The Annual Responsible Travel Issue
Back Door Travel
Good Travel is Thoughtful Travel Rick Steves
International Career Advisor
Combine Travel and Career Preparation: Advice to Consider Before Going Abroad Jean-Marc Hachey
The Resourceful Traveler
Guidebook Smackdown! Tim Leffel
The Independent Traveler
Traveling to Muslim Countries Rob Sangster
Save the Pets: Volunteer Opportunities for Animal Lovers Abroad by Michele Peterson
Ethical Travel: What it Means and Where to Go Jeff Greenwald & Kiran Auerbach
Traveling Responsibly in West Africa Jason Motlagh
Fair-Trade Shopping in Cape Town Andrea Hodgins
Safari Adventure: Ghana Lauren Edwards
Rural Tourism in Morocco Nicole Perkins
Stay at a South Korean Temple Barbara Bunce Desmeules
An Elephant Escape: South India Deborah McLaren
Food for the Heart: Community-Based Tourism in Kyrgystan Konnie W. Andrews
Preserving Greece’s Samos Island Donia Lilly
Restore a French Village Linda Handiak
Visit the Kuna Indians of Panama Darren Fitzgerald
Trekking in Patagonia Volker Poelzl
Honey Island: A Brazilian Eco-Friendly Destination Dan Moore
Rafting to a Jungle Lodge: Costa Rica Katherine McIntyre
Nature Lovers Welcome: Discover the Biodiversity of Costa Rica at a Scientific Research Station Kip Wilson
Volunteer in Ecuador Vivienne Mackie
Volunteering at Casa Guatemala Kelsey Timmerman
Travel in The Sudan
Recent reports have confirmed a sharp deterioration in the security situation in western Sudan, and international discussions at the U.N. and the African Union have been focused on how to protect civilians from the worsening violence. The Sudan remains on the Department of State’s warning list, and clearly travel to such an instable region is risky. With this in mind, we nevertheless found Michael Nation’s desire to look at the “human, positive side of The Sudan” compelling.
Special Guide: Responsible Travel Resources
Planning your next responsible adventure takes commitment and education. With a little preparation and a lot of passion you can have a life-changing experience, and make a positive difference for your host community!
- Online Portals / Educational Centers
- Engage & Learn / Insiders’ Views
- Take Action
- Arranging Your Responsible Travel
- Books & Publications
Abroad at Home
Tutor & Learn: Working with Refugees Eric Hartman
Louis D’Amore: Travel for Peace Sherry Schwarz
Activist Responsible Traveler
Equal Exchange Amy Wisehart
A Volunteering Honeymoon Joshua Berman
Traveling Solo with Pre-Teens Dana Middleton
Travel to Eat
Sampling Traditional Meze Aileen Torrance
A Day in the Life of a Monk Mary Bergin
From The Editor
Can we make a positive difference by how we choose to travel? We certainly think so—and apparently so do many of the travelers who wrote for this year’s Responsible Travel issue. Their experiences, as well as the winners of various 2006 responsible travel awards, are inspiring examples of what is possible when we approach tourism more mindfully. What the majority share in common is a desire to ensure a positive, fair experience for all involved—travelers, hosts, and destinations alike.
Doing well by the Earth and its people is not just a good thing to do these days; it’s also a hip thing to do. In less than a year, we’ve seen the debut of Vice President Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth and Vanity Fair’s “Green Issue,” Newsweek’s “The New Greening of America” cover story, and “VolunTourism” articles in mainstream media.
There’s a lot of buzz…but what exactly is “responsible travel?” It can seem more than a bit confusing at times with all its lexicon and labels (e.g. sustainable travel, ethical travel, volunteer travel, eco-travel, pro-poor tourism, fair-trade tourism…). What it all comes down to, to put it simply, is what Transitions Abroad Founder Clay Hubbs said in an interview with Planeta.com several years ago: “The golden rule is more and more recognized as the first rule of travel.” If we treat our global neighbors as we would wish to be treated, we’ll be doing our best to respect and improve their lives and the places where they live—while having a life-enriching experience.
There are many encouraging signs afoot for the future of travel, such as Virgin Atlantic Chairman Sir Richard Branson’s recent call upon the global aviation industry to develop a shared solution to the growing issue of climate change. At Clinton’s Global Initiative Conference in September, he pledged to invest the next 10 years of profits from Virgin Atlantic into developing technologies that will reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. Carbon offsetting is an admirable new step toward greening the aviation industry, but if we can engineer an even greater sustainable solution for making air travel (and all forms of transportation) more environmentally friendly, we could say without reservation that travel makes a positive difference.
Travel has the potential to bring much-needed economic benefits to developing countries and to foster cross-cultural awareness, dialogue, and understanding—all of which make for the conditions of world peace (see my interview with International Institute for Peace Through Tourism Founder Louis D’Amore).
“It’s only through traveling, through meeting people, that we begin to understand that we’re all sharing this world and all coming along for the ride,” writes Lonely Planet Founder Tony Wheeler in Code Green.
Wherever you are in your journey, we applaud your efforts for keeping an open mind and considering what steps you can make toward improving the balance sheet of travel. When people “discover that they must be part of the solutions,” Wangari Maathai, the Kenyan activist and environmentalist said in accepting her Nobel Peace Prize, “they realize their hidden potential and are empowered to overcome inertia and take action.”
Transitions Abroad Magazine
Publisher and Editor
Founding Editor and Publisher
Dr. Clay A. Hubbs
Web Content Editor
Deborah McLaren (Responsible Travel )
Ron Mader (Ecotourism and Latin America)
William Nolting ( International Education and Work)
Susan Griffith (Work Abroad )
Jean-Marc Hachey (International Careers )
Volker Poelzl (Living Abroad)
Rick Steves (Budget Travel)
Rob Sangster (Independent Travel)
Tim Leffel (The Resourceful Traveler )
Zahara Heckscher (Volunteering Abroad)
Edward Trimnell (Language Immersion)
Karl Haigler and Rae Nelson (Gap Year)
Cynthia Harriman (Family Travel)
Bill Mohan (Teen Travel)
J. Mara DelliPriscoli (Lifelong Learning)
Michele Scheib (Disability Travel)
On The Cover
Two Malian boys with their prized animals smile for a passerby on the backstreets of Djenne, the oldest known settlement in sub-Saharan Africa. Photo by Jason Motlagh.
Jason Motlagh is a Washington, D.C.-based editor at United Press International. Before entering journalism, he worked as a commercial fisherman in Kodiak, Alaska. He has since reported from West and North Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and the Caribbean for various U.S. and European news media. He is currently at work on a project profiling Haitian slums.
Transitions Abroad is the only publication dedicated to work, study, living, and immersion travel abroad. Its purpose is the dissemination of practical information leading to a greater understanding of other cultures through direct participation in the daily life of the host community.