Conscious Travel

What We’re Doing to Change Travel For The Better

By Matt Morelli

It's been a really long time since I last wrote a blog post like this one - off the cuff, personal and without utilising normally-essential search engine optimisations techniques. But then, humanity has never faced a more testing time than this one.

With leaders from almost every single nation on earth currently in Glasgow, Scotland for the UN's COP26 conference on climate change, the multiple interlinking emergencies that the planet faces are under more intense scrutiny than ever.

Climate change is happening

Climate change is now an unequivocal, provable, evidence-backed fact. It's happening! How do we know for sure? Because we've measured it.

While there have always been historic fluctuations in the levels of carbon in our atmosphere, the planet hasn't seen the levels as they are currently for millions of years. Our amazing planet has mechanisms in place already to balance carbon levels, but those mechanisms don't account for human-interference in the natural world, nor the speed with which carbon levels have risen over the past 70 years. The planet can't react quick enough.

That's why our leaders are meeting - to try and solve this growing problem. It'll take major shifts in human behaviour to do so, but since this is a human-generated problem, there's every reason to think (and hope) that humans can also collectively find a solution.

We have a role to play

We've realised that we (the Here To Travel team) have a greater role to play in fixing our broken planet and we really hope you'll join us. We're using this moment in our planet's journey through space and time to announce some changes to the way we do things, but the truth is, we've been slowly pivoting our approach for months.

Our website has, for the last few years at least, been dedicated to unearthing less explored places. Driven by our own personal attraction to 'second cities' and 'hidden gems', we noticed that we could play a part in helping to combat over-tourism.

A growing problem in many tourist hotspots, over-tourism affects many places in different ways (expelling of local residents and damage to ecosystems to name two), but ultimately causes the dilution of authenticity in locales and a worse experience for tourists. We thought that by writing about places that don't receive as many tourists as perhaps they should, we might be able to spread people out and help to combat this problem.

We're definitely going to continue doing this, but we now have an even broader mission statement.

We want to change the travel industry entirely, for the good of people, places and the planet.

This is an ambitious challenge. It involves unpicking everything we've become accustomed to. It requires a foundation of knowledge and it needs fresh ideas. By the end though, we'll all benefit.

There is no Planet B

What in practice does this all mean?

The complexity of the climate crisis and the way it interlinks with multiple other significant issues that the world and local areas face makes this tricky. One of the first things we're doing is learning.

We've embarked on a series of education courses specifically on climate change and its relationships with other problems (see FutureLearn for a selection of great free courses), so as to lay a foundation of knowledge and understanding.

We'll then be able to utilise that knowledge to create articles and resources to help guide you through your own personal travel revolution.

We want to help our readers to travel in kinder and more conscious ways, by adapting the transport methods they chose, by changing the things they take with them, by thinking about the activities they get involved in and by making changes to where they stay.

These alterations will not only bring about positive change to the places we travel to, they'll help us to have much better travel experiences too.

Join us in calling for a travel revolution

Many of the big issues facing humanity and the planet can only be solved by the involvement of big decision-makers and stakeholders, but pressure and personal choices from us can also make a huge difference.

The desire to travel is not going away, nor should it. Travel opens minds and hearts. The continued ability to travel beyond our own borders is essential for both personal and inter-community growth. It's the ways in which we travel that need to change.

Overtourism, ridiculously cheap flights, unclean fuel, over-reliance on plastic, inauthentic experiences, the Airbnb effect, animal abuse, cultural erosion and travelling purely "for the 'gram’" are all problems in the travel industry that needs to be solved.

These are early days in our journey. We're definitely not perfect and we almost certainly never will be, but we really hope you'll come along on this journey with us to transform the travel industry into something that's sustainable, kind and beneficial to all individuals, communities, wildlife, ecosystems and the planet as a whole.

Humans are the very much the problem, but we hope you'll join us to also be part of the solution.

What happens next?

We're working on publishing lots of new content to help you make positive changes to the way your travel.

To be among the first to hear about this new content and to support our upcoming campaigns, please subscribe to 'Conscious Traveller', our regular email newsletter.

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About the author

Matt Morelli

I've travelled to 38 countries across 4 continents, both independently and with my wife. I've been writing travel guides and making videos since 2007, all based on my real-life experiences. Here To Travel is a place for travel advice and inspiration that encourages us all to make mindful decisions. If you want to have life changing adventures that have minimal impact on the places and people you visit, Here To Travel is for you.