How I Made Animal-Conscious Decisions on My Vacation
Animals deserve to live a happy, healthy life no matter where you travel.
Hi! My name is Jessica Salazar and I am a World Animal Protection influencer. Traveling has always been a passion of mine. Experiencing new cultures, foods, and places has brought me much joy and knowledge. However, with travel comes the great responsibility of traveling consciously. Paying close attention to where I eat, visit, and the activities I partake in all contribute to planning an animal-conscious trip.
I recently traveled to Iceland--it was an exciting, nervous, joyful, and long-overdue expedition. Staying true to my plant-based lifestyle, with some planning and research ahead of time, I aimed to make animal-conscious choices on my trip. Here are a few tips to simplify your travel planning to show you how incredible any trip can be as a conscious traveler.
Research Ahead of Time
It’s easiest to visit another country or new location knowing your options. Researching your choices in advance will save you time, energy, and the possibility of making impulsive decisions that may harm the planet or animals.
For my trip, I created a document that contained all of my information and possible activity options. I looked up plant-based restaurants, local activities, what I can walk to rather than drive, and ethical animal activities.
Thanks to my document of conscious options, there was no second-guessing once I arrived. I then had the freedom to be spontaneous and choose plant-based and conscious alternatives that I already knew were safe.
Plan Your Meals
Needless to say, one of my favorite parts of the trip was the food. In addition to visiting several delicious, vegan-friendly restaurants, I was able to locate a plant-based grocery store where I purchased plenty of staple items to cook later, guaranteeing that I had meals on the go for early mornings or late nights.
Additionally, I love bringing my reusable cups and dining utensils while traveling. It cuts down on single-use plastics and unnecessary waste.
Stay Local, Support Local
I love staying in local, unique Airbnbs when I travel. World Animal Protection partnered with Airbnb to show that sustainable tourism that prioritizes animal welfare can be possible. Working with World Animal Protection, Airbnb created its first-ever Animal Welfare Policy to ensure animal safety at the venues hosted on its platform--including its Experiences, which are activities hosted by locals that can be booked during your trip.
Additionally, when I want to bring home souvenirs or gifts, I support local artists and creators. Living like a local on your trip supports local creatives, small businesses, and their families, and can ensure local communities continue to thrive.
Support Ethical Animal Activities
Unfortunately, it can be easy to partake in activities that exploit animals while traveling. Researching the places you visit and support is a must when deciding to incorporate animal-related activities into your trip. On my trip, some natural animal encounters occurred, like seeing horses on my long drives and a seal popping up at the sea surface as I gazed at glaciers. A dream of mine was to see whales in their natural habitat without harming them in any way. With some research and help from World Animal Protection, I learned how to seek out wildlife ethically, and from a safe distance. Additionally, the Wildlife Selfie Code taught me the appropriate way to take selfies with any wild animals that I saw on my trip.
Embrace Yourself in a New Place
Not everything will go perfectly as planned, but that’s the beauty of traveling. You can control some factors while others may be beyond your reach. Focus on the ways in which you can be conscious and aware of the choices you can make.
Animals deserve to live a happy, healthy life no matter where you travel. We must not exploit them for our entertainment and pleasure. Support World Animal Protection’s mission by following these tips, and learn more about the Wildlife. Not Entertainers campaign.
Happy animal-conscious traveling!