With the ever growing trend to travel more whilst children are still young, it is becoming even more important to think about how we can do this responsibly. We spoke to the Brighton based travel company, Responsible Travel, to find out where to travel responsibly as a family.
So tell us, what is 'responsible' travel?
Responsible travel or tourism is all about creating better places to live in, as well as better place to visit. We believe that if you treat people and places fairly and with respect it pays back by the bucket load, as well-cared for locals will let you get closer to their culture, their people and their nature. It’s a win-win, you get a much more memorable, authentic and enjoyable holiday experience, and local communities and wildlife benefits from your visit. This is what we call responsible tourism.
How can responsible travel educate young children?
Because we believe that responsible travel lets you get closer to local cultures and local people we think that this has the potential to be an excellent way for young children to learn about the world around them, to gain a deeper understanding of other cultures at a young age, to understand the value of the wildlife and cultural heritage around them that we hope, in time, will fuel a passion to protect and preserve it. In a world becoming increasingly wary of strangers and cultures foreign to our own, fostering understanding and friendship around the world can only be a good thing. Of course, this is just our belief and our hope, and maybe in time we will be able to do more research into the impacts travel at an early age can have. It is this hope, coupled with a desire to find a way to make travel more equal for all, that has spurred our new Trip for a Trip initiative – whereby for every booking made via our site (where the customer opts in) we fund a day trip for a disadvantaged child from a developing country. You can read more about the initiative here: trip for a trip.
What is the impact of travelling responsibly?
The beauty of responsible tourism is that it benefits both local people and wildlife, and the traveller themselves. We’ve already spoken about the benefits the traveller gets – a closer connection to local people, a chance to really experience local culture, to see wildlife in its natural environment – which all add up to a more memorable holiday. At the same time local people and nature benefit from the visit, this happens in a myriad of ways. For example one of our most popular family trips in Montenegro includes a number of visits to local producers, and purchases products from them for food during the trip – this includes local bee-keepers, wine makers, fishermen, carp-smokers, olive oil producers and cheesemongers. Every family who takes this holiday helps support the maintenance of these historic, family traditions. Other trips include stays at community-run lodges in wildlife reserves – where local people are directly benefiting from the natural resource on their doorstep, their wildlife, which in turn encourages them to protect and preserve it while families get to both see extraordinary animals and experience local culture.
What are the top places for responsible family travel?
These are some of our most popular family travel destinations:
Accessible on low-cost airlines, but a world away from Europe’s family hotspots. This trip is based on the shores of the beautiful Lake Skadar, in a National Park, with lots of options for walking, kayaking, exploring, wild swimming and tasting local food. Discover more about Montenegro.
Again, accessible at low cost for families. Escape to laid-back islands such as Vis or Lopud, away from the cruise hotspots of Dubrovnik and expect a warm welcome for families. Ancient port towns are perfect to wander, while more active families will enjoy swimming in the crystal clear Adriatic sea, trying sea kayaking or cycling. Discover more about Croatia.
Winter fun abounds in Finnish Lapland for young children – making for Christmas trips that don’t need a visit to Santa to feel magical. Parents will love the opportunity to see the northern lights, while kids will love reindeer sleigh rides, making igloos and (for older children) husky sledding and snowshoeing. Discover more about Finland.
Then a couple of longer-haul options for you..
4) Sri Lanka:
Sri Lanka brings children not only close to nature but also to local young people. Bring a cricket ball and cricket shirt with you and your kids will make best friends for life. The beaches are superb and there are excellent chances to see wildlife. It also has a culture that celebrates life and family – so expect a warm welcome. Discover more about Sri Lanka.
Swap the bland all inclusive resort and experience real life in Thailand - with gorgeous beaches, elephant sanctuaries, tuk tuks trips, trips to meet the hill tribes, bustling night markets, ziplining through jungle canopy, and cycle trips out through paddy fields. To avoid long journeys with young children choose to base yourself either in the southern islands, or the northern highlands. There’s lots to do in each! Discover more about Thailand.
Any new destinations for 2017 we should be adding to our family travel bucket list?
Cuba family holidays are popular on our site, but as it rapidly opens up to tourism there are concerns that local people are being priced-0ut of food supplies. If you’re after Caribbean culture then consider Belize as an alternative – with wildlife-filled rainforests, 200 coral islands, the second largest barrier reef in the world and beguiling Mayan archaeological sites.
Another more unusual destination for families popular on our site is Borneo. The best time to visit coincides with UK summer holidays, and travel around the Malaysian state of Sabah is surprisingly easy and relaxed for families. At places such as the Sepilok Orangutan Conservation Centre, children will come face-to-face with these incredible creatures, as well as learning about conservation issues. The wildlife, plus welcoming immersive cultural experiences and dreamy beaches make it a great option for more adventurous families.
Thanks to Responsible travel. You can contact Responsible Travel directly HERE if you are interested in learning more or planning your family travel.