Now more than ever before, travel can be a catalyst for positive social change, an economic driver for environmental conservation, and transformative – in nearly every sense of the word. This coming year, instead of looking at travel as merely a means of discovery and exploration, consider how your trip plans could be more purposeful, whether that means challenging yourself physically, seeking out a road less traveled, or making a meaningful impact on the destination you visit.
Don’t know where to start? Here are seven purposeful holidays for 2019, as told by the experts at Bannikin Travel & Tourism.
- Leave No Trace
This year, lower your carbon footprint with the World’s First Zero Waste Adventure, courtesy of Natural Habitat Adventures, global leaders in responsible adventure travel and ecotourism. This initiative, debuting as part of Nat Hab’s Safari America: Yellowstone Country trip on July 6-12, 2019, will divert 99 per cent or more of all on-trip waste produced as a by-product of Nat Hab-sponsored trip operations. From arrival to departure, travelers will be encouraged to refuse, recycle, compost, upcycle or re-use potential waste such as plastic straws and individually wrapped items.
- Embrace Permaculture Principles
In an attempt to honor our natural resources, permaculture is a growing travel trend which encourages greater respect for the earth. In April 2019, the first boutique ecolodge of its kind will open its doors in Colombia, ushering in a new era of experiential travel in South America. Cannúa, an 18-room retreat set within 27-acres of protected forest, was conceptualized as a permaculture retreat from the very beginning, and its overall holistic approach has been rooted in permaculture principles. Specifically designed to exist in harmony with its natural surroundings using sustainably-sourced building materials such as bamboo and compressed earth blocks, Cannúa will supply its on-site restaurant with two acres of organic gardens and permaculture-informed food forests. Discover a new side of Colombia with Cannúa.
- Actively Go Astray
According to the Huffington Post, risk-taking can open up a world of unforeseen opportunities for those willing to make the leap. On your next trip, go beyond your comfort zone and take a daring journey meant to challenge your physical and geographical limits with Exodus Travels, the leading adventure tour operator that’s been testing travelers’ mettle for 45 years. See what you’re made of by tackling some of Exodus’ most challenging ascensions, such as the triple peaks of Mt Kenya, the Julius Mountains in Slovenia, or the jagged inclines of the Pyrenees (featured on the Tour du France).
- Be a Citizen Scientist
Citizen science, the act of collecting data on flora and fauna, is a great way to give back in-destination. Rainforest Expeditions’ four lodges, a group of retreats in Tambopata, Peru, have designed such experiences called Wired Amazon, an initiative of interactive science projects created specifically for travelers. Among these activities is Discover a New Species, an experience led by Dr. Juan Cardos which studies a rich biodiversity of insect families. Similarly, travelers with Rainforest Expeditions can also partake in the Tambopata Macaw Project which researches how Macaws live in the rainforest.
- Go Into the Woods
There’s never been a better time to disconnect from our devices and go on a natural escape where unplugging is not just encouraged – it’s necessary. Beautiful hikes into ancient, thousand-acre forests, stunning mountainscapes in remote lodges and long walks on unchartered coastlines are just as enjoyable without a hashtag. New Zealand Walking Tours guides lead travelers through paths less trodden that reach locations not accessible by land vehicles, so guests can expect a renewed sense of energy and opportunities for quiet contemplation with every step. As John Lennon once said, life is what happens when you’re busy making plans, and in today’s context, life is what happens between Wi-Fi signals.
- Dig Deeper In-Destination
While Earth may not have many places left undiscovered, there are plenty of opportunities to dig deeper into existing destinations and uncover cultures that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. Ireland, a country filled with deep history, is still home to communities rich with ancient Irish culture. Discover the Emerald Isle’s great outdoors with Wilderness Ireland’s hike along the Wicklow Way, or explore remote, historic towns which still honor Ireland’s ancient culture. One such place is Dingle, which boasts of the 6th century Reask Monastic Site. This ancient city is also home to some of the oldest archaeological sites in the country, such as the Gallarus Oratory, said to be the best preserved early Christian Church in Ireland, and the Dún Beag Fort, which dates back over 2000 years to 500 BC.
- Community Conscious Explorations
Choosing socially-aware travel that involves slow food, local initiatives, and responsible destination development is a way to make travel more purposeful. Adventure Canada’s circumnavigation of Newfoundland delivers all of the above. Visit the Indigenous community of Miawpukek, whose residents have successfully married centuries-old traditions with contemporary culture. Also journey to L’Anse aux Meadows, a well-preserved UNESCO World Heritage Site – and home to a 1000-year-old Norse settlement.