They criss-cross the globe in an effort to protect the planet’s wild places, so World Wildlife Fund (WWF) experts know how to travel responsibly.
Here are 10 conservation-minded travel tips from members of the WWF team.
“Keep your boots clean! Seeds, insect egg, and other living material can hitchhike on your boots and shoes as you explore the remarkable places on your trip. You may inadvertently carry these plants and critters to new locations, where they just might become invasive species that end up fouling the places we want to protect.”
– Dave Aplin, Senior Program Officer, Arctic Program
“Plastic bottles are one of the biggest pollution problems in natural spaces I have visited. Bring your own water bottle with you when you travel.”
– Sybille Klenzendorf, Managing Director, Species Conservation
“Don’t encourage local people to keep wild animals as pets by paying to have your picture taken with them. This may actually provide incentive for them to hunt endangered species in order to obtain pets to display for tourists.”
– Meg Symington, Managing Director, Amazon
“Choosing a fuel efficient aircraft such as the Boeing 777 or Airbus 345 is one of the ways to reduce your carbon footprint on your next trip. Soon, the Boeing 787 aircraft will be the best option since its fuel consumption will be 27 percent less than other similarly sized aircraft.”
– Jim Sano, Vice President, Travel, Tourism & Conservation
“I love to travel using my own power or non-polluting power sources (like wind). That has led my husband and me to go kayaking, biking, hiking, backpacking and sailing around the world. I can get away from the hustle and bustle of city life and visit amazingly remote and peaceful places.”
– Wendy Goyert, Senior Program Officer, Oceans
“Eat local. Find a farmer’s market or street stall and eat what the locals eat. You’ll get to know the culture, and more than likely the food will be locally grown and sourced. And you get to support local communities and their needs–in this case, paying the vendor directly instead of paying up a chain of command.”
– Alex MacLennan, Editorial Director
“I try to do business only with people engaged in tourism in responsible ways. Sure, I may pay a little more for lodging and other services, but I feel good knowing that my patronage may be directly helping local people and protecting their immediate surroundings.”
– Lee Poston, Communications Director, Greater Mekong Program
“If you bring a trash bag with you, you may get a chance to do at least a partial cleanup of a beach or two.”
– John Morrison, Director, Strategies & Measures
“Remember to treat the local people with as much respect as you would the wildlife. You have much to learn from them, and they are often the key to saving those animals and habitats you care so much about.”
– Jay Sherman, Lead Specialist, Freshwater Program
“When you encounter animals in the wild, blend into their world. Don’t feed them, don’t taunt them, and most importantly don’t try to take them home with you. If you come across people selling wildlife or wildlife products, be aware that those ‘souvenirs’ could very well be endangered species that have been poached from the wild and are being sold illegally.”
– Will Gartshore, Senior Policy Officer, U.S. Government Relations
WWF Deputy Director, Marketing & Communications Elissa Leibowitz Poma compiled these conservation travel tips on behalf of the WWF Travel Program.