Are We There Yet? Travelling More Responsibly With Your Children
By Rachel Dodds & Richard Butler
“Responsible Travel is the type of travel in which you consider the environment and the people who live in the place you are going to visit, including people in places you pass through on your way there and back, and make choices that reduce your harmful impacts and increase your positive impacts”
Why Does Responsible Travel Matter?
Travel is a privilege, but many people see the need to gain organic experiences from foreign places. According to the World Tourism Organization, tourism is one of the largest and fastest-growing sectors globally.
As per Our World in Data, from 1950 to 2022, the world population increased from 2.5 billion to 8.0 billion, or 220%. On the other hand, annual international tourist numbers rose from 25 million in 1950 to 1.4 billion in 2018. That is a 5500% growth rate.
Undoubtedly with these drastic growing numbers, family travel is on the rise. It helps your little explorer to develop a global mindset and improve their understanding of cultural differences. Research has confirmed that tourism can stress the local land, pollutes the environment, and endangers species. We have to increase our efforts and take conscious actions to make our travel a meaningful impact.
There is also no doubt that human behaviors are influencing climate change. According to the IPCC, we are experiencing the hottest decade in 125,000 years, CO2 is at its highest levels, and the world’s ice is melting faster than ever. Climate change is now threatening every aspect of the ecosystem, human and animal life. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, tourism is responsible for approximately 5% of the global emissions and 22% of all transport emissions. It is also an energy-intensive industry.
Begin making your family trip a meaningful journey by making conscious choices to protect the local community and nature and lessen the negative impact on the environment. Being a responsible traveler is about behavior and how we interact with the destination. It is essential that parents lead by example and involve children to make the world a better place.
In the article why responsible travel matters, Dr. Rachel Dodds explained why being a responsible traveler is more important now than ever. The book “Are We There Yet? Travelling more responsibly with your children” written by Rachel Dodds and Richard Butler details every aspect of responsible travel and how to travel with children of all ages sustainably including:
- Who is the responsible traveler?
- How to be a responsible traveler?
- Why do you need to be a responsible traveler?
- Which choices can you make or substitute?
- To whom are we benefiting by making a positive social impact?
Life is often busy and stressful as a parent. Traveling is a way of spending quality time with our children. This 5-star Goodread book has educated me and encouraged me to step outside the box, looking for creative ideas of how to show the world to my little explorer – the right way.
About “Are we there yet? Travelling More Responsibly With Your Children
“Are We There Yet” raises awareness of responsible travel choices. In general, the book provides knowledge of how to take action to become a sustainable traveler. The book also gives several valuable tools, tips, and sources on how to travel sustainably with children.
One of my favorite parts of this book is that it puts parents’ minds at ease by sharing many relatable stories throughout the chapters. As if telling the readers, “We’ve all been there. It’s normal! Don’t let the fear of stressful travel keep you and your children from exploring the world.”
Chapter 3 talks about traveling as a new parent. Some new parents are so afraid to go on a trip with their children and decide not to travel until their kid gets older. This chapter gives a new perspective – instead of stressing about the first trip with your little one, you can see it from a different angle, such as meeting your parent community. The people who have empathy toward children will reach out their hands to help because they understand how you feel so you know you are not alone!
Several stories mentioned in “Are We There Yet?” tell us that traveling with kids is not a problem and sometimes even an advantage. This made me realise that it is so true! For example, from my personal experience, I’ve always been allowed to pass through the airport’s custom fast lane whenever kids are with me. It actually saves me more time than waiting in line.
One of the most important notes I have taken from “Are We There Yet?” is that parents will also make mistakes during a trip, and I have always felt so stressed out when this happens. This book affirms that embracing uncertainty is part of the journey. Children feel empathy for us when we admit our mistakes. We can discuss feelings, take ownership and move on. These are indeed a much bigger life lesson than “traveling” itself.
Traveling with children is a process of trying new things and building resilience together as a family!
Chapter 5 of the book covers the possible impacts of your holiday choices and how you can reduce your impact on the places you visit. It offers a list of the pros and cons of choosing your vacation sustainably and explains how your choices can impact the world. The guideline can range from commute choices and accommodation selections to how to behave locally. All these little acts can make positive impacts significantly if we all pay attention to them. Chapter 6 & 7 gives you a wide range of sources on how to book your trip sustainability. They even mention travel apps that can help you plan better.
- Do you know traveling midweek over weekends can avoid overtourism and heavy traffic?
- How to use the CO2 chart comparison in case you need to fly?
- The importance of renting a hybrid or electric car and avoiding SUVs?
No matter what activities we do or the destination we choose to visit, there is always something that we can do to make the process more responsible. By making these conscious choices, we are benefiting everyone, not just our children!
Responsible Travel Tips With Children
“Are We There Yet?” also provides several family travel tips for children aged from babies to teenagers. A detailed list of how to pack for purpose, games, and toys recommendation to make the trip more fun for everyone in the family, not just for the children! Last but not least, how do we continue our learning lesson after we get home from the trip? Adapting positive behavior and removing the negative ones after reflections.
This book is a “one-stop-shop” guideline for responsible travelers. It helps you to plan things in advance, which allows you to eliminate some of the potential problems, and also pinpoint several options to make sure the trip is environmentally and socially responsible.