13 Feb 2020
Kit Williams by Kit Williams

Well, 2020 has started with not just one bang, but several; the bush fires in Australia continue, though eased to a degree by recent rain, the UK has entered the transition period for departure from the EU, there is significant disturbance around leadership of the Glasgow Climate Change Conference later this year and so on and so forth.

Looking beyond all that turbulence, though still taking it into account, a recent conversation made me reflect on my desire to see as much of that world as I can.

travel in 2020 - young explorers

Image credits: Ørjan Bertelsen / Hurtigruten

The Desire to See Unfamiliar Places

Not long ago I met up with an old friend and the conversation inevitably came round to travel. I love to explore corners of the world that are different from my normal environment, culturally and scenically and at one time so did she, so I was a little taken aback by her question “Why would I want to travel when I love being at home and am completely happy in my own little bubble.”

This was not an ethical position, purely an absence of desire to see unfamiliar places.

Why We Should Travel in 2020

I could come up with a host of reasons why the world needs us to travel, especially at a time when we seem to be becoming more insular, less tolerant, more fearful and suspicious of what we don’t know or understand. Without seeing for ourselves, how do we know whether what we are told is true and how do we have and develop in our children a broad enough understanding to interpret, rather than judge, the many other cultures and countries in our world?

However, whether we should travel for leisure has become a very controversial topic in the light of such serious considerations as over-tourism, Climate Change, the plastic epidemic and other man-made threats to so much of our natural world and the future of our planet.

beach cleaning at Kap Bruun

Image credits: Stefan Dall / Hurtigruten

Responsible Travel in 2020

I believe we should keep travelling if we wish to be world citizens and there are plenty of responsible ways of doing so. By the choices we make regarding how we travel and what we do when we get there we can have a positive or negative impact on those destinations.

If you choose to fly, then check which are the best/worst airlines for emissions and/or carbon offsetting. After 2020 the EU is insisting airlines contribute to Carbon Offsetting for all flights.

travelers cleaning a beach

Image credits: Genna Roland / Hurtigruten

Environmentally Friendly Cruising

If you can, switch to train or ship. Cruise lines come in for a lot of stick about their environmental impact. Pick one which has a positive impact and sail on new environmentally friendly ships. Pick the operators who have already banned single use plastics, make a contribution to the destinations and work with the local authorities to manage or reverse over-tourism. And don’t forget the communities around the world that depend on tourism for their economy.

So yes, I believe we definitely should travel in 2020. What matters is how we do it. The information is out there to help us all make responsible decisions.

Will You Travel This Year?

Get in touch with our specialists at Silver Compass if you are keen to keep travelling and want to do so responsibly, or just want to understand more.