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Amanda Ho on how to travel sustainably

September 1, 2022By joy asfar

Co-founder & CEO of Regenerative Travel, Amanda is a New-York based brand strategist, travel expert, community builder and change-maker committed to help the travel, tourism and hospitality sector become a force for regeneration and healing. Here she shares with us her very own tips on how to be more conscious when travelling.

Now that we are all travelling again, we are all aware of the climate issues and we want to be mindful of our footprint. Can you give us 3 things we can do to travel more responsibly?

To travel more responsibly and regeneratively, you can embody the mindset by beginning to choose to stay longer in a location for a deeper immersion into the destination rather than short stays in multiple places. Some destinations are suffering from challenges related to over-and under-tourism, and doing a little research on these challenges can help you to make decisions that support the destination instead of damaging it. You can also select hotels, tour operators, and activities that are independent and committed to regenerative work (like Regenerative member hotels) rather than providers that have no proven track record of positive impact on the local environment, community, or economy. Regenerative travel is about moving away from the predictable and becoming more engaged in the local community and ecosystem. Research what community-run activities you can support outside of the resort—these sorts of experiences allow you to connect more meaningfully to the place, and ensure that local people and environments benefit from your trip.

What should be on our checklist when planning a sustainable holiday?

When you’re just beginning to book your trip the checklist to start thinking about should be:

 

Ask your hotel if they have a sustainability policy that guides their operations, how they support local organizations and communities, and if they have any initiatives that help to restore or protect the ecosystem. Enquire with the hotel you’re staying at if there are ways you can connect to the local community through specific activities that are immersive and educational to deepen your connection to the culture and people. Most importantly, understand that it is your role as a traveler to seek out the essence of a place, its history, and all that the destination embodies.

Any sustainable essentials we should think about packing?

Always travel with a reusable water bottle, pack clothes that you will wear multiple times and be able to layer for different weather conditions, and try to use sustainable luggage like Solgaard

What destinations should we have on our radar for sustainable travel?

More important than the location itself is your mindset as you plan your trip and travel.  Some destinations are suffering from challenges related to over-and under-tourism, and doing a little research on these challenges can help you to make decisions that support the destination instead of damaging it.  Choose to stay longer in a location for a deeper immersion into the destination rather than short stays in multiple places. Select hotels, tour operators, and activities that are independent and committed to regenerative work (like Regenerative Travel Member Hotels) rather than providers that have no proven track record of positive impact on the local environment, community, or economy.

Does carbon offsetting make a difference?

The best approach when considering the climate impact of your travels is to look at your trip holistically, and think about how you can decrease your carbon footprint from the moment you leave home to when you return.  Flights are usually the most carbon-intensive part of a trip and currently, carbon offsetting is the only tool travelers have to address the footprint of their flight.  Carbon offsetting is not a perfect solution because emissions are still directly emitted during your travel.  We are seeing some airlines making commitments to reduce their emissions over time, and investment in innovations like electric airplanes could make a big difference in the future. When purchasing offsets, look for programs with proven carbon reductions vetted by a third party. Some offset programs have additional benefits beyond carbon sequestration, and directly support communities or improve environments.  Travelers should also think about the carbon emissions associated with their activities in the destination. By being more mindful about how you travel locally, how long you stay in the destination, and where you stay, you can work to ensure your trip has a positive impact and that carbon emissions are minimized.  Ask hotels and tour operators what they are doing to mitigate emissions and address the climate emergency.  For example, our Regenerative Travel Member Hotels actively measure and reduce the carbon emissions associated with hotel operations, and also support on-site and community initiatives that reduce carbon in the atmosphere through regenerative agriculture, reforestation, or the education of women and girls.  By selecting a hotel committed to climate action, you can make a meaningful and impactful contribution during your trip.

What’s one trap you usually tell people to avoid if they want to travel more responsibly?

It’s important to not think about regeneration as something you add on. Regeneration is a mindset and if you consider how your trip can make a positive social and environmental impact from the start. Regenerative travellers understand that participation in the experience is one of the most important aspects of travel. They seek to learn from locals and engage in a deeper way where they develop a relationship with the host destination. You can connect deeply to the place through the companies, individuals and businesses you support and the stories you learn as a result of those experiences. Whether it’s going on safari in Kenya or on a yoga retreat in Bali, seek to support an ethical supply chain through your journey; from the transportation you take to the hotel you book, to the restaurants you eat, to the boutiques you shop in.

What’s next for Regenerative Travel?

Regenerative Travel is setting the regenerative standard for the travel industry and hotels, leading the way for all to join along the regenerative journey. We have begun at the property level by bringing added value to the hoteliers who are dedicated to these values and promoting these types of travel experiences in addition to helping these hoteliers benchmark and provide accountability. We believe that RT will help shape the travel industry to be a force for good, and to find hotels who share that vision and are pushing the boundaries of art, design, food, adventure, and the outdoors that serve as hubs of creativity and innovation with truly unparalleled experiences. As an all-female team, we believe in uplifting underrepresented groups and communities through our work, and igniting a new generation of hospitality. We are now expanding our work to provide resources for consumers, trade, media, tour operators and destinations to understand regenerative principles and best practices to be implemented across the industry.

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