Sustainability: Dispelling The Myths Around Responsible Travel

Responsible Travel

From what you eat to what you wear, how you live to how you travel, leading a sustainable lifestyle can seem overwhelming. But don’t panic. Even though your Facebook feed is filled with tales of raw foodist eco-warriors and back-to-basic survivalists, extreme sacrifices aren’t the only way to make a meaningful impact on the wellbeing of our planet.

Trafalgar, have been leading the charge in the fight for a more sustainable future for over a decade. In 2009, they launched JoinTrafalgar based on three basic pillars: helping PEOPLE, preserving PLACES & WILDLIFE and caring for our PLANET. And, alongside TreadRight, a non-profit organization created by their parent company, The Travel Corporation, JoinTrafalgar has initiated a number of programmes to begin transforming travel into a force for good.

Responsible Travel
Photo courtesy of ME to WE

Sustainability is simpler than you think. Even small changes in the way you live and travel today can have a lasting impact on creating a better tomorrow. To help travellers realize just how easy it is to make their holidays matter, Trafalgar dispels three common myths surrounding responsible travel.

  • You’ve got to get dirty to make a difference

Getting your hands dirty digging wells and building schools is honestly a great, and fulfilling, way to give back to the communities you travel to. And, if you want to volunteer on your next holiday, with our partner Me to We, we have created the perfect option for you. But, there are so many ways to give back without sacrificing your dream of the perfect, relaxing, manual labour-free holiday.

JoinTrafalgar experiences let you make a difference during your holiday while still enjoying all the icons and Hidden Gems that attracted you to the destination in the first place.  As you Connect with Locals through their exclusive Be My Guest experiences, you will be welcomed into the homes, onto the farms and, sometimes, even into the kitchens of your local hosts as you share a meal, learn about their culture and experience a day in the life of the people that make each destination so special. And, your visit helps these local communities thrive by supporting small businesses which provide their families with financial security and allow them to preserve their traditions for future generations.

Through travelling with a company like Trafalgar every trip you take has a positive impact on the destinations you visit.

  • Travelling responsibly means sacrificing convenience

Not even close. Did you know that coach travel is one of the greenest transportation options available? Think of it as a giant carpool, eliminating the need for rental cars, taxi rides and other individual vehicles. And it’s a lot more convenient than trying to navigate the traffic laws or confusing public transport system in a country whose language you don’t even speak. Furthermore, a fuel-efficient coach, like the ones used on by Trafalgar on their tours, uses 85% less CO2  per passenger kilometer than car or air travel and 40% less than travelling by train. Comfort and conservation, all in one.

And, while apps will never replace the insider knowledge or destination expertise of a Travel Director or Local Specialist, mobile technology does make booking your trips easier and more environmentally friendly. With their innovative e-documentation system, travellers can view itinerary details, download their travel e-documents plus meet their Travel Director and travel companions online via their MyTrafalgar travel portal.

Not only does this paper-free option minimize waste, for every booking made with e-documentation, Trafalgar plants a tree with the help of their partner One Tree Planted. Since starting this program in 2018, they have already reforested 150 acres of devastated land in Northern California and Tanzania. Easy for you, great for the environment, it doesn’t get more convenient than that.

  • Ecotourism is the only way to be an eco-warrior

Green this, eco that. It’s not what you call it, it’s what it does that matters. You don’t have to embark on an eco-tourism holiday or stay in a hut in the jungle with no running water to make your holidays more sustainable. By making small changes, you can be an eco-warrior every time you travel. For example, cutting down on plastic waste. Trafalgar has banned single-use plastics in their offices and are on the way to doing so on all their trips. They’ve already banned the sale of plastic bottles on our coaches in North America and Europe, and are on target to being completely single-use plastic free by 2022. You can do your part by bringing reusable water bottles and cutlery along on your travels.

These are three simple ways to make your travels matter. It’s not difficult. Small changes can lead to easy, actionable and impactful ways to be a traveller for good. All it takes is a change of mindset and the willpower to help save this planet we call home.