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Be a responsible backpacker

Written by Zoë Faulkner on 25 / 02 / 2020

Gap Year Advice

Travelling with a conscience

Our society as a whole is becoming increasingly aware of the impacts, causes and effects of climate change. But sadly, most of us rely on others rather than changing our own actions. Simply put, we all have to play an active part to save the planet.

So how does the leap encourage sustainable travelling?

Here at the leap, we aim to combine both the fun factor and promote our backpackers to make a positive difference. Our programs shift backpackers away from hostel hopping towards getting their hands dirty and experiencing 'off the beaten track'. We know that our formula works, as sustainable travel saves the planet and gives you that 'feel-good factor' of doing good and feeling good.

Our leap team-based conservation programs are designed for people who want to go somewhere and use their energy and time towards helping the community and their environment rather than hindering it.

The larger the team, the more significant the impact we can have to have a lasting effect on the environment. It is essential to recognise that you can travel with a conscience and make responsible choices while seeing the world. After all, it's only fair to leave a destination better than when you found it.

So what can I do?

There are four main types of conservation that we center our programs around to help channel your efforts to make the most impact.

Environmental Conservation

Environmental conservation is all about using the environment in a way that is sustainable for future generations. Whether than be removing invasive species in the Galapagos, cleaning the beaches of plastic in Costa Rica or creating a new national park in Namibia, there are plenty of ways to make a difference.

Animal Conservation

Animal conservation is about focusing on protecting endangered species and their habitats, something that is an essential part of what our Leapers do. Come and help us protect turtles in Costa Rica, and if you're lucky depending on the time of year, you can release them into the ocean. Or if you fancy swapping the sea for the heat of Cambodia, you can volunteer and help rehabilitate elephants and their habitat at the sanctuary.

Marine Conservation

As obvious as it sounds, marine conservation is about conserving the marine life, reef and eco-systems in the ocean—a part of conservation that sometimes gets overlooked but plays a vital role in having a healthy planet. Our Madagascar or South Africa program is targeted at getting you PADI scuba qualified and out into the ocean to help identify coral, fish and work alongside the conservationists out there.

Human Conservation

Often overlooked, this is a crucial area of conservation and sustainability. By working alongside local communities, you can help learn their traditions and about their heritage to ensure it doesn't die out. Another area of human intervention can be teaching and education. If we can work alongside the local communities such as in Costa Rica, we can help spread the message about plastic pollution and why it is so important to recycle and try and reduce the amount of single-use plastic. In Cambodia you can help teach lessons, why not teach an environmental class and get the children interested from a young age?

So there you have it, four key types of conservation that you can actively get involved in. The gap year market is shifting, long gone are the days where you hostel hop around Thailand and buy questionable floaty trousers (though they are remarkably comfy!). Now more than ever, the gap year is all about doing something worthwhile that creates a positive impact on the planet. By travelling as a team, you can achieve so much more than on your own while having guaranteed camaraderie and laughs. There is nothing better.

Drop me an email zoe@theleap.co.uk and see how you can become a responsible backpacker.

Want to volunteer in conservation?

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