At GoMad Nomad we are always on the lookout for companies that have high ethical standards; most importantly in ecological sustainability and cultural sensitivity.
Responsible Travel appears to be one of those companies. Responsible Travel offers tours which aim to put something back—mainly by reducing environmental impacts and making a positive contribution to the local economy and communities. This means they only work with tour operators that have responsible tourism policies. Accommodation owners need to be accredited via a certification organization or have policies for responsible tourism. Small tourism service providers need to prove how they support local communities and reduce environmental impacts.
Their slogan is “travel like a local,” which is always my goal. They try to help their clients feel a little like they really live in the destination they are traveling and to enjoy the peace and quiet or the pace and excitement of the place as much as the people who live there.
Travel off-the-beaten path
One of the first things to catch my attention about Responsible Travel is that their tours are going to some really interesting and out-of-the-ordinary places.
Kazakhstan—this is a place you don’t hear about many travelers going. I visited in 2004 and was blown away by just how huge this country is. Culturally, it’s an interesting blend of Kazakh and Russian customs. They share a huge border and Kazakhstan was part of the Soviet Union before 1991.
Ethiopia—another truly amazing travel destination. I once met a traveler in Egypt who had come overland from South Africa in just over a year. He said he spent three months just in Ethiopia and it wasn’t enough time.
Bhutan is also in their portfolio. Bhutan is a fascinating country—a long isolated kingdom in the Himalaya that is now just beginning to open up to travelers and modernity. What perhaps was most interesting to me about Bhutan is their policy of Gross National Happiness—an official government policy that considers each individuals happiness and well-being.
Budget Holidays, Beach Holidays, Luxury Holidays
If roughing it in Sri Lanka independently is not your idea of a good time, Responsible Travel offers plenty of alternatives.
Maybe luxury holidays are more your style. How about exploring the life and habitat of the Giant Panda? Or seeing the Orangutans and Komodo Dragons of Indonesia? Or perhaps a luxury family safari and beach holiday to South Africa and Mozambique?
If that isn’t your speed, Responsible Travel also offers some budget holidays that look very exciting for reasonable prices. Lima to La Paz: Inca Adventure and The Essence of China caught my eye. They are both categorized as “small group adventures”. So did Costa Rica multisport holiday, which is a “strenuous walking holiday”.
If you’ve been working too hard or just prefer to lie on the sand for a couple weeks, consider their beach holidays.
Responsible Travel also specializes in Family holidays, cycling holidays, safaris and walking holidays.
What to expect
Responsible Travel works together with accommodation providers that have a deep connection with special places—people who live and work in the destination and have fallen in love with it.
Traveling with these folks is not just a brief stay somewhere, but an attempt to allow travelers a real connection with the people, the landscape, the culture, and the environment.
The day-by-day itineraries are all listed on their website and you can see the planned route on the map. Future departure dates are also listed. And most importantly you can read reviews from past travelers. Many of the tour providers offer video and audio podcasts with descriptions of their travel style and philosophy.
Responsible Travel works successfully with more than 350 tour operators of all different types from around the world, many of them for years now.
Responsible tourism is at the core of their business philosophy and in everything they do, from choosing which holidays to feature on the site to recycling in the office. For your next holiday, consider Responsible Travel.
Travel Spotlight compiled by Stephen Bugno.