7 top tips on sustainable travel from friends of Wanderlust

Several well-known friends of Wanderlust have added their voices on how to travel with purpose; their wise words coming from years of travel experience...

3 mins
(Jonathan & Angela Scott)

(Jonathan & Angela Scott)

Jonathan & Angela Scott

“Try to be present for what you are seeing. ‘Entertainment’ has become the buzz word for safaris. Instead of creating an atmosphere of respect for nature, a sighting can devolve into high fives and raised voices, rather than the hushed tones of people witnessing something special. This can affect wildlife, as it soon becomes apparent when animals are uneasy, distressed or afraid. The urge to get a shot at any cost encourages reckless behaviour, often to the detriment of the subject and other people’s enjoyment. This is something we are trying – together with others – to address with members of the new administration managing the Masai Mara National Reserve at home in Kenya.” 

Michael Palin

“Don’t hurry and don’t worry. Always take time to look around for yourself. Don’t get too worried about taking a photo of everything you see. The camera can often come between you and what you’re experiencing. But always keep a travel diary. At the end of the day, what’s in your head means more than what’s in your photo library.”

(Twofour Productions/ITV)

(Twofour Productions/ITV)

Julia Bradbury

“Plastic pollution is one of the greatest threats to our planet. Try not to buy plastic bottles of water, especially if they’re stacked outside in the heat. At high temperatures the plastic toxins in bottles leach out at an even greater rate. On top of the environmental impact, they’re not good for your health. If you’re uncertain about the local water supply, then take your own bottle and a filter. Many destinations also do not have recycling facilities, so do take any plastic packaging back home with you. And don’t leave cigarette butts in the sand – or anywhere in nature. Not only do they take decades to degrade, but they contain toxins and microplastics that often end up in the ocean, with deadly consequences.”

(Ian Wallman)

(Ian Wallman)

Ade Adepitan

“Always support local communities. Buy from their shops and use their facilities. Local and Indigenous peoples are the best caretaker of their lands; the more we help them, the easier it is for them to take care of their home.”

(Simon Calder)

(Simon Calder)

Simon Calder

“Hitchhiking has the least environmental impact of any form of motorised transport, but I accept that thumbing your way around is not for everyone. The next best thing is an electric train with most of its seats filled. In my experience, Lumo, LNER and the European low-cost operators (Ouigo, Iryo) are good at maximising ‘load factors’. A full bus (as is often the case on Megabus and Flixbus services) or a full car are also relatively low impact. If flying, then pick low-cost airlines that fly modern planes, such as easyJet, Jet2, Ryanair or Wizz Air. Lastly, use public transport whenever you can – one-way taxi rides cause twice the harm – and eat, drink and stay with locals, preferably a family.”

(BBC/The Garden Productions, part of ITV studios/Jonathan Young)

(BBC/The Garden Productions, part of ITV studios/Jonathan Young)

Simon Reeve

“Always push yourself out of your comfort zone: get off the main tourist trail, eat in local restaurants, drink in local bars. Don’t be afraid of talking to people and engaging with locals. Also, don’t listen to your fears; the world is usually a safe and welcoming place – just use your common sense and trust your instincts. Pushing yourself a little more can help you to put more money back into the communities you visit. Try a few new things that can have a positive impact on the planet, such as going to a national park or a proper wildlife sanctuary. Ultimately, just do what we should all be doing: travelling as responsibly and sustainably as possible.”

(Kate Humble)

(Kate Humble)

Kate Humble

“Travel can be an immense force for good. Done with care, and with a little bit of thought, one person’s journey can benefit others. The money that comes from tourism is, in many cases, a country’s most important source of income; that also goes for the citizens of those nations. Choosing to spend your money locally, by buying fruit from a market stall, eating in a local restaurant, using local guides and drivers, and staying in places that are not owned by international companies, will bring direct benefit to local people. Their livelihoods, their lives and those of their families are enhanced immeasurably by travellers who, by thinking local, make their trip a force for good.”

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