With the negative effects of global warming ever present in countries worldwide, it has never been more important to consider the environment when planning our holidays. Ensuring that we are prioritising sustainability in our plans and taking the time to educate the next generation on the value of responsible travel is a vital part of our mission to safeguard the planet for the future.
By opening up the dialogue about tourism and discussing the positive and negative impacts it can have on communities around the world, you can nurture your children’s passion for exploration while also instilling an understanding of how to care for the environment when travelling and the importance of being respectful of the cultures they encounter. From types of transport to itinerary ideas, discover how to get your kids involved and invested in planning greener family holidays.
Start by talking about different transport options and the pros and cons of each. Children love trains, planes, and automobiles so some parents avoid discussing the environmental implications of these vehicles. However, having an awareness of the reality of how transport works will not take away the magic! If anything, it will make children appreciate how truly extraordinary these technologies are and help them to understand how we can take advantage of them in a responsible way.
For example, if you are taking a plane, explain that flying is often necessary due to the distance you are travelling and discuss the concept of carbon offsetting. For destinations closer to home, float the idea of alternative travel methods such as sailing or taking the train, and get your children invested in the idea of making small sacrifices (such as a longer journey time) to lessen their environmental impact.
Travelling with children can be difficult so it is tempting to always choose the most convenient option, but often there is the flexibility you need in the more eco-friendly options available. For example, anytime train tickets to the airport take into account sudden journey changes e.g., delays or flight time changes allowing you to safely take advantage of public transport which is cheaper and greener than driving.
When you are choosing the destination for your holiday, sit down with your children and discuss which options best fit sustainable travel. For example, rather than heading to a beach resort in Thailand that is suffering from the effects of overtourism, you could suggest alternative countries which offer the same tropical beach experience where your visit will have a more positive impact on the community. Depending on the age of your children, you could also discuss the human rights in various countries and explain why these issues should be a factor when choosing where to visit.
Getting back to nature is undoubtedly one of the best ways to encourage children to appreciate the world around us. During your holiday, spend plenty of time in the great outdoors, whether on foot, by bike, or by participating in fun-filled water sports such as kayaking, sailing, and snorkelling. What better way to be inspired to protect our planet than by discovering its magnificence first-hand?
If you have children who love animals, try to choose wildlife experiences that are authentic rather than commercial, e.g., take a jeep drive through a national park to spot animals in the wild or support rescue centres rather than visiting the local zoo to see species in captivity. This will be a much more rewarding encounter.
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