Russia and the Baltics tour
Description of Russia and the Baltics tour
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As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we've screened this (and every) vacation so that you can travel knowing it will help support the places and people that you visit, and the planet. Read how below.
PlanetGoing on vacation is a lot of fun, however in order for it to stay fun for future generations we need to reduce the amount emissions we emit. Carbon emissions have doubled over the last 20 years which is the cause of 5% of all man-made global warming. If aviation was a country, it would be the 7th largest emitter of CO2 in the world. Furthermore, aircraft emit more than just CO2, the impact on climate change could be between two and four times greater than from CO2 alone. If nothing is done about this, aviation will contribute over a quarter of the world's total carbon output by 2050.
To reduce our carbon footprint while traveling we need to change what we eat and buy, where we choose to stay and how we travel from point A to B. Thatís why on this vacation you will travel to all destinations by train, accompanied by our Tour Leader. All tickets and necessary reservations will be booked for you. During the tour itself we use only public transport. All of this keeps emissions down During the entire vacation. Besides this, it allows you to get a more personal experience with of the countries you are traveling through, and meet the locals. Traveling by train is very relaxing too!
On average, our interrailing tours are 74% more environmentally friendly than flying! Traveling by rail is the greenest way to go, and Europeís network of trains are among the most extensive and environmentally friendly in the world. Almost all rail companies within Europe have electrified their lines, reducing the need for diesel powered trains, which contribute towards significant air pollution issues.
When traveling, we further help to protect the environment by encouraging all our customers to travel with a reusable bottle rather than buying bottles of water every day, reducing the use of single-use plastic. Every hostel and hotel we use has drinking tap water so why not pour yourself a bottle and leave it in the fridge overnight ready for the next day?
On this trip, Russia and Baltics, we visit multiple wildlife areas. One of these is the St. Petersburgís Summer Garden, home to marble statues acquired from Europe especially for Russia's new capital, and to rare flowers and plants. When visiting nature areas like this we ensure our customers are aware how to treat the area and all its inhabitants respectfully, for example; keeping minimum distances from any animals we might come across, not using flash photography, not littering, in order to keep the disturbances to nature at a minimum.
To minimise our own carbon footprint, we will never send out printed communications such as brochures or newsletters; we provide these digitally on the website, and are more than happy to email you a copy if you like. In the same way, all communication with customers and the trip information is sent through email. If customers still prefer to receive a physical copy of our travel pack, itís printed on recycled paper and in turn, are 100% recyclable themselves.
PeopleAs well as our responsibility to the environment, we also recognise our impact on local communities as part of the tourist industry. First and foremost, we are highly aware of the potential impact of mass tourism on local communities, which is why we always aim to encourage sustainable travel, whilst promoting travel as a means of building cultural understanding.
We do not oversell destinations which suffer from too much tourism. We have a certain number of hostel beds available and once these spaces are filled we stop offering the destination to ensure that we don't contribute to the issue of overtourism. We always endeavour to provide Ďless touristyí, locally owned destinations and suggestions for sightseeing in each city that you'll visit. For example on this trip, youíll visit the cities Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius, all three off the beaten track and not commonly travelled to. These cities are both lovely and unique in their own way. Going through lesser travelled to destinations like this supports local businesses which usually donít receive many visitors.
We have taken the time out to meet with and forge strong personal relationships with our partner hostels and hotels on this trip, in order to benefit both customers, as well as local businesses. Through them we recommend locally based tours, excursions and activities which provide income to local businesses.
We make sure customers are aware of the positive impact they can have on the destinations they are visiting, in particular the smaller businesses. Itís easy to overlook the positive economic stimulus you can have by frequenting local businesses such as shops and restaurants, which is why we make sure all our customers have knowledge of this. We encourage travelers to sample the local cuisine, stay away from global chains and speak to locals for the best recommendations. Some of these are also listed in the personalised travel pack all our customers receive. Not only does this result in a more authentic travel experience, traveling with us will empower you to support locally run businesses and give the opportunity to truly get to know local people.
On the Russia and Baltics tour we include numerous local activities, such as: visiting the House of the Blackheads, and going to numerous local restaurants like Dachniki in St. Petersburg and Berneliu Uzeiga in Riga.
We do not include trips to zoos in our packages, this is since keeping animals in zoos deprives them from their natural habitat. The animal is also deprived of its natural social structure and companionship. All in all, zoos are bad for animal welfare.
Lastly, we also encourage our customers to travel with an open, respectful attitude towards other travelers and local residents. We provide basic language essentials in each of our travel packs to help foster cultural immersion and encourage getting off the beaten track to gain a truly authentic experience of each city that you visit.
Back at the office, staff are encouraged to pursue charity projects and volunteering which contribute to the local community, we offer flexible hours to accommodate these projects. In the past year three of our staff have undertaken and continue to undertake regular volunteering, including; teaching English to refugees living in Leeds, providing mental health coaching and support to girls in a local primary school, and helping with rehabilitation projects in a local prison. In addition, staff are encouraged to participate in charity fundraising. In 2017 a team of staff members took part in Race for Life to raise money for Breast Cancer UK.