You wanna know if it would cost you more to start responsible travel? Well, get rid of that prejudice, you would be surprised.
You should know that most people think that traveling responsibly is more expensive than regular travel. And that’s just because they think that eating organic is more expensive than consuming cheaper products; or that staying in a hotel that promotes sustainable development would be pricier than accommodation in a standard hotel. Please find below a couple of points that we would like to shed some clarity on:
Eating responsibly doesn’t necessarily cost more
Actually, consuming responsibly implies that:
- You eat less meat and fish while the meat, fish or poultry dishes are in general more expensive than vegetarian dishes.
- You purchase products that are labeled: obviously the products labeled organic or fair-trade are more costly in general . But they are also of better quality. After all, that is why we travel they way we do, to taste the best local products..
- You do not waste which makes you save money! And by eating smaller portions you will make sure you’ll finish your dish, you will leave no waste and pay less!
Special street food: for the street food lovers, an advice: choose vegetarian dishes, pancakes or sweets. In terms of costs it doesn’t make that much of a difference, but by avoiding meat you are reducing your carbon footprint.
In the end eating responsibly, the so-called “clean eating” allows you to save money in a restaurant or at the supermarket, while your average basket won’t be that different from the one of a conventional traveler. Overall, very little differences budget wise, but savings for the responsible consumer.
Responsible travel: An “eco-friendly” accommodation doesn’t cost more
Different options are available to you for responsible travel. Nowadays there are numerous hotels and hotel chains that invest in sustainable development and are labeled accordingly (Green Key, Green globe…). These hotels are of all ranges and their prices vary just like for regular hotels in function of the season and the country. Trip advisor has set up the Green Leaders program to facilitate recognizing those hotels having already made some steps in the matters of sustainable tourism. Hostels are part of this program as well.
Otherwise you can always opt for Airbnb and therefore travel less costly while travelling responsibly and you will be fully in charge of your housing management. Pay attention though to not consume too much water or chemical products.
Traveling responsibly: same price or even cheaper price transport wise!
These 4 rules for responsible travel that will help you save money!
- Choose public transportation meaning go by train (ex: Eurail) or by bus or for the more courageous types, by bike. In general these means of transport are considerably cheaper than flying or going by car and a whole lot richer in terms of experiences!
- Choose direct flights! Your carbon footprint will be lower and you will also gain time. And time is money, right? It is true that sometimes non-direct flights are less expensive but their carbon offset will probably be more costly. Up to you to choose, but by planning a bit ahead and installing alarms on price comparison websites such as skyscanner or liligo you will be able to find less pricey direct flights.
- Offset your travel systematically. In the end it is only a few euros extra but you do your bit for the environment. Read this article for more details.
- Travel light! In this area you could save up money. Most airlines now offer checked-in luggage at a surcharge! So by traveling light you will save up and reduce your carbon footprint!
In general, the responsible traveler will spend less money on souvenirs
Yeap! The tourist traps, the made in China products are the worst souvenirs to bring back. And this holds true from both an ecological and ethical point of view. Often made by children in pitiful conditions, releasing toxic chemicals in the environment, the factories making your souvenirs are anything but responsible! Therefore opt for artisanal products but be careful with scams. During your travels you will find many so-called “artisans” small stands that have their souvenirs produced somewhere else though.
You will reduce considerably your expenses and your carbon footprint by purchasing responsibly. Less souvenirs on responsible travel, yet those that you do buy are probably unique and you will have truly helped the local population and not an industrial millionaire.
Zoos and other tourist traps are much more expensive than “eco-touristic” attractions
An example that you might know already is the tiger temple in Bangkok. It is offered generally by tourist agencies and you pay the price thinking that there’s nothing more to pay for. Don’t be fooled, you will be charged additionally for a bunch of other things. You will most likely end up paying double the fee. All of this for seeing drugged up, poorly treated tigers that you will most likely be forced to take pictures with, pictures that you will pay for of course.
Most of these tours, agencies or touristic spots are to be avoided. You will lose your money and your time, while helping to perpetuate the existence of such places. Choose wisely your travel agency, choose “green” or “ecological” agencies – careful though to check that they are actually what they claim
Green agencies offer similar prices or even lower ones than regular agencies and will opt for tours in areas promoting healthy environmental practices. You won’t miss out on anything by not visiting the tiger temple or zoos such as the ones in Kiev or Mumbai. If you like animals, a visit in these places will harm you more than anything else.
Responsible travel doesn’t set you back more than a conventional trip. On the contrary, you will be surprised by actually saving up on certain items you might have not thought about before.
Translation & Copy Editing by Liana Marinoiu
Cet article est disponible en Français (French)