Exploring the world can be an immensely rewarding experience. It’s a chance to taste new cultures, expand your comfort zone, and make a positive difference. But, in order to make the most of your travels, it’s important to ensure that your explorations have a positive environmental and societal impact. 

After all, we don’t explore the world in a vacuum — we are interacting with local ecosystems and communities, and these interactions can have lasting effects. The good news is that with a few simple steps, you can make sure your explorations have a positive impact. Here are some tips on how to make a positive impact while exploring the world.

Support Sustainable Tourist Companies

When you travel, you want to be sure that your experience is both enjoyable and responsible. Look for companies that are dedicated to supporting sustainable tourist practices. These companies are well versed in the importance of protecting local ecosystems, preserving cultural heritage sites, and promoting ethical business practices. Check if the company:

• Uses local guides who know and respect the history and culture of where they are guiding
• Utilizes eco-friendly transportation and accommodation options
• Funds local initiatives such as community projects or environmental conservation
• Minimizes their environmental footprint through responsible waste management and energy conservation practices

Buy Local

When you’re exploring a new place, it’s easy to be captivated by the range of souvenirs, trinkets, and garments. But, if you can, try to buy local. Consider buying souvenirs that are handmade and unique to the region you’re exploring. This ensures that your money is going to local artisans who rely on tourism for income. It’s also a great way to own something that you know was made with love and skill.

Be Responsible with Photography

When it comes to photography, there are some essential points to consider when exploring the world. First and foremost, be mindful of cultural sensitivities and boundaries, and make sure you always ask permission before taking a picture of someone or a group of people. Avoid taking pictures of sites deemed sacred by a certain culture, and respect all signage prohibiting photography. Additionally, when posting images online, make sure to include a caption, hashtag, and location details.

Practice Low Carbon Travel

When traveling around the world, it’s key to consider the amount of carbon emissions you’re producing. Look for opportunities to reduce carbon emissions generated by your journey, such as avoiding single use plastics and utilizing public transport systems as much as possible. If your destination requires longer journeys, consider taking a bike or public transport instead of a car. This will help reduce your individual environmental impact, and many communities have laws in place to protect their environment against vehicle emissions, so you’ll be doing your part to help keep the air clean.

Share Your Experiences

Once you’re back from your travels, you can help inspire others to travel responsibly. Be sure to share your travel experiences in detail, with appropriate recognition of local customs and culture. Encourage others to pursue responsible tourism by sharing your travel tips and highlighting specific organizations or initiatives.

Be Mindful of Your Impact and Leave No Trace

Wherever you are in the world, the most important tip to help make a positive impact while exploring is to be mindful of your environmental influence and leave no trace. Respect the area, its inhabitants, and the ecosystem at all times. This means picking up after yourself in terms of trash, not disturbing local flora and fauna, and being mindful of your energy consumption. Be sure to prepare yourself with the knowledge of local customs and etiquette or regulations, so you can explore with respect.

Exploring the world can be an incredibly enriching and inspiring experience — one that can leave a lasting impression on you and those you encounter. But it’s important to be mindful of the impact your travel can have on the environment and society. By following some simple tips, such as supporting sustainable tourism companies, buying local, being responsible with photos, and practicing low carbon travel, you can make a positive impact while exploring the world. Remember to share your experiences, be mindful of your impact, and leave no trace to ensure your travels benefit the planet and local people in the most positive way possible.