It’s true: We’re hooked on the benefits and sheer pleasure of traveling. Unfortunately, travel popularity means we’re seeing the effects of over-tourism and anti-tourism. Recently, Venice, Barcelona and Peru’s Machu Picchu have struggled with too many visitors. Masses of people threaten to destroy what originally made these places so special in the first place. Though there is no easy answer for over-tourism and sustainable travel, here are a few easy actions we can each do to help ensure the sustainability of travel.

  1. Travel off season

There are lots of good reasons to travel off-season.

  • First, you won’t be one of the many who over-populate areas during the high season
  • You’ll likely receive better service from locals
  • You will pay less for accommodation and flights
  • You may enjoy yourself more with fewer crowds to battle
  • You may enjoy a more authentic experience
  1. Travel to less populated areas


Off-the-beaten-track places are a great travel option.

  • Locals are grateful to receive your tourist dollars
  • People in lesser traveled countries are likely to be more welcoming
  • Travel and local purchases will likely be more reasonably priced
  • You will feel as if you’ve ‘discovered’ a place that no one else knows about. There’s something special about discovering hidden gems.
  1. Contribute to regenerative and restorative travel

One action we can take to ensure sustainable travel is to give back to the communities we visit. That doesn’t mean only giving with retail dollars, but also giving to local causes. It’s called voluntourism.

  • Find ways to support charities either with donations or by volunteering time or labor
  • Search online for local causes and decide which one(s) ‘speaks to you’
  • Imagine how good you’ll feel by helping out the place you visited!
  • Many do it, but one tour company I know, Today’s Woman Traveller, regularly visits and contributes to an elephant rescue in Kenya and their tours also sponsor wells for families in Cambodia.
  1. Opt to use more sustainable travel modes

Whenever possible, travel by the most environmentally-friendly means.

  • For longer, in-country distances, perhaps a train leaves a smaller footprint than a plane, car or cruise ship
  • For shorter, local distances, consider biking or electric scooters
  1. Support small businesses

When possible, avoid spending with large international chains that dot most places we visit.

  • Opt for smaller, independently run stores and restaurants
  • By frequenting these places, you’ll not only help support their efforts, but you’ll probably enjoy a more authentic experience
  1. Be respectful

As travelers, it’s important to respect local people and cultures.

  • Adhere to local customs such as dress codes
  • Treat wildlife and nature preserves properly: Don’t litter and follow their suggested rules.
  • You’re traveling there to experience their country, so just relax and enjoy the differences

Sustainable travel encompasses many aspects and there is no quick or easy fix, however, helping in our own way to regenerate and restore efforts in countries we visit is one small step towards combating over-tourism and anti-tourism.

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