7 ways to be a better traveller in 2019
Posted on 08 February 2019 by starttravel.co.uk
While the travel industry provides employment for millions worldwide - and gives immeasurable enjoyment to us travellers - there is a cost to mass tourism. From overcrowded attractions and cities, to increased pollution and environmental damage, tourists can have a negative impact too. But changing the way we travel can have huge benefits for the people and places we visit - as well as ourselves. Here are seven ways to be a better traveller in 2019…
Be a greener traveller
There are many ways to be a more environmentally friendly traveller this year. You could buy a reusable water bottle (refilling it where clean supplies exist), thereby reducing the chances of plastic bottles ending up in the natural environment. You could also avoid asking hotel staff to change your bed linen, as well as drying used towels out on the balcony/radiator, so you don’t have to request a fresh one. This will cut down water used for laundry.
Think twice before supporting the use of animals in entertainment
From chained-up monkeys to performing bears, many animals are used for the entertainment of tourists. Supporting such acts with tips will only see the practice continue. A better way to enjoy wildlife is to opt for hands-off encounters, where animals can live freely in their natural habitats.
You should also do your homework before swimming with dolphins and taking elephant treks.
Be wary of visiting orphanages and schools
It's not uncommon for "voluntourism" orphanages and schools to be set up entirely for foreigners to visit and work in (invariably for a fee or donation). If you consider volunteering in such a place, thoroughly research it first.
Consider taking a "travel virgin" abroad
Seasoned travellers can get a little jaded after their umpteenth overseas trip. But a new trend is emerging to combat this: finding a travel partner with little or no travel experience - one who may re-invigorate the pro-traveller’s passion for adventure with their sheer enthusiasm!
Last year there was a kick back against mass tourism in Barcelona, Amsterdam, Dubrovnik and other cities, where huge numbers of tourists have descended. With some monuments and transport systems heaving under the pressure, it's no wonder locals are getting hacked off. One solution is to visit off-season. You'll also benefit from cheaper hotels and less crowded attractions!
There's a big trend these days of people 'ticking off' destinations, as if they were collecting stamps, beermats or toby jugs. But while it can be tempting to join the Travellers Century Club (for those who've been to 100 or more nations), this could well mean your values are somewhat out of whack. If you’re too busy 'bagging' countries, you may be less able to relax and absorb the local culture. Indeed, when someone says they've visited a country just by passing through the airport, a re-assessment is surely in order!
FOMO (fear of missing out), among other things, tends to make us hurry across countries, taking selfies in all the main attractions. But by choosing to go slow you'll have more time to let the character of your destination seep in. If you have the time, why not rent an apartment and live like a local for a week or two? Going slow is likely to give you a deeper, more meaningful travel experience.