This month our Ethical Bride focus is all about the honeymoon. Ahh one of the best holidays you will ever have, and that perfect time to relax, unwind and spend time with your new spouse after the big day has finally been and gone. With so many of us now choosing to have not just one but two honeymoons (mini-moon anyone?!) why not try and build in some responsible travel?
We have put together a simple guide for you to find out more about how you can make your honeymoon more responsible, however for much more in depth information we recommend checking out some of the links in this post. Plus don’t forget to shop around the web – the internet is a great source of information and with just a few searches you can find a wealth of responsible travel alternatives out there!
Please note – we don’t expect people to follow every single one of these guidelines, and understand we can’t make every single thing in our lives ethical (unless we live in a hole in the woods, probably naked and eating leaves?) but maybe, just maybe by supporting one of these ideas, we could help the world a little bit at a time. Here’s how:
one. travel – in some cases train travel can be cheaper, faster and save carbon! If you were thinking about a short haul flight for your honeymoon, why not change to train travel instead? If you do decide to fly, try and use an airline with higher occupancy rates and more efficient aircraft.
two. accommodation – try and find sustainable accommodation or look for hotels making an effort to support their impact on the environment – check out hotel websites to see their policies on things such as recycling and supporting the local economy. Staying at smaller establishments such as B&Bs or family run guest houses will also help to put money back into the local economy rather than big corporations.
three. respect cultural traditions – try and learn a few phrases in the local language and participate in tourist activities that highlight local traditions such as cooking with a family or learning local crafts. Before you go, read up on appropriate body language and gestures – many gestures we use in the UK can be offensive in other countries.
four. support conservation of the local area – avoid walking off footpaths to limit damage to flora and fauna and never litter. When watching local wildlife look out for guides and companies who offer too good to be true opportunities – you should not be getting up super close to wild animals for selfies or hugging, touching or feeding any wild animals.
five. minimise tourist waste – ditch the rental car and explore by bike, public transport or your feet! Avoid using plastic bags (take your own) and in places where you can drink the water use a reusable bottle to refill tap water, rather than buying plastic bottles (or sterilise the tap water if you cannot drink it). Try to recycle other items such as paper and glass, remember to turn off lights, taps and air conditioning when not in use and use your hotel towels and linen several times before they are taken to be washed.
six. support and respect the local economy – by choosing to stay at smaller, family owned hotels, eating at local establishments (out of the tourist trap) or shopping at local markets if cooking for yourself. Look out for local tour guides and artisans as well rather than mass tours and buying from the hotel gift shop. When out and about think about how you would behave at home – is it appropriate to take photos of another person or their child? What about binge drinking or wearing culturally inappropriate clothing (especially at religious sites)?
seven. avoid certain souvenirs – such as those from endangered species e.g. animal hides and body parts, tortoise-shell, ivory, or coral. Try and buy from local artisans and markets to support the local economy and community.
eight. participate in eco activities – those that emphasise nature, wildlife and culture such as horse riding, hiking, sailing, rafting, zip wiring etc. Check the tour operators before you book to make sure their policies are responsible. Avoid anywhere animals are kept in captivity such as zoos, whale and dolphin shows, riding elephants and stroking tigers to name but a few.
nine. avoid some all inclusive resorts – once tourists have paid for everything in advance they have little incentive to leave their resorts and spend money within the local community on food, souvenirs, tours and experiences. Many resorts have a huge environmental footprint and have concerning working conditions. Try and look for local, smaller hotels which employ a local workforce fairly or look for more responsible all inclusive resorts which are making an effort to reduce their impact and support the local economy.
ten. be careful who you book through – ecotourism is very on trend right now and many companies are cashing in on the fact that consumers are looking to spend more on making sure that their holiday is as responsible as possible. There are many different buzzwords – sustainable travel, responsible travel, ecotourism and green tourism to name but a few. It can be confusing and difficult to find truly genuine companies who support responsible travel. Make sure that you check websites thoroughly – ‘eco’ companies should have comprehensive guides on their policies. Checkout out Responsible Travel, Exodus, Greenloons or Intrepid.
And remember…leave nothing but footprints! Calling all ethically minded brides and grooms – are you planning on making your honeymoon more responsible? We would love to hear more from you! Please get in contact or leave us a comment below.
Photography by Sweet Ice Cream Photography
This post is not sponsored by any of the companies mentioned – we just want to spread the word about responsible tourism!