Dispelling the myths around responsible travel

Recently updated on December 4th, 2023 at 02:20 pm

At Trafalgar, we’ve been leading the charge in the fight for a more sustainable future for over a decade. And, we want you to join us on our journey to make travel matter.

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.

In 2009, we launched JoinTrafalgar based on three basic pillars: helping PEOPLE, preserving PLACES & WILDLIFE and caring for our PLANET. And, alongside TreadRight, a non-profit organisation created by our parent company, The Travel Corporation, JoinTrafalgar has initiated a number of programmes to begin transforming travel into a force for good.

As part of our efforts, we want to show you that 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. That’s why we’re inviting you to join us in celebrating Earth Month: a chance for us to reflect on ways that, together, we can make a difference.

To help you realise just how easy it is to make your holidays matter, we want to dispel three major myths surrounding responsible travel.

1. 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.

Credit: Photo courtesy of ME to WE

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 our 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 traveling with a company like Trafalgar, that walks the talk when it comes to incorporating sustainability into every aspect of their business, every trip you take has a positive impact on the destinations you visit.

2. 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 our tours, uses 85% less CO2 per passenger kilometre 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 our innovative e-documentation system, you can view itinerary details, download your travel e-documents plus meet your Travel Director and travel companions online via our MyTrafalgar travel portal. Not only does this paper-free option minimise waste, for every booking made with e-documentation, we plant a tree with the help of our partner One Tree Planted. Since starting this program in 2018, we 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.

Credit: Photo courtesy of One Tree Planted

3. 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. We have banned single-use plastics in our offices and are on the way to doing so on all our trips. We’ve already banned the sale of plastic bottles on our coaches in North America and Europe, and we 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.

If you need some inspiration on how to be a more mindful traveler, blogs like Soul Travel are a great place to look. And local charities like New Zealand’s Sustainable Coastlines often host educational events to share ways that you can help conservation efforts at home and abroad.

Now that we’ve shown you how simple it is to make your travels matter, we want to continue giving you the tools you’ll need to join us in our Earth Month celebrations. So, we’ve enlisted the help of ME to WE’s co-founder Craig Kielburger, One Tree Planted founder Matt Hill, Soul Travel’s dynamic duo Ellie Cleary and Ravi Ravindranath and Sustainable Coastlines’ co-founder and coastlines lead Camden Howitt.

These expert partners will be acting as our Earth Month Ambassadors each week. So, stay tuned to the Good Life blog all April for more easy, actionable and impactful sustainability tips you can employ on your next holiday and in your everyday life.

Join us on our journey to make travel matter, this month and every month after.

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