10. Remember that animals aren’t props
Don’t swim with pigs, snorkel with dolphins or sit on elephants. It only confuses them, and many studies show that animals too closely exposed to humans experience high levels of stress. The presence of humans may drive animals from their feeding, breeding or resting areas, and routine feeding can actually disrupt their natural feeding habits. Look for innovative conservation projects and know that it’s okay to fund them without having to have pictures of them.
Above: Elephants in the Amboseli National Park, under Mount Kilimanjaro, Kenya
11. Decolonise your travel experience
This difficult subject was recently brought to mainstream attention by the Stacey Dooley/Comic Relief furore. To cut through the complexity, it is vital to acknowledge how the travel experiences of (mainly) white Western travellers are marked by historic power relations between countries and peoples. Considering how communities want their own cultures to be experienced or communicated is a crucial element of conscious travel and should lead us to think more carefully about whose perspective we are really taking when we travel, whose voices are heard when we learn about destinations and who is welcome at hotels and in certain destinations. If people with disabilities or people of colour don’t feel included, then it’s important to ask whether that hotel or destination really reflects the kind of values that encourage so many of us to travel in the first place.
12. And diversify your influences
Think about who influences your travel decisions. Anyone who skips around the world wearing fast fashion while occasionally mentioning a reusable water bottle or eco bikini is not really helping. In fact, they are often (maybe unintentionally) misleading and giving negative advice. Diversifying your social feeds and following travel influencers who really care or who are contributing to the conversation with integrity is intellectually enlightening as well positively impactful. We like the perspectives provided by @thecatchmeifyoucan, @hownottotravellikeabasicbitch, The North Face ambassador @vasu_sojitra and @theamarlatif.