13 Nov Planning An Eco Adventure Travel Trip
Eco travel is fast becoming the standard for most adventure tour operators around the world these days. But what is Eco Adventure travel exactly, and how do you know if a tour operator is is truly living up to their mission? What are the pros and cons of planning your own eco adventure or working with expert to plan your trip?
To start, eco travel goes by many names, such as sustainable travel, responsible travel, eco tourism and a new even more encompassing standard of conscious travel. The industry has gone through a metamorphosis over the years attempting to develop best practices that support the environment, people, resources and culture of areas where tourism is expanding at an exponential rate.
Eco Adventure Travel
In a nutshell Eco Adventure travel targets the following key areas, and attempts to strike a balance between minimizing impact and providing a unique and immersive travel experience.
- Minimize physical, social, behavioral, and psychological impacts.
- Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect.
- Provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts.
- Provide direct financial benefits for conservation.
- Generate financial benefits for both local people and private industry.
- Deliver memorable interpretative experiences to visitors that help raise sensitivity to host countries’ political, environmental, and social climates.
- Design, construct and operate low-impact facilities.
- Recognize the rights and beliefs of the Indigenous People and work in partnership with them to create empowerment.
A More Meaningful Experience
The world is changing rapidly as people’s mindsets are shifting and consciously waking up to the world. People are no longer content with mass tourism, are becoming more value conscious and are seeking meaningful experiences, immersing themselves within their surroundings to establish longer-lasting connections and gain a better understanding of the world and its people.
Conscious travel goes one step further embracing a mindfulness for the planet and the people we encounter upon our travels. It’s about thinking differently about the way that we travel: changing our values and perception of the world and seeing a destination through local’s eyes.
Expert Tour Operators
There are a number of ways you can tell if a tour operator is really living up to the hype and incorporating these key tenants into their trips. One is to see if there have been certified through an existing standard, where a third party had verified that they are conforming to their mission. Usually this is only done by larger tour operators who have the resources to spend on certification, so many times this isn’t the only thing to look for.
Other ways you can tell is through their website and marketing. Do they highlight their activities beyond just their mission statement? Do they tell a story about the sustainable techniques they employ, how they are being of service to local and indigenous people, or how they are working to support creating a sustainable travel economy? Many times a tour operator will incorporate these elements directly into their trip offerings, allowing you to be a part of their efforts. Sometimes it’s as simple as empowering you to conserve natural resources as part of the trip, and other times it means taking time during the trip to be of more service to locals.
As part of every trip we offer, we believe service is key and provides a way for participants to fully immerse in the people and culture of a destination. We witness exchanges between our guests and locals that become very profound experiences, giving people a window into a world that one cannot see through a tour bus window.
The Pros and Cons
So what is the best approach to planning your next Eco Adventure? There are pros and cons to both approaches, but either way, if you are taking the time to consider the environment, people and culture when you travel, you are helping to shape the future of the travel industry and helping make positive changes in reducing our impact.
Planning your own trip and doing all the legwork on your own is a great option if you have the time, and enjoy researching your own travel options. Doing it yourself gives can give you a lot of flexibility, allow you to not have to stick to a dedicated schedule and generally just go with the flow if an opportunity arises along the way.
✓ Generally less expensive approach
✓ Flexibility to go at your own pace
✓ Allow you to decide where and what to do
✓ Can be time consuming to plan
✓ You have to do everything yourself
✓ Language can be a barrier
✓ You may encounter more delays, wasted time, and wasted money
✓ In the long run may not be as sustainable
Working with a reputable eco adventure tour operator is another great option, which allows for a more one-stop shop approach to your travel needs. There are many reasons you may choose this option, and in the long run can make for a more enjoyable experience because you have less to worry about and can just sit back and allow the experts to handle all the details, while you just enjoy the ride.
✓ Less planning and time consuming
✓ Benefit of having guides that are knowledgable about the local language and customs
✓ Less delays and time wasted
✓ In general more sustainable as they have done the work to incorporate these elements
✓ Generally more expensive
✓ Less flexible and restricted to a more specific itinerary
✓ Hard to change once the trip begins
Planning Your Trip
The best thing to do is to do some initial research on a destination and see what options are available, and whether planning a trip on your own or working with a tour operator is most beneficial. In general travel destinations that are more remote, and off the beaten track it is best to find a reputable tour operator who has expertise in running trips in these areas. They have years of experience, know the ins and outs and have perfected their trips over time. This can be worth the extra cost, and the odds are you’ll have a much more positive experience in the long run.
If you decide to go on your own and do all the planning yourself, you may want to stick to destinations that are less remote and have more of a travel infrastructure. This will give you many more options, and allow you the flexibility to change if you wish to change your plans or if there are any delays.
In the end going on an Eco Adventure trip is much more about the journey your experience along the way, and whether you plan it yourself or go with a tour operator you are guaranteed to have an adventure of a lifetime. So get out there are start planning your next trip, you won’t be disappointed.