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Lesson Plan: Ethics in Travel and Tourism Management


In this lesson, students will understand the ethical and legal responsibilities in the travel and tourism industry.  Students will demonstrate making ethical and professional decisions through role-play and then ask the question, "What would you do?"

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The Ethical Vagabond

Let's adventure...better..

  • Feb 17, 2023

How to Travel Ethically (Beginner's Guide)

Updated: Feb 26, 2023

ethical travel lesson plan

Traveling is an enriching and rewarding experience that broadens our horizons, introduces us to new cultures, and creates lifelong memories. However, the tourism industry can have significant negative impacts on the environment, local communities, and wildlife. As travelers, it is our responsibility to ensure that we engage in ethical and sustainable tourism practices that protect the destinations we visit and the people who call them home. In this ultimate guide, we will provide a comprehensive overview of ethical travel and offer practical tips on how to travel responsibly.

What is ethical travel?

Ethical travel, also known as responsible tourism, is a type of tourism that prioritizes the preservation of the environment, the well-being of local communities, and the protection of wildlife. It involves making conscious choices about where to go, how to get there, where to stay, and how to interact with the local culture.

Why is ethical travel important?

The tourism industry has the potential to generate significant economic benefits for communities around the world. However, if tourism is not managed responsibly, it can lead to environmental degradation, cultural commodification, and economic exploitation. Ethical travel is important because it helps to mitigate these negative impacts and create a more sustainable and equitable tourism industry.

Tips for ethical travel

1. choose your destination wisely.

Before you book your trip, research your destination and learn about its culture, history, and current issues. Consider the impact that tourism has on the local community and environment. Choose destinations that promote sustainable tourism practices and prioritize the well-being of their residents.

2. Travel light

When you travel, pack only what you need and try to avoid single-use plastic items. Bring a reusable water bottle, tote bag, and toiletry containers. Opt for eco-friendly products and avoid products made from endangered species, such as coral or sea turtle shell.

3.Choose eco-friendly transportation

Consider taking public transportation, walking, or cycling instead of renting a car or taking taxis. If you do need to rent a car, choose a fuel-efficient vehicle. Consider offsetting the carbon emissions from your flights by purchasing carbon credits or donating to environmental causes.

4. Support local businesses

Choose locally-owned hotels, restaurants, and shops that support the local economy and culture. Avoid large international chains that may have a negative impact on the local community. Shop at local markets and support local artisans.

5. Respect local cultures and customs

Learn about the customs and traditions of the local culture before you visit. Dress appropriately and be respectful of religious and cultural practices. Avoid behaviors that could be offensive or disrespectful, such as taking photos of people without their permission.

6. Be mindful of wildlife

Do not purchase products made from endangered species or participate in activities that exploit or harm animals, such as elephant rides or dolphin shows. Choose wildlife experiences that promote conservation and protection of natural habitats.

7. Reduce your waste

Dispose of your waste properly and recycle when possible. Avoid leaving trash or littering in natural areas. Choose environmentally-friendly tours and activities that minimize waste and protect the environment. If you need to buy new gear for a trip, consider buying from ethical businesses and organizations that make their items from repurposed or scrap materials.

8. Give back

Consider volunteering or making a donation to a local organization that supports the community or the environment. Choose responsible tour operators that give back to the community and promote sustainability.

Ethical travel is a responsible and sustainable way to explore the world while minimizing negative impacts on the environment and local communities. By making conscious choices about where to go, how to get there, and how to interact with the local culture, travelers can help to create a more sustainable and equitable tourism industry. Use this ultimate guide as a resource to help you plan your next ethical travel adventure.

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Related Content

Red train travelling through a snow-covered mountainous landscape with frosted pine trees and snowy hills, viewed from inside one of the carriages.

Bernina Express train in the Albula Valley, Switzerland. Photo by Roberto Moiola/Getty

How to be a more ethical traveller

You are itching to get out there and want to do it with care. how do you avoid traps like voluntourism and greenwashing.

by Carolin Lusby   + BIO

is an associate professor in the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Florida International University in Miami, co-director of the Global Sustainable Tourism Degree, and a Fulbright Scholar recipient. She is passionate about travel and sustainability, and writes about these topics regularly.

