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Post-Graduate Travel

How to travel smartly, safely, ethically, and independently after college.

Planning Resources

There are many, many resources out in the world that will help in the planning of a trip.

Standards are usually considered to be physical travel books and guides, such as those from Lonely Planet, Fodor's, and Rick Steves, all of which have accompanying sites. There are also recommendation-based sites, such as TripAdvisor, and sites for off-the-beaten-path ideas, such as Atlas Obscura. There are also dozens and dozens of personal travel blogs on the internet, which are easily found by doing a Google search, if you are interested in a more personal touch in recommendations.

There are also resources that will go a step beyond recommendations; these will provide various amounts of help in the actual planning. These include Google's My Maps, the TripIt smartphone app, and the comprehensive Roadtrippers website and app. We've provided a brief introduction on how to use Roadtrippers's desktop trip planning tool below.

Traveling Ethically

Leisure travel is a hard nut to crack when it comes to understanding how a visit to a place, even just for fun, can still impact that destination. Let's break it down to see what a traveler should be aware of when deciding how to explore a new destination.

  1. There is an inherent bias in Western travel guides. The travel industry itself is built on the idea that a traveler can go to a place unfamiliar to them and experience a sanitized, almost zoo-like version of that place; seeing all of the good stuff and none of the bad, exactly what travel guides typically focus on. This concept, and therefore tourism, is rooted in Western colonialism. For more information on how travel and neocolonialism are interlinked, read this helpful primer, and then this essay on the colonial origins of safari tourism.
    1. Many travel guides, particularly those that are professionally published, are starting to actively address and correct for these biases. This journal article looks at how controversy around Lonely Planet's guidebook for Burma can show a way forward to more aware and mindful guides.
    2. In addition, be aware that many travel bloggers come from a similar demographic as one another, and their biases may be more subtle in their recommendations.
  2. Because of those biases in the recommendations travelers are following, this often means that certain destinations, and certain visitation sites within those destinations, will be disproportionately overwhelmed by tourists. This can have many different effects on a region, particularly economically and environmentally.
    1.  While an economic influx can certainly benefit a place, especially when visitors shop local businesses, overtourism is a real danger and can give a small economy whiplash, as well as leave local culture and voices out of the tourism conversation. In addition, a lot of big-ticket destinations revolve around beautiful natural formations, or require travelers to traverse nature to see a destination. This Outside article calls attention to the economic, cultural, and environmental damage often caused due to overtourism, and offers suggestions for alternative destinations.

 

There are ways to be an ethical tourist while still having a fun and relaxed vacation, even in places that are popular among travelers. Do research before traveling to your destination and check out these suggestions on ethical traveling from the Washington Post.