We see travel as a transformative experience that treats both traveler and community as catalysts for change. Our Responsible Travel policies include:
- Working with local guides and local partners in each destination for both an economic impact and an authentic cultural perspective.
- Vetting our vendors and providers for fair labor practices.
- Seeking destinations where tourism income opportunities are needed and desired, and where we can find fun, impactful ways to engage with and learn about the local community.
- Abiding by ChildSafe policies which includes educating travelers on appropriate behavior around children when traveling, including the "Children are not tourist attractions" motto. We never engage in any form of orphanage tourism.
- Working with small, local accommodations partners that demonstrate eco-friendly practices, such as water saving techniques, solar power or renewable building materials.
- Eating local and organic food as much as possible while enjoying the flavors of culinary customs of the area.
- Prioritizing vendor partners that are engaged in their local community to support conservation and sustainable agriculture.
- Mitigating the single use plastic by encouraging clients to bring a reusable bottle (noted in their Welcome Pack and Pre-trip Packets), working with accommodations partners to ensure filtered water refills are on site, and partnering with Grayl water filtration for a client discount code.
- Learning through engagement and experience with a non-profit engagement activity on each itinerary. Each trip generates a donation of 5% of sales from that trip to the community partner.
- Keeping money within the community not only through the employment provided through tourism but also by supporting local organizations that are working hard to enhance conservation, support community healthcare, mitigate homelessness, provide education, create job opportunities and engage in myriad other social and environmental causes.
- Providing cultural education in client Welcome Packs and Pre-Trip Packets as well as on-site to understand local customs, appropriate behaviors and clothing, ethics around photography, cultural sensitivity, and a deeper understanding of societal and philosophical drivers behind cultural behaviors.
Our approach is steeped in academic research and industry leadership related to responsible tourism, global business etiquette and cultural psychology. We use these insights to shape the experiences we provide for travelers and the impact we have on each location we visit.
Tourism that takes full account of economic, social & environmental impact while addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the community, and the environment.
In many cases, such as our trips to the Ecuadorian Amazon or Machu Picchu, we take look to an even more focused type of travel, ecotourism, as defined by the International Ecotourism Society:
Purposeful travel to natural areas to understand the culture and natural history of the environment, taking care not to alter the integrity of the ecosystem, while producing economic opportunities that make the conservation of natural resources beneficial to local people.
Equally as important is the recognition that while we as humans have many, many commonalities we also have deeply ingrained cultural differences that - if ignored or not recognized - can form a basis of misunderstanding, miscommunication and otherwise uncomfortable situations. This is why each trip contains cultural education to bridge the gap of understanding so that we can use our own self and culture in combination with others to "harness the power of our diverse strengths" as Hazel Rose Markus, PhD and Alana Conner, PhD dive into deeply in their incredibly powerful book Clash! 8 Cultural Conflicts That Make Us Who We Are. As they assert:
Embracing our many cultures and selves is an enormous challenge for all of us. But as the planet gets smaller, flatter, and hotter, we can no longer afford to fear or ignore diversity. Instead, we must harness the energy of our clashing cultures for a more creative, cooperative, and peaceful twenty first century.
Interested in learning more? We have a host of other resources we'd love to share! Contact us.