Edited by Matt Huston

Listen to this Guide.

Need to know

Travel is one of the great joys of life. But, increasingly, many of us have a desire to tread more lightly as we travel – to reduce the negative impacts that we’ve heard it can have on communities and the climate, and to travel in ways that benefit them. In short, to travel more ethically.

Perhaps you feel this desire, too. Amid the global disruptions of recent years, many have felt the urge to get off the hamster wheel and re-examine what they value. That reflection ought to extend not only to where we live and how we work, but also to where we go in our free time. For many, enduring the COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the need to be in awe of something, to visit sites of natural beauty, to engage in cultural exchange, to learn new things. These activities all contribute to our wellbeing, and they are all among the reasons why we yearn to travel. At the same time, we have witnessed how, in some ways, the planet benefits when we stay at home: sharp reductions in travel due to the pandemic lockdowns led to signs of nature recovering, and the oceans and skies clearing up.

The environmental harms and other negative consequences of mass travel (we’ll examine some of these below) might make you wonder if you are being selfish by travelling cross-country or overseas. Does choosing to travel mean you are putting your own desires above the needs of other people, or of future generations? Can it still be ethical to travel? Indeed, I would argue that travel, including recreational travel, remains a valuable endeavour and is good for humankind – as long as we make conscious choices about how to do it.

If you’d like to become a more ethical traveller but aren’t sure how to proceed, let’s first take a closer look at a few of the main problems posed by conventional forms of travel. We can then explore how to adopt more responsible approaches to travel while still enjoying its many benefits.

The ethical challenges of travel-as-usual

Tourism has grown exponentially over the past century, with an estimated 1.4 billion international tourist arrivals in 2018. While recreational travel has long been hailed as a tool for economic development – through spending on things such as accommodation, food and tours, and the creation of jobs that support the industry – the economic benefits are commonly overshadowed by drawbacks such as low pay and seasonality in work, limited opportunities for the advancement of local employees, and the leakage of money away from the local economy. Many travellers now stay at all-inclusive resorts, on cruise ships, or in big tourism complexes, so their spending largely flows out to multinational companies.

The negative sociocultural impacts of tourism on local communities are varied, but they can include outcomes such as crowding and the displacement of residents; the loss of local culture or its commodification; and resentment stemming from tourists having favoured access to resources. ‘Access’ has many meanings here. Think of inflation that hikes up prices for locals, the strain on local water resources due to hotels, cruises and golf courses, or a loss of access to beaches because of large-scale resorts. All of these are examples of a power struggle in which tourism is developed from the top down, instead of being used as a tool for locals to enhance their quality of life.

Among the most consequential effects of mass travel, of course, are the carbon emissions of the airplanes, cruise ships and cars that get us where we want to go, which are significant contributors to the climate crisis. At individual travel destinations, tourism can lead to problems such as pollution and the loss of natural habitats.

Here’s the important thing: as a consumer, you have the power to help shift practices in the travel industry. When many food consumers started demanding more organic options, the food industry responded. Similarly, consumers who collectively choose tourism products that are better for the planet and for people can push suppliers to adapt. There are signs that many travellers’ views have shifted – that more of us are seeking more authentic and ethical travel experiences.

Travel’s benefits should not be discounted. Not only does it provide opportunities for personal fulfilment, it can also lead to international friendships and has the potential to promote intercultural understanding and, ultimately, peace. Organisations such as the International Cultural Youth Exchange and the Fulbright US Student Program were founded partly based on this premise. Visiting other countries and encountering other cultures reminds us that we are all part of one planet, one human race. By making conscious choices about how we travel, we can also contribute to cultural preservation, the conservation of ecosystems, and the support of local livelihoods at our destinations.

So how can you start travelling in a more ethical way? Increased awareness of your options is key. I have worked in the tourism industry as a tour guide and an adventure guide, in hotels and resorts and on cruise ships, and I have researched and written about tourism for more than 15 years. Much of my scholarship focuses specifically on ethical travel and, in my role as a professor in tourism, I oversee our global sustainable tourism degree and regularly lead groups on trips. In this Guide, I’ll draw on what I’ve learned from these experiences, so you can take your own journeys in ways that benefit both you and the places you visit.

