Ways of Being an Ethical Traveler

Ways of Being an Ethical Traveler

Being an ethical traveler means to lessen your negative impact on issues such as human rights, animal cruelty, the environment, etc., whilst still enjoying a life of travel.

This post discusses some of the areas of travel and things you can do in order to be more ethical in those areas whilst still considering things such as being healthy and not running out of money.

As it turns out, doing the ethical thing usually works out to be cheaper and healthier.

To research ethical companies I used EthicalConsumer.org.

Lot’s of these things apply when not traveling also.

Being an Ethical Traveler


Eat Local Food

This will give money to the local community instead of the corporations. It includes buying your fresh fruit and vegetables from the markets instead of chain supermarkets.

Be a Vegetarian
  • Being a vegetarian is healthier, cheaper, and good for not killing animals or raising them in horribly cruel conditions.
  • Vegan is even better, but very challenging depending on what country you’re in.
Don’t Eat Fast Food

All fast food is terrible on all levels. It is extremely unhealthy, the chains are run by big corporations (which basically destroy the world), and is (depending on where you are) more expensive to consume.

If you must get your fast food fix then I did a little research for you comparing McDonalds, Burger King, KFC, and Subway. They seem to be the major chains which I see in most places in the world.

McDonald’s is the best in terms of animal cruelty. Then it’s Subway, KFC, Dominoes, and finally Burger King who seems to not care at all.

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If you take into account all other issues then the list is Dominoes, Subway, Burger King, KFC, Mcdonalds.

None of them use organic ingredients.

If you’re in the UK then Gregs is the best.

Personally, if I’m going eat take-away then I pick Subway. It rates second on both lists and is healthier. My next choice would be either McDonalds or Dominoes.

Before doing this research my favorite was Subway so no change there. My second favorite was Burger King but now I’ll never eat there.


This has mostly to do with which banks you use.

  • Research ethical banks in your area and switch to them.
  • Use an on-line only bank and/or switch to paperless statements.
  • Only invest your money in ethical corporations. This includes your superannuation/pension fund/401K, or whatever you call it in your country.

One compromise I make is to have my everyday banking with Citibank, which is one of the worst corporations in the world. Unfortunately, they are the only bank in Australia which won’t charge me fees when withdrawing cash overseas, which saves me A LOT. To try to offset it I keep my savings in a more ethical bank and only use my Citibank account for everyday transactions. I know its not ideal. When I can afford it I will swap.


  • Planes are the worst. Massive pollution and owned by big corporations. Only take them if you have to.
  • Public transport is better for the environment than catching a taxi.
  • Riding or walking is best for the environment, is healthy activity, and you will see more.
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  • Don’t buy any conflict items, e.g., diamonds.
  • Buy souvenirs from the locals.
  • Don’t bargain too hard with the locals. It’s like Arrested Development says in their song “Mr Wendal” – “Two dollars means a snack for us but it means a great deal for you.”

What ways do you have on being an ethical traveler? Share your thoughts in the comments 😀 .

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Comments ( 13 )
  1. Justin
    November 6, 2016 at 07:08

    Interesting article. Unfortunately, many crops around the world, for example bananas, are almost completely run by corporations and grown on mega farms. I think, sadly, avoiding mega corporations is nearly impossible. This brings to mind Banana Republics, where mega farm corporations had/have enormous power in the countries, with several examples in Central and South America. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banana_republic
    I never knew about the rankings of fast food chains with regards to animal cruelty. I was wondering, what are your sources for that? In any case, I find it interesting McDonald’s is at the top. Also, I was wondering about your thoughts on eating in places where it is nearly impossible to avoid eating meat without exclusively cooking your own food. I am talking of countries like Korea where many of the Kimchis have miniature fish in it, so small it is super hard to see, or countries like China where restaurants often sprinkle in pork even if you ask for vegetarian food.

    • Bert Luxing
      November 6, 2016 at 17:42

      Hi Justin,

      You make some excellent points which I have also pondered about.

      Just like you are able to choose free range eggs, you could also opt to only eat fruits and vegetables from sources you know are “moral”. Of course, like avoiding meat in China, this is near impossible in many places. I guess the main thing is to just do your best depending on the situation you are in.

      I was surprised at McDonald’s also. Ronald is still a murderer, but I guess he’s the lesser of evils 🙂 . My source for this information, and most of the information in this article, was EthicalConsumer.org

      Thanks for your comment.

  2. Linda
    September 1, 2017 at 17:08

    Great article, I’ve practised about 4 ethics in your list. I think I qualify to be called an ethical traveller!

    • Bert Luxing
      September 1, 2017 at 17:34

      Haha.. that’s great! I think you do too 🙂

  3. Yoga Teacher Training Thailand
    September 1, 2017 at 19:08

    THIS IS A MUst read article for all the travelers. It helps us to understand the importance of discipline while travelling

  4. allseasonasia
    September 1, 2017 at 20:43

    You have pointed out the factors to be a budget traveler in a realistic way. Appreciate your narration.

  5. Ambuj Saxena
    September 1, 2017 at 21:11

    Thank you for a blog on being an ethical traveler. with so many climatic changes taking place and with all the glaciers receding due to irresponsible tourism activities, It is a much needed post. I aggregate bed and breakfast rooms in India and they cost less to the traveler and consume lesser resources than a standard hotel!

    • Bert Luxing
      September 2, 2017 at 15:42

      I find B&B are much more of a friendly atmosphere to, and you get a better feel for the local culture. Thanks for your comment 🙂 .

  6. Tracy
    September 2, 2017 at 00:00


  7. One and Half backpacks
    September 2, 2017 at 11:15

    I so agree with your tip about – do not eat in fast food, I think travelers should always look for local choice to support locals, farmers and producers. great tips 🙂

    • Bert Luxing
      September 2, 2017 at 15:39

      Not to mention that it is way better for your health :). Thanks for your comment.

  8. Paula
    September 2, 2017 at 11:19

    Great post! I also believe we can do our part while travelIng, investing in eco friendly hotels and hostels, minimizing your footprint by traveling slower and helping the local comunities. Thanks for sharing. Loved this post!

    • Bert Luxing
      September 2, 2017 at 15:41

      I’m glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for your comment.

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