Randi and Michael are two friends from New York city who decided to embark on a multi-year journey throughout Central America, Europe, and Asia in 2014. Now, they live out of their backpacks and travel full time. Randi and Michael believe in responsible travel and are dedicated to promoting organizations and efforts around the globe committed to offering back and making a difference in their local communities the Jupital interviewed Randi and Michael on what it means to be a responsible tourist when travelling around the world.
the Jupital: What does sustainable travel mean to you?
Randi and Michael: To us, sustainable travel means travelling with a certain awareness resulting in minimizing the footprint on a location and maximizing the positive impact. Our goal is to make decisions resulting in positive economic, social, and environmental impact on the places we visit around the world.
the Jupital: How may tourists show responsibility when travelling to foreign destinations?
Randi and Michael: First, we keep in mind we are guests wherever we travel. We remember our manners and aim to understand and abide by cultural sensitivities and local customs. We also try to minimize our environmental footprint by staying in eco-friendly accommodations when possible, and by using reusable shopping bags, carrying our own water bottles instead of buying bottled water, and using eco-friendly transportation options. We also aim to contribute to the local economy by seeking out locally owned businesses, therefore making a positive impact on the local community.
the Jupital: What eco-friendly type of accommodation would you recommend?
Randi and Michael: We enjoy hostels; they help us stick to the budget and facilitate meeting other travellers. When we find an eco-friendly hostel, like Mosaic House in Prague for example, we choose to stay in it.
the Jupital: What sustainable ways of transportation do you use?
Randi and Michael: We use public transportation when possible because it is more environmentally friendly, more affordable compared to taxis, and a better way to get a local experience. Since we are both from New York City and used to walking, we walk when possible. Bikes are another eco-friendly option and some locations have convenient city bike programs. When we are travelling long distances we opt for buses or trains, if available.
the Jupital: What is the most eco-friendly country or city you have visited?
Randi and Michael: We were in Ljubljana, Slovenia a few weeks ago. Ljubljana was named the Green Capital of Europe 2016 . The city has made considerable efforts to be eco-friendly. The city has an efficient city bike program, the drinking water is clean and from natural sources, the city center is reserved mostly for pedestrians and cyclists, and there is 542 square meters of green space per resident. The city has also planted over 2,000 trees, built five new parks, and made a concentrated effort to renew the areas around the River Sava, which runs through the city center.
the Jupital: How may tourists support the local communities they visit?
Randi and Michael: A few ways to support local communities are to seek out local businesses, opt for a locally owned bed and breakfast or hostel versus a resort, shop at farmers markets instead of major supermarkets, and eat at locally owned restaurants instead of chains.
the Jupital: Where are you heading next?
Randi and Michael: We are currently travelling around the Balkans. We are in Croatia at the moment and preparing to visit Montenegro and Greece next.
the Jupital: Any additional information you may like to share?
Randi and Michael: Sustainable travel may take additional effort however if we want to preserve travel destinations for our fellow travellers, children, and the locals, this effort may be rewarding in the long run.
To learn more about Randi and Michael and their adventures around the world, you may access:
How may travellers benefit local communities while engaging in meaningful activities?