How We Travel
We at UBJ love what we do and where we go. We like to think we travel with a light foot. What do we mean by this? To us it means enjoying where we go, what we see and what we experience with as little impact as possible and, there’s a way to travel that encourages people to share their culture without changing it. We want the places we love to visit to be there if we come back and for future generations. We do not mean just the historical structures but also the culture, language and the inherited way of doing things. We do this by adhering to a few choices in the way we travel.
We travel in small groups, only 10 to 14. How does this help sustainability? It helps in several different ways. Since we are small, we can easily fit into small, boutique hotels and inns like renovated palaces and refurbished country estates. Not only are these delightful places to stay, it also encourages the preservation of local architecture. We can eat at small, quaint restaurants and cafes. We are able to visit small artisans’ workshops and fit nicely into chefs’ kitchens for hands on cooking classes or a small boutique winery for lunch and pairings. Our small groups easily fit into a large or small van.
Support Local Businesses
By patronizing locally owned businesses we encourage sustainability, businesses like restaurants, lodging, cooking schools, wineries, artisans’ workshops, local guides and other ground support functions. This encourages the native people to continue their way of doing things. Why? The money spent in the community stays in the community and is not sent to the headquarters of large chain hotels, restaurants and large incoming tour operators.
Eat What’s in Season
For instance, locally owned restaurants and cafes usually source fresh products locally, which in turn supports the farmers who grow the fruits and vegetables, make the wine and olive oil and the fishermen who provide fresh fish from local waters. It’s a win/win situation for travelers and locals alike. The produce is fresh and tasty for the travelers, the restaurant owner is happy for being able to serve the freshest, best tasting products possible at a lower cost much of the time. The meals we plan for our guests include seasonal products when at all possible. This eliminates sourcing from far away places, high transportation costs and less hardship for the environment.
It has been documented that tourism can have a lasting impact on a location. What the tourist asks for, the locals will do their best to provide. If we ask for chain hotels and restaurants with our financial choices, those things will likely be there when we or other travelers arrive.