What is Meaningful Travel?
For us, Meaningful Travel means having unique experiences that bring you closer to the country you’re visiting, coming face to face with new cultures and meeting entirely new people with a completely different view of the world. It’s all about immersing yourself in local communities while at the same time preserving and supporting those communities. We believe that travel can be of huge social and environmental benefit and we aim not only to minimise the harm that tourism can do, but to go one step further and maximise the benefit. We strive to help preserve and support world communities of every description, to ensure our trips are sustainable and responsible as well as authentic – and of course, fun! Below you can find out how we aim to make our travel experiences meaningful for you and the local community.
Our Make it Meaningful policy is all about making the world a more meaningful place for everybody. Whether it’s a local guide in Cambodia, our Accounts Assistant here in our sunny Brighton office, or one of our ramblers heading out on their first adventure, we aim to make everyone’s lives that little bit more meaningful.
In each of our destinations we support a local project. These range from wildlife charities to NGOs supporting children in need. We’re really passionate about giving something back to the destinations and communities that we work with. That’s why £5 of the value of every booking will always be contributed to our local project in that destination. Oh and we also like to do the odd bit of fundraising ourselves. In the past we’ve done cake sales, wear your onesie to work day and a smiling competition. Check out the list of all our projects here.
Travelife and Rickshaw Travel
You might notice this Travelife Partner logo dotted around our website, but what does it mean? Travelife is a training, management and certification initiative for tourism companies committed to sustainability. A big focus for Rickshaw Travel in 2014 was working towards achieving the Travelife Better Places Partner criteria. There were many areas of the business to look at, from how we run our office to ensuring our local partners in our destinations are on board with responsible tourism practices. We’re proud to say that we achieved our Travelife Better Places Partner criteria in December 2014 and are continuing to make plans to become even more sustainable. Our local partners in Thailand and Brazil have also achieved the accreditation, and we hope this sets the trend for the future!
While long haul travel is, by its very nature, not particularly eco-friendly, we try very hard to minimise our effect on the environment. Travel may not be the best way to preserve our planet, but it certainly makes for a more tolerant, understanding and open-minded global community, which is why it’s so important that your travel experiences are meaningful. If you’re looking to offset the carbon from your international flights, we recommend Pure Leapfrog. They’re a UK based charity who provide low cost finance to UK community energy projects and support international carbon reduction projects.
Ethical animal experiences
We believe that seeing wildlife is an important part of experiencing a destination. That’s why support a number of projects and offer a whole range of animal trips that allow you to observe or interact with creatures, great and small. We know how important animal welfare is to ensure that animals stay happy and safe and we want to make sure we’re doing our bit. Developing our animal welfare policy marks the beginning of our own journey in striving for ethical animal experiences in the tourism industry.
Our bite-sized trips
We offer a wide range of bite-sized trips in each of our destinations all of which encompass our meaningful travel ethos in some way. It could be that you stay in an eco-friendly resort that supports the local environment, journey out into the countryside to help a local farmer, travel by public bus alongside the local people or visit a community based tourism project. Each destination has its own meaningful travel page where we’ve picked out a couple of suggested bite-sized trips to get you started on your meaningful journey.
In the office
Our environmental measures begin on our own doorstep. At home in Brighton, we run a virtually paper-free office and are dedicated recyclers. We believe in putting people first, and provide lots of benefits to staff members to enhance their work and personal life, such as participating in the ride to work scheme, and providing discounts for local fitness centres and holistic therapies, and best of all a healthy free lunch – every working day!
It might be hard to believe that tourism can be a force for good, but here's a brief history of Batang Ai & Nanga Sumpa Rainforest Lodge showing it's possible.