The Six New Rules of Travel – how to navigate the new world of (more expensive) vacations

As travel raged in 2022 after its pandemic hiatus, we jumped back with a vengeance to make up for lost time.

Airlines struggled to keep up with demand as a result of increased bookings, crowds returned to major tourist destinations and bad behavior reared its ugly head again.

It’s a good reminder to reflect on our impact as travelers for the year ahead.

Whether we realize it or not, where and how we travel leaves a mark on the planet and on other people, and it is our responsibility to leave those marks in a positive way.

To hold ourselves accountable, here are some new rules for traveling more responsibly — beyond basics like minimizing single-use plastic waste or boycotting unethical wildlife experiences.

1. Protect the most popular places by visiting them off-season

The Colosseum in Rome, Yellowstone National Park, Santorini in Greece and the Great Wall of China are spectacular – of course you want to see them in your lifetime. But doing so during their busiest phase can not only be miserable, it can also be detrimental to the places themselves. You can avoid increasing the immense stress of busy seasons in popular locations by visiting them off-season.

It’s a win-win scenario: you’re enjoying a place with fewer people — and at cheaper prices — while also contributing to business when tourism is slower.

If you can only travel at peak times (ie your child’s school holidays), you should consider comparable alternatives to tourist epicentres. Just as the Louvre, for example, has more to offer than just the Mona Lisa, there is more to discover on Italian beaches in summer than on the Amalfi Coast.

2. Don’t borrow money to travel

Being a responsible traveler is not always about how you treat others; It can also be how you treat yourself.

Protect your financial and spiritual well-being by spending responsibly on travel this year. It’s a particularly risky time to put travel on credit cards when you can’t afford to foot the bill, financial experts say.

Michelle Singletary, author and columnist on personal finance The Washington Postsays it does not want to take stock of the ongoing fight against inflation and the threat of further layoffs.

“The danger is that you fall behind and only make the minimum payment on a credit card,” says Singletary. “This debt will cost you something.”

Instead of putting off paying for a trip, create a travel budget to figure out how much you need to save now for this year’s trip—then save and spend accordingly.

If you’re traveling in a group, you should be clear about how much you’re willing to spend on the trip by setting expectations early on. Maybe someone wants to be your travel budget buddy, and you can blame each other for saving money for your upcoming adventure.


On board Austria’s Nightjet. Photo: ÖBB/Harald Eisenberger

3. Trade cars and planes for walks, bikes, trains and buses

Extreme weather affects our planet. It’s not reasonable to expect people to stop traveling altogether, but we can optimize the way we travel to leave a smaller carbon footprint.

Maybe you plan to travel closer to home (shorter distance = less fuel); try a camping or biking trip; or with a panoramic or sleeper train. Plan what you want to do on your trip and book accommodation that allows you to walk, bike or use public transport to most of your sights.

If flying to a destination, can you take public transport to and from the airport? Can you plan a trip to a place where you don’t need a car? The metro systems of Paris, New York City, Hong Kong and Toronto come to mind – and Tokyo, San Francisco, Istanbul, Washington and Lisbon are all within easy walking distance.

4. Spend your money at local businesses

The pandemic has been brutal for small businesses, particularly in the hospitality and travel sectors. Consider this your reminder to support the little guy: B&Bs, artists and artisans, neighborhood restaurants, independent tour guides and family-run cooking classes. Skip big chains that prevent you from supporting local businesses, or at least find ones that connect better with the community.


A collection of different currencies. PA Photo/iStock.

5. Carry cash to tip

Tipping is one of the best ways to show gratitude and support locals. But in an increasingly cashless world, most of us only use cards and smartphones to pay, making it more complicated or easier to tip buskers, housekeepers, tour guides or an unexpected helping hand.

Add a line to your pre-trip to-do list to visit a bank before you leave town, or set a reminder to use the ATM once you get there. In a pinch, there are also a handful of ways to tip digitally.

6. Rethink photographing travel

Most of us could switch off more while traveling. It has become our instinct to take photos and videos of everything we encounter on a journey – but what happens to these images?

Do you write them in a travel journal? Do you share them on social media? Will they never be looked at again?

Our compulsion to get as much travel content as possible can overshadow the actual journey.

You can still take travel photos, but think about how the process will impact your experience and what you’re photographing and why.

“You shouldn’t step into a situation that feels like you’re on a safari,” said Whitney Latorre, National Geographic’s vice president of visuals and immersive experiences.

She defines travel photography as “taking a picture” as opposed to “taking a picture”. This means learning about local cultures before you arrive and asking permission to snap a stranger’s photo before you do.

“Before you pick up your camera, get to know the people you’re photographing,” recommends Latorre. “Have a conversation.”

The result is often a more compelling travel photo and a more memorable experience.

©Washington Post The Six New Rules of Travel – how to navigate the new world of (more expensive) vacations

Fry Electronics Team

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