Eco tourism, conscious travel, and responsible travel have been growing in popularity for many years now, with individuals paying closer attention to how their actions might impact the environment and communities that they visit. As a traveler, you want to reduce your negative impact while still being able to have a unique, enjoyable experience.

We write a lot about responsible travel on Frayed Passport, and we’d like to introduce you to conscious travel in this article. By being a conscious traveler, you’re staying mindful of the environmental, social, and economic affect your journey can have, while taking steps to offset your adventure and have the lowest impact possible.

Here are just a few ideas for sustainable, conscious travel activities—maybe you can build them into your trip plans for this year!

Volunteer Abroad

Volunteering abroad can be a fantastic way to see the world and do good—as long as you do your research and choose a reputable program. Fortunately we’ve written a very extensive guide to this subject: read our comprehensive guide to volunteering abroad, and how to do it ethically.

Volunteering overseas is one of the more well-known endeavors for social and environmental responsibility, allowing you to explore while assisting with community-based programs like wildlife research and conservation, education and social programs, providing disaster relief and other types of aid, and much more. Depending on the community’s need for international volunteers, and your own background experience and expertise, there are many, many ways that you can do good while having the opportunity to immerse yourself in a destination you may not have considered before.

Related: 3 reasons why volunteering abroad is perfect for first-time solo travelers

Live Like a Local

Living like a local is an excellent way to reduce your impact when traveling.

What does this mean?

Well, rather than staying in a resort or confining yourself to the tourist zone, you’ll immerse yourself within the community by staying in locally-owned lodging, purchasing from locally-owned businesses, and even paying in cash to put money directly back into the local economy. Not only will you have a more authentic experience, but you’ll support the people who live and work there.

Read our guide to homestays here, and for a more comprehensive guide to all different kinds of housing wherever you travel, read this guide (not just for digital nomads!).

Embrace Slow Travel

Air traffic is a massive contributor to pollution, and while in some cases there may be no avoiding it, there are lots of ways you can embrace the art of slow travel—that is, focusing on a deeper connection with your destination in a way that allows you to have an immersive adventure while also paying attention to your carbon footprint.

You can reduce your carbon footprint in a number of ways, such as packing light, opting for locally-owned accommodations, and using public transportation. And you can plan a more immersive experience by researching your destination in-depth, planning a longer stay in a single place rather than jumping from one point to another in quick succession, engaging with the locals, and learning ways that you can respect their environment and culture.

Read our guide to slow travel—what it is, why it’s important, and how you can make a conscious effort to focus on quality over quantity.

Pack Reusable Items

When you’re packing to travel, take as many reusable items as possible and fill them up on the way. For example, you can bring a reusable water bottle, pack a solar charger rather than a plug-in one, and pick up reusable toiletry containers that you can refill over and over. All these choices and more can help you reduce waste and consumption and do your bit to be eco-friendly when on the road.

Traveling sustainably and consciously takes more effort and planning than simply jetting off on a new adventure because it’s there, but it’s 100% worth it! Not only can you ensure you’re making as minimal an impact as possible while still exploring new destinations, but you’ll also have the opportunity for better connection across cultures—and that in itself is a perfect reason to do it.

How do you travel responsibly? Share your stories and advice with the Frayed Passport community!

Featured image by Clémence Bergougnoux on Unsplash 

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