The Bemused Backpacker Code Of Responsible Travel has been designed to give travellers around the world an ethical guideline on how to travel in a fully informed, ethical and responsible way.
Responsible travel is something I believe passionately about, as any regular reader of Bemused Backpacker will attest to. It is an ethos that runs through every piece of advice, information and inspiration on this site, and through all my travels around the world I always try and travel as ethically and as sustainably as I can. I haven’t always got it right of course. I still don’t get it right all the time in fact. This ethical paradigm has evolved over the last fifteen plus years of travel as I have learned about the issues involved, changed my practices and my mindset and made choices based on that new information.
It’s all about the choices you make.
I’m far from the only traveller making these responsible choices when travelling. Ethical and responsible travel is a concept that is slowly starting to creep into the consciousness of travellers all over the world, as awareness about our collective responsibility to the planet and its inhabitants starts to take hold.
More and more travellers are beginning to realise that the choices they make on their travels can have an impact, no matter how small. Even small parts of the gap year and travel industry are slowly starting to get the message, and are gradually ending some of the tours and activities that are no longer considered ethical or responsible.
This is happening far too slowly and far too intermittently of course, I would never pretend otherwise, but is is happening.
Unfortunately not everyone is fully aware of all the issues involved in responsible and sustainable travel. These are after all huge umbrella terms that cover a lot of separate and distinct issues. Greenwashing is a huge issue that muddies the water a lot when it comes to deciding what is responsible and what is not, and not everyone is fully aware of the impact their actions are having. You only have to look at how man tourists fall for the travel industry propaganda and still visit captive dolphin shows, the Tiger Temple in Thailand or still go on an elephant trek.
Unfortunately too many tourists and travellers still put their own needs and wishes above any ethical, moral or responsible concerns.
I believe that education is the key to solving this problem. In the same way I have evolved my own practices over the years, the more aware travellers and backpackers are of the issues involved the more likely they are to make a fully informed, ethical decision. The key to this is getting backpackers and potential travellers into the mindset of asking ‘what is the responsible choice’ before they even make any decision about their travels.
This is why I have designed the Bemused Backpacker Code of Responsible Travel.
This code of conduct is not an in depth manifesto detailing the ins and outs of every issue travellers will face. It is a simple, easy guide to the choices backpackers should be making on their individual round the world adventures. It is a standard set of protocols for every traveller and backpacker to follow that will hopefully guide their decision making process and make their travels much more informed, ethical and responsible.
This code of conduct is just a simple set of guidelines that any and every traveller can easily follow on their own travels.
It is still strongly recommended that you research each issue much more thoroughly before you travel so that your decisions can be as fully informed as possible. It is my hope that this Code of Responsible Travel will at the very least be a springboard for each and every traveller to do just that.
I give out a lot of travel advice, tips, information and inspiration on this site, and if I can encourage all those potential backpackers to make the right choices and make their travels as ethical and responsible as they can be too, then maybe we can all make a difference together.
Because the decisions we make may be small in the grand scheme of things, one backpacker choosing a responsible alternative to a non sustainable or unethical part of the gap year industry may not mean much on it’s own, but the more people do this, the more impact it has. It only takes one snowball to start that avalanche.
With that in mind, I urge each and every one of you to read this Code of Responsible Travel and please spread the word as much as you can. Individually we can make informed, ethical decisions and travel more responsibly and sustainably. Together we can be a force of change in the world and force the entire travel industry to think and act more humanely, more ethically and more responsibly.
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