How We Travel Responsibly May 25th, 2016 • by Matt Holmes Lots of companies tout responsible travel. So, what does it mean here at Boundless Journeys and how does it inform our itineraries? We want to preserve the places we go for years to come—so our children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren can have the same amazing adventures that we have had. When we put together a tour, we consider responsibility in three ways. Social and Economic Responsibility – In order to create sustainable travel opportunities and experiences, we take our relationships with people very seriously. —We have taken the Sustainable Travel International pledge to work on improving 10 million lives over the next 10 years through travel and tourism. —We develop relationships with local guides and pay a living wage that is appropriate for their experience and expertise. —We work with vetted in-country partners to ensure money stays in the communities and goes to the right people. —We support and visit community organizations including an artisan co-op in Peru, a craft school in Bhutan, and Zimbabwean village schools, among others. —We patronize locally-owned hotels and restaurants as often as possible. Environmental Responsibility – Let’s face it, traveling does impact the environment, but we try to make our impact a positive one. —We visit and support conservation and wildlife organizations such as an elephant retirement camp in Myanmar, the Caribbean Conservation Center in Costa Rica, and a big cat rehabilitation organization in Namibia, as well as many others. —We encourage the use of reusable water bottles and have taken the Traveler’s Against Plastic (TAP) pledge to help protect the environment against single-use plastic bottles that pollute landscapes and waterways. —We work hard to ensure that our small groups “leave no trace” in the wildernesses through which they traverse. Cultural Responsibility – It’s hard to gain a deep cultural understanding in just a few days, but we do our best to foster a cultural dialogue as guests in other countries. —We dance in Maasai bomas, drink tea in Bhutanese homes, and soak with Icelanders in hot pots to give our guests an experiential introduction to a culture, rather than simply observing it. —Visits to historical sites provide an understanding of how the country’s roots have created the current cultural, economic, and political environments. —Our local guides are invaluable resources for providing insights into their own countries. They can explain the local customs and answer just about any question our guests can think up. —Markets, festivals, and food tastings are another way our itineraries delve into the culture of a place. These opportunities provide memorable glimpses into everyday life. Because we love to travel, and have developed tours based on our experiences, we want to ensure that our work helps sustain, promote, and enhance the regions we visit and the lives we encounter. We realize we aren’t a solitary enterprise operating in a bubble. Our choices and actions, as both a company and individuals, have ripple effects, and it’s important to us that those ripple effects do good in the world. A “pay it forward” principle, we say.