driving (if possible), and recycling whenever available.
The same applies to us in our Berlin & Bristol offices, both of which are also powered by renewable energy.
As an advocate for authentic and responsible travel experiences, TravelLocal has made a conscious decision to refrain from selling tours on large cruise ships. While these kinds of cruises offer the allure of luxury and convenience (though not always the reality), we firmly believe that their negative impacts on the environment, overtourism, limited economic benefit to local communities, and lack of authentic cultural interactions outweigh the benefits they may provide.
We draw a distinction specifically between smaller boats (such as in the Galapagos Islands, river cruises and small expedition ships) and full ocean liners. The manageable size of the former lowers their impact.
Sustainability and ethics in travel is complex and there are often no easy solutions, but we are committed to learning and improving in collaboration with our local partners and you, our customers, to offer you the best possible travel experience.
If you have any topics or questions you’d like to raise, please get in touch: