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Conscious travel is often associated with sustainable travel and responsible travel, but it definitely has a different and more wide meaning to it. It became a travel trend in 2019 and continued on in 2020. People write conscious travel guides and talk about conscious travel destination, like the topics on my blog. But firstly, let’s talk about the definition of conscious travel because: what is conscious travel? Let’s chat about it.
You may have noticed the increase of blogposts related to conscious travel on my website. In addition, conscious living is another content pillar on my blog. I am working towards a conscious lifestyle, to travel consciously and to live consciously to create a positive impact in my life and during my travels. We take many of our lifestyle habits with us when we travel. If I change the way I live my daily life, I’m changing the way I travel at the same time!
What is conscious travel?
Conscious travel is described as travelling with your conscience and connecting with others in a particular place. It is not just about environmentalism, but it is about human rights and sustaining communities as well. To me and this blog, conscious travel touches on the topics of the welfare of animals, respecting and researching cultures, supporting the local community and looking after the history of a particular destination. Let’s discuss the topic and assumptions of conscious travel and answer the question: what is conscious travel and how can we travel more consciously?
Conscious travel is making sure you travel with the right mindset, to travel mindfully and to be aware of the impact your trip makes. This all first started with the increase of climate change and I am sure we have all seen the plastic polluting the beaches. The plastic bags in the oceans and the straws in the noses of the sea turtles.
Many of the travellers think that they have to completely change the way they currently travel to travel consciously. That’s an understandable thought, especially because we’ve seen climate activists shaming people who take the airplane to their holiday destination. People are shaming others for wanting to go on a vacation. I completely understand the assumption of thinking that you have to travel completely different, but it is not the truth. Not on my blog at least.
So, what’s it all about then?
Conscious travel can be achieved by small mindset changes. We can travel more meaningful to enjoy every second of our trip. We can take our own sustainable water bottle so we at least buy a little less plastic bottles on the destination. Conscious travelling does not mean you can’t go on a vacation. It does not mean you’re not “allowed” (who decides this anyway?) to take the airplane. It does not mean you’re somewhere in the middle of nowhere, with no electricity and just some water to travel as sustainable as possible. Don’t let these assumptions scare you because they are far, far away from the truth!
Essentially, conscious travel is a more mindfulness way of travelling, hopefully without sounding too spiritual. It is all about thinking differently about travelling, to change our perception and values of the world and seeing the destinations we visit from the locals perspective. Away from the crowded places, not where the mass tourism is. It’s about exploring the hidden gems, going away from the known paths and explore the unknown.
My personal goal with conscious travel and writing about conscious travel on this blog, is to provide conscious travel guides about specific destinations. Share my own meaningful experiences while giving you all the information you need to have a meaningful experience yourself as well. I want to create a positive impact and I hope to inspire others to do the same, or at least make it less scary and “too much” if you don’t know a lot about this way of travelling.
One of my favorite recent conscious travel guide is my blogpost about 5 special things to do in Bali. Those things to do are going to give you the local experience and see a different side of the so-incredibly-popular Bali. Not gonna lie, it is one of my favorite destinations and I am saving money to travel back next year. This shows it’s still a great idea to visit a popular destination, there will always be places where the crowds don’t go. And you still get to experience the gorgeousness of Bali.
Why is it important to travel consciously?
Let’s talk about the benefits of conscious travel and why it is important/good to travel consciously. We all need motivation to change certain habits so I hope these three points will give you that motivation!
It benefits the local community
One thing to keep in mind when travelling consciously is knowing where your money goes. I have spoken about this before and this phenomenon is called leakage. It means that the money we spend in a country, will “leave” the country to the bigger international firms that own the restaurant we ate at or the hotel we stayed at. The local community will not see any result from us spending the money and will not benefit from it.
The best thing to do if we want to avoid this, is eating at a local restaurant or stay in a locally owned hotel and the local community will benefit from us spending our money! Read more about giving back to the local community.
Travel is still becoming more and more popular
I love travelling and I do travel often, that’s not a secret anymore and has never been a secret. Along with me, many others are travelling more often as well. More city trips and more long haul trips to dreamy destinations like the Philippines. That’s awesome for our own experiences but it also increases the importance of travelling consciously and to be aware of the impact.
To enjoy life even more
I feel like these last months and even the current situation with COVID-19 made me appreciate life even more. Not being able to travel grew my gratefulness for travelling even more as well. I used to rush my city trips – see as many things on a day as I could without truly enjoying my surroundings, without looking at all the details and without meeting the locals. I wrote a blogpost about why slow travelling is the perfect way to travel!
How to become a more conscious traveller
As you’ve already read, it’s super easy to become a conscious traveller but I do have additional tips for you to be better prepared if you want to travel consciously!
Do additional research
This is my biggest tip. Read travel blogs focused on conscious travel, like my blog, or search on Google specific subjects about conscious travel. Lonely Planet has a few awesome books about finding hidden gems and authentic experiences as well! The Lonely Planet books are one of my favorite ones to read. I wrote a blogpost last week about travel documentaries to watch on Netflix and a few of them highlight important issues while travelling!
Take sustainable products with you
A few ways of limiting your use of plastic on the destinations is by taking less plastic with you to the destination. Create a sustainable packing list with things like shampoo bar or deodorant bar. I wrote a blogpost with 11 tips to reduce your use of plastic! It’s full with additional information and easy tips.
Talk about it with friends and family
I am happy that travelling more sustainable is becoming a discussed topic. However, the sustainable aspect is small in the entire subject of conscious travel. Spread the word and speak to your friends or family. You don’t need to have difficult conversations. Just talk about how they travel and what they love about it!
After the research you’ve done, you may give them information about how to find the coolest hidden gems on the destination if they’re interested! I would suggest to not just shove it in their face, it’s okay if they’re not interested at the moment.
That’s the basis of conscious travel with information about what it is, why it is important and how to travel consciously. I hope you’re assumptions, if you had any, are now gone and that you have a more clear and more positive feeling about conscious travel. It is really not hard, you do not have the completely change the way you travel. Small changes can make a really big difference. Just find alternatives if you can and do the same activity, just in a more conscious way.
What’s your view on conscious travel? I’d love to hear your opinions about it!