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Pathway to the mountains in New Zealand

Sustainability

The Pelorus guide to sustainable travel

Here are our top ten tips on how to travel sustainably and the importance of making mindful choices in the detail of your adventures.  

Sustainable travel begins with care. With consideration towards all aspects of an experience, be it the local community or the methods of travel. Beyond the trip itself, it’s a matter of taking on best practices in our day-to-day to help us reduce our environmental footprint and contribute to driving those same best practices.

At Pelorus, we believe that the onus rests with brands and organizations to promote sustainable travel and organizational best practice to their clients.

We practice what we preach (without, hopefully, being too preachy). Across our Private Adventures, Yacht Expeditions, and Pelorus Agency, all of our trips have sustainability as a foundational aspect. During our trips, we offer clients opportunities to take advantage of our expertise for their own education and work in lockstep to help them design their own sustainable boundary-pushing experiences.

For us, a trip begins with a goal. It can be anything from immersing yourself in a new culture and cuisine to learning a language. A trip should be about personal transformation rather than just occupying space in an exotic locale and posting a picture on social media. And ideally, it’s an event that moves you to take on a conservationist philosophy towards wildlife and the environment, that seeks to preserve the wonder and awe that you’ve just experienced for the next person, the next generation.

See below for our team’s top ten ways how we can bring a little more awareness to our travel.  

1. Research sustainable destinations

A key tenet of sustainable travel is to avoid contributing to mass tourism. Instead, it’s better to travel to places where the local environment isn’t at risk of being permanently damaged by the unsustainable human traffic. Traveling closer to home or exploring the less familiar will help reduce your personal impact on our world.

2. Pick a tour operator who puts sustainability at their core 

Pelorus has launched a new Climate Investment Fund which invests in pioneering technology and nature focused carbon removal projects through a portfolio approach to compensate for travel emissions

3. Embrace slow travel

Whether by train or boat, it’s increasingly easy—and desirable—to travel slow. Burgeoning demand is seeing new routes open up all the time, while travelers are also re-discovering the joys of established ones. The pleasures of exploring a country as you’re traveling through it, rather than over it, are many and worthwhile.

hiking rucksack hung up in some woodland
Pissing Mare Falls

4. Plan to travel longer and less frequently

Staying in one spot for longer, rather than moving between multiple destinations in a short space of time, has obvious environmental advantages. Your longer stay also enriches your entire experience in that destination, allowing you to truly understand its customs and its people and, with that, enjoy a sense of belonging in somewhere new.

5. Pack light and resourcefully

Reduce waste by ensuring that you’ve packed all of your necessities. Choose reusable products—such as an Ocean Bottle for your water—and biodegradable ones and eschew single-use plastic.

6. Stay at local eco-conscience properties 

These kinds of properties can do a lot of eco-consideration for you, allowing you to focus on the delights of the destination. Choose dining experiences that advertise their farm-to-table philosophy. And be aware, at luxury resorts or similar, of their towel-washing practices and similar policies that can ensure a stay with as small an environmental impact as possible.  

7. Seek local experiences, home-stays, local guides, and local organizations that support the communities

Help sustain the local economy by choosing to engage with guides and organizations who are based in the destination. This is not entirely altruistic—it follows that people who have grown up in a place will be better placed than outside organizations to show you lesser-known treasures, decode cultural tics, and deliver honest and updated appraisals on cultural sites. 

Longyearbyen Svalbard Polar Bears Wildphoto
snorkelling coral reefs off the Solomon Islands Safari Zebras in Botswana

8. Dedicate your time to a local cause or organization in the form of volunteering

Upskilling the local community with your unique knowledge and professional background can have a powerful legacy in the destination you’ve traveled to. Team up with conservation and environmental groups to understand what solutions are being proposed to surmount challenges. Engage with children at a local school to focus their minds on the natural world around them and its future. Even something as practical as a beach clean-up can bring instantly satisfying results and increase ocean conservation awareness.

9. Don’t purchase products such as makeup, sunscreen, or sprays containing chemicals

The impact that they can have on our natural environment and its wildlife can be prolonged and devastating. Choosing natural products free of chemicals can promote better health alongside safeguarding our environment.

10. Be mindful of interacting with wildlife outside of their natural habitat

Last but not least, while traveling, stay informed about your encounters with wildlife. The exploitation of animals for entertainment is sadly rife throughout the world, and Pelorus doesn’t support any zoos or sanctuaries that cause animals harm. Negative signals to look out for include organizations advertizing elephant riding, walking with tigers, visiting lions in cages, or swimming with dolphins in pools. Wildlife is an extension of the natural landscape, and an essential part of being a sustainable traveler is being a voice for ethical animal treatment. Support the organizations that share these values and contribute to a better future for all wonderful and wild things.