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Touring the UK: 4 Ways To Travel Responsibly

Touring the UK: 4 Ways To Travel Responsibly

It all began, like things often do, with a late night conversation.  It was after 9:00 p.m., which is our self-imposed “cutoff time” for making any kind of major decision, and my husband and I were throwing around travel ideas.  When, suddenly, we landed upon the idea of going to the UK for the first two weeks of November. 

Wait! The UK in November?!  Isn’t it usually cold or rainy or both?  Maybe we’d just suit up and take brisk walks along the coasts?  Return to our cozy rentals, sit in front of the fire and drink whisky? That could definitely work. But, we wanted to make it even more of an adventure.  So, we bought tickets for professional, international rugby matches in Cardiff, Wales and in Edinburgh, Scotland, and we built a trip around those dates and destinations.     

It ended up being just what we were after!  We surfed, fly-fished, toured castles, watched rugby and sampled all of the local delights.  Along the way, we made a number of conscious decisions to travel responsibly. Here are some of these highlights and how-tos:

1. CONNECT with local knowledge. On our way west from Cardiff, we spontaneously stopped off in Porthcawl to view the surf.  We ended up at Coney Surf there, where we drank coffee, talked shop and eventually rented suits and boards.  We had a great time, soaking up the atmosphere and a lot of water from the Bristol Channel 🙂

2. CHOOSE your activity based on where you are staying. We stayed in an Airbnb in Pembrokeshire, Wales, and surfed along the coast in nearby Manobier with the Outer Reef Surf School, rather than drive another hour plus to a more well-known surf spot.  As it turned out, Manobier had great surfing, a glorious castle and delicious pub food!

3. KEEP things regional.  We were keen to visit St. Andrews and its famed golf courses, to see the coast of Fife and to experience a distillery. So, we stayed in the fishing town of Anstruther and drove the coast north.  Along the way, we stopped off at the Kingsbarns Distillery, which sources its water from an aquifer 100m below its location and barley from fields nearby.  Everything was within a 30 minute drive from our place!

4. SEE a city entirely on foot. We chose to stay at the lovely Dunstane Houses as they were a 10 minute walk from the Murrayfield Rugby Stadium in Edinburgh. We toured other parts of Edinburgh by walking, as well. It provided a brisk form of exercise and a unique way to truly see the city.

How have you responsibly traveled?  Share your experiences in the comments below! 

What is Sustainable Travel? 4 Key Ideas to Get You Going

What is Sustainable Travel? 4 Key Ideas to Get You Going

Every one of us has a story to tell about where we live. It could be a story about our relationship to the landscape that we call home. It might also be a story about the community that nurtures our sense of belonging in a vast world.

Here’s my story: I live in the mountains close to two major national parks and surrounded by numerous national forests. I have lived within this ecosystem for decades, and undoubtedly, it has shaped my general outlook and my commitment to living sustainably. 

My home region is a global travel destination and there has been a notable uptick in visitors to this area, especially since the pandemic unfolded in 2020.  Tourism brings dollars to my hometown and to other neighboring towns, certainly.  Yet, as more people continue to flock to this corner of the world, I’ve wanted to know: Is this sustainable?

Turns out, there are a few essential phrases that first must be understood before grappling with this question. Here are four key sustainable travel ideas to get you oriented:

Sustainable Tourism 

“Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities.” – UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) 

Key Players? The tourism industry – The term refers to sustainable practices in and by the industry and encompasses all those who provide services to you, the traveler.


“Sustainable tourism with a natural area focus, which benefits the environment and communities visited, and fosters environmental and cultural understanding, appreciation, and awareness.” – Mohonk Agreement (2020)

Key Players? You, the traveler, and the tourism industry – It involves responsible travel to natural areas and educates all parties involved about conserving the environment and caring for local communities. 

Responsible Travel 

“Responsible travel is a term used when referring to the behavior of individual travelers aspiring to make choices on their trip according to sustainable tourism practices.” 

– Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC)

Key Players? You, the traveler – It asks you to become more socially, economically and environmentally aware when you travel and to ensure your impact is a positive one.

Regenerative Travel

“When tourism adds value to a destination, by enhancing the quality of life of residents and the health of the ecosystem, it can be considered regenerative.” 

– Future of Tourism Coalition

Key Players? You, the traveler, and the tourism industry – It asks all parties to give more to the planet and their local communities, and it challenges everyone to leave their destinations better by treading lightly and spending with intention. 

Which of these concepts seems most appealing to you?  Let us know in the comments below!