“To me, sustainable travel is travelling with the intention to leave a place better than you found it.”
Those are the words of Swinburne alum Sally Rodrick. Sally, who studied a Bachelor of Business majoring in Tourism Management and Public Relations is passionate about sustainable travel and has been championing the cause through her social media accounts and blog Sally Sees.
During her time at Swinburne, Sally participated in a semester exchange to Swinburne Sarawak and the Asia Pacific Rim Study Tour with Swinburne Abroad, before completing a 12-month professional placement and working full time with the team.
She now documents her travels around the world and advocates for sustainable and budget-friendly travel practices.
“Travel can be a force for good, but when it is not managed sustainably, the consequences can be dire,” says Sally.
“To mitigate this risk, we can implement a controlled and sustainable form of travel. It’s not about getting it right 100 per cent of the time, but about making positive choices where you can to benefit the environment, wildlife and communities you visit.”
Sally shares some of her top tips to travel more sustainably.
Support local businesses
Buy souvenirs and food from local shops and vendors. Seek out farmer’s markets for fresh produce and locally-made snacks. The food doesn’t travel as far, which means it will taste better too.
“Skip the chain hotels and restaurants and opt for local restaurants and smaller, locally-owned accommodation options, like Airbnb’s instead,” says Sally.
While it's tempting to tick off every bucket list destination, it can be valuable to slow down and embrace one location for a while.
“Instead of hopping to multiple countries or cities, choose one region and experience it more deeply,” says Sally.
Walk or ride a bike where you can or use trains and buses. This will not only help the planet, but also your wallet. Plus, you’ll feel like you really get to know your destination better.
Avoid single-use plastics
It is important to remember that many places around the world will be struggling to manage waste.
“Reusable coffee cups, water bottles, straws and cutlery are a great addition to your luggage,” says Sally.
Carrying reusable food containers will also help. Not only will you be helping the environment, you’ll also be ready for a local snack at any time.
Find tour companies that operate sustainably
Make sure to do your research and seek out companies who respect and give back to the communities they visit. Websites for tourism companies who are proud to operate sustainably will be open and transparent about their initiatives and activities.
“Unless you are positive they are an ethical sanctuary or rescue centre, skip any wildlife experiences. You should only see animals in the wild,” Sally advises.
Do you want to get actively involved in the promotion of sustainability? Swinburne Abroad can help you achieve this. Read more.
Immerse yourself in local culture
While you’re on your travels, take time to understand the local culture and customs, eat local food and meet local people.
“Remember, you are in a foreign place where things are done differently, so make an effort to learn the local language and connect with the locals,” says Sally.
Are you ready for an adventure of your own? Check out the options to enrich your studies and take your degree overseas with Swinburne Abroad.