To help you become a more responsible traveler in 2018 I’ve launched a monthly series of Responsible Travel Challenges. Each month will focus on an ethical change you can make to your travel style that will benefit the communities you visit and ultimately our precious planet. Each detailed guide will contain specific tips on how to be a more responsible traveler. Adhere to these suggestions to make an impact as you travel.
NOVEMBER RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL CHALLENGE: HOW TO TAP INTO THE SUSTAINABLE TRAVEL NETWORK
This last week I attended my first ever travel conference, ECATC, courtesy of Travolution and Impact Travel Alliance. It was also the first conference of its sort in Central America as it was focused on community-based tourism.
At the ECATC conference in Guatemala, I had a chance to meet with local people working to preserve their culture and create jobs in their communities through responsible travel. There were over 20 Central American community organizations in attendance, I hope to be able to write about each of them in the near future. Their projects are very deserving of our tourism dollars.
It was an eye-opening experience to learn about their challenges and successes, as most of them aren’t supported by large 3rd party businesses, but are grassroots operations. We discussed issues regarding empowering communities to partake in responsible travel incentives and sustainability–both socially and environmentally.
It was personally very meaningful for me to find myself in an environment surrounded by fellow Latinos with like-minded ideas about utilizing the tourism sector to conserve culture, environment, and more. Although my focus as a traveler and a writer is sustainability I very rarely meet people who are fully committed to this practice, most ‘sustainable’ travelers out there (bloggers or not) just skim the surface.
Not only was I surrounded by dozens of people who, for the lack of a better phrase, give a damn, I also got to meet some of my peers that I’d long been connected with digitally such as Nika from Impact Travel Alliance and Earthling Magazine, Misty of Green Suitcase Travel, Naomi from Roaming the Americas, Eytan of Lokal Travel, and many new connections. When I left the conference I was buzzing with story ideas and collaborations I hope to soon propose. This group of people will change the world.
You don’t have to be a responsible tour operator or writer to tap into this tight-knit community of altruistic voyagers.
Travolution, who organized the ECATC conference, is a global network of community tourism. This tool is available for consumers who wish to travel mindfully. They’re dedicated to helping small entrepreneurs get involved in the tourism industry. They have a sizeable presence in Chile, Argentina, and Colombia.
A great resource for responsible travelers is the nonprofit Impact Travel Alliance. The community has over 15,000 members who work in sustainable travel. ITA often features members on their blog and social media channels to highlight their projects and tours that are giving back to their communities. They also have local chapters in over 20 cities around the world and often host events. Members are always happy to welcome other sustainable-minded travelers to their community and give them insider details about what’s ethical around town.
UTILIZE SOCIAL MEDIA
Join these responsible Facebook groups to pose questions and seek advice when trip planning. Whether you’re a dedicated responsible traveler or just starting out on your voyage to be more sustainable join these Facebook communities to network with like-minded individuals:
Ladies for Sustainable Travel (women only)
Women for Ethical Travel (women only)
Pebble Pod: Ethical Fashion, Eco-Travel, and Sustainable Living
For more ideas of responsible travelers to follow on Instagram check out this article that I wrote for HostelWorld.
SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCES
Sharing your responsible travel experiences on social media encourage others to follow suit. Some great hashtags to follow and use are #travelgood, #thisissustainable, #slowtravel, #earthlingmovement, #travelauthentic, #connect2earth, #ethicaltravel, #responsibletravel, #travellocal, #travelbetter, #sustainabletravel, #ecotourism, #wsetravel, #zerowastetravel, and #sustainabletourism.
How else do you connect with fellow mindful travelers? Share your methods with us in the comments!
I was a guest at ECATC. All opinions and photos are my own. This post contains affiliate links. Please read the Miss Filatelista disclosure policy for more information.