So you’ve saved up, booked your flights and you’re soon taking off on holiday to embark on fabulous experiences in amazing new destinations. And amongst the excited anticipation it dawns on you: Aren’t I lucky to be able to do this? To travel to new lands…to have the disposable income to be able to make this choice, knowing that half the world doesn’t have this option.
So are you selfish? You could be. Or you could make the choice to include more give, less take, into your travels. Now we don’t mean randomly handing out cashola to relieve the guilt trip. We’re talking about making some smart travel choices with thought to greater consequences. Here’s 13 helpful tips on how your travel ‘investment’ can be a whole lot more giving, enriching innumerably more lives than just yours!
You come home, turn on the TV to watch the news. Unfortunately it’s hard not to conclude that we are living on a planet in crisis. Wars, poverty, discrimination; people lacking access to clean drinking water, food, education, healthcare; and the climate is changing.
On a daily basis, the majority of the world’s population is heavily impacted by these issues and more. When we look at the leaders of this world, we can also conclude that they are not doing a particularly good job at addressing these matters. It is not the lack of resources and money that are the problem – both are available. The problem is a missing focus on implementing solutions.
Visitors to Myanmar (Burma) who want to do the ‘right thing’, now have it easy with the production of terrific cartoon booklets. Dos and Don’ts for Tourists – How you can visit Myanmar responsibly – is the entertaining and informative material recently developed for travellers to Myanmar.
Myanmar is currently one of the hottest new destinations for travellers and the Myanmar Government has recognised the possible risks of unsustainable tourism growth. To this end, they have developed booklets, posters and banners for visitors. Intrepid Travel, with its responsible travel approach and range of tours to Myanmar, has been pleased to sponsor a print run of Dos and Don’ts booklets.
“It took several minutes before I realized that an entire squadron of baby spiders was repelling down from the thatched roof above me and into my cup of hot aba* punch”, relates David Knight, Intrepid’s Community Based Tourism researcher in Peru.
“My research assistant and Spanish-Quechua translator, Nilo, seemed all too amused. Together, we had been invited into the home of a kind local woman to shelter from the hail that had begun to fall in destructive force upon the high Andean town of Amaru, where we’d been conducting research for several weeks. As the tiny spiders descended upon me to escape the fury of the elements, I couldn’t help but laugh with my companion in contemplation of the unique challenges and experiences we’d had thus far in these remote and breathtakingly beautiful highlands.
Intrepid is delighted to announce that we have won the Maritime, Nature & Heritage category of the Thailand Green Excellence Awards 2013. We proudly received the award from the Thai Princess, HRH Princess Ubolratana Mahidol.
The judges were seeking a company that offered the best of Thailand to its travellers, in a sustainable way. With Thailand being so rich in natural wonders and cultural heritage, we know the sustainable way is the only way. It’s actually the third time we’ve been successful in these awards, and as Thailand is where it all began for Intrepid, 25 years ago, we think it’s rather fitting to receive this award at the beginning of our quarter century birthday year!
So what did the judges like about Intrepid?
Sharing some fun and a laugh with the local kids is often one of the highlights of local grassroots travel. But sadly, as we’ve become all too aware these days, the children who are out and about meeting foreign visitors may be at risk of abuse or harm – whether by those with ill-intent, or by those with good intentions but unaware of potentially bad consequences. Sometimes it’s hard to know what is the ‘right thing to do’!
At Intrepid Travel, we’re proud to have terrific relationships with really effective organisations, that can help travellers navigate the child protection minefield. One of these, the ChildSafe network, provide some of the following information and excellent practical advice on what you can do to protect children wherever you travel:
We recently asked Intrepid Express readers to tell us their best tips for being a Responsible Traveller – how they travel in a way that’s respectful of local people, the environment and local economies. The response was a deluge of ideas demonstrating that Intrepid travellers care and want to do the right thing when they travel. Here are the top 12 tip topics (try saying that quickly!) and some of our travellers’ suggestions:
1. Water, water everywhere – pack a stainless steel or sturdy plastic BPA-free water bottle and a purifying method suited to your destination – purifying tablets such as Micropur, or a purifying device such as a SteriPEN. Avoid buying wasteful bottled water.
October 11 marks observance of the second International Day of the Girl Child, to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.
Filmmaker Rebecca Barry highlights many of these unique challenges in her recently launched fabulous documentary, I Am A Girl, (with support from Intrepid) which features the lives of six girls on the brink of womanhood. We caught up with Rebecca recently, to ask her more about the film…
We love the lengths that some Intrepid travellers will go, to raise funds for a good cause! In mid October, Garry West-Bail of Melbourne, will be running and cycling across Vietnam, to raise funds for KOTO.
KOTO is well known to Intrepid travellers, for serving delicious food through their restaurants in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City – which are the fronts of a great organisation which helps support young people in leaving a life on the streets, through training in hospitality and life skills. Intrepid and The Intrepid Foundation have been proud supporters of KOTO since KOTO’s founding in 1999, by former Intrepid tour leader Jimmy Pham.
As an Intrepid traveller, your opinion is incredibly valuable to us. Today, you can help shape responsible, animal-friendly travel across the globe. We have partnered with World Animal Protection (formerly the World Society for the Protection of Animals) to make a difference to animal protection in tourism across the world – and your opinions can help us do this.
Just take our short survey about animal-friendly travel and you can be in the running to WIN a trip for two on Intrepid’s Beautiful Thailand small group adventure. All you need to do is to fill in the short survey and tell us in 50 words or less about your favourite animal-friendly travel experience. Then the holiday could be yours!