Select your destination with care

As you decide to travel more ethically, you will ideally want to choose destinations that have not been overrun by tourism and where your money can be especially beneficial. While you might understandably be drawn to places like Venice, Amsterdam or Bali – which get filled to the brim with tourists – it is worth also considering destinations such as Slovenia, Botswana or less-visited islands in Indonesia. These places also have much to offer travellers, the destinations will not be as overrun, and your money will likely have a bigger impact. So take some time to explore options that are less crowded. If you do choose a typically crowded destination, take the time to research when its peak seasons are (for much of Europe, it’s the summer months) and when the cruise ships are in town to avoid the highest-density times.

Also consider alternatives to all-inclusive resorts or cruise ships. Destinations that have been overdeveloped and that are now heavily characterised by all-inclusive resorts often see extreme economic leakage as a result (ie, much of the tourism money spent within the country is sent elsewhere). And locations that are on cruise itineraries commonly suffer from crunch times in which they are overcrowded by tourists. Cruises may visit many destinations, yet they offer relatively few benefits to those destinations and can have detrimental impacts on the environment. They also tend to keep travellers in a ‘tourism bubble’ and contribute to economic leakage.

You might be wondering if ethical travel is costlier by nature. Thankfully, that is not necessarily the case: staying in accommodation in a less touristy place will typically cost less, and local foods and souvenirs purchased outside of tourist zones are often more affordable.

Once you have decided where you want to go, choose your accommodation wisely. If possible, choose lodgings that are locally owned, as opposed to a brand-name hotel or resort run by a corporation that is based elsewhere. In this way, you can help ensure that your tourism spending actually benefits the local community. If it’s not clear whether an establishment is owned by locals (eg, from an ‘About’ page on its website), you might want to call or send an email to ask.

When researching accommodation, you can also seek out places that have been certified for sustainable practices. Be mindful of the fact that many operators (the companies that provide travel services) pretend to be environmentally friendly, knowing that consumers want to feel good about their choices. In order to avoid ‘greenwashing’, choose properties that have received the stamp of approval from an accredited certification agency or that can at least show you that they do more than just let you choose when to wash your towels and linens. You might look for properties that have been certified by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), EarthCheck, or Green Globe (which lists members on its website). And many booking sites now make it easier for travellers to identify more sustainable options. Booking.com and KAYAK both have sustainable travel badges for properties that meet certain guidelines. Similarly, TripAdvisor has a ‘GreenLeaders’ badge.

For some establishments, often called ecolodges, benefiting the local environment and community is a core part of the mission. By staying at one, you can contribute to the preservation of natural resources. For example, when I lead my university’s sustainable tourism study-abroad programme in Belize, a favourite stop is Chaa Creek Ecolodge by the Macal River. Its 400-acre nature reserve protects local forest from timbering and preserves a habitat for wildlife. The list of sustainable practices at Chaa Creek is long: staff collect rainwater to use for washing and laundry; food is grown on the resort-owned farm or purchased from local vendors; facilities are built from sustainable materials, and in a way that blends with the natural environment of the rainforest; and so on. Environmental interpretation is another important feature of ecolodges; guests at Chaa Creek are educated about the local environment and Maya culture on free guided walks. These practices are communicated to guests on their website.

Weigh your options for how to get there

Is it possible to take a train or bus on the way to your destination rather than flying the whole way (or flying at all)? Public transportation is often an affordable option and has a much smaller carbon footprint.

Research shows that a full bus is a relatively low-carbon solution for travel. Travelling by train is another good option: it can cut your carbon emissions by half, or more, when compared with taking a flight. Things get a little more complex when you consider a flight’s occupancy rates. An article in 2021 on the website Treehugger notes that, if a plane is largely empty, the rate of emissions per passenger increases dramatically. So carpooling with other people is probably more climate-friendly than riding on an unfilled plane. But a flight full of passengers is likely a better option, in terms of CO 2 emissions, than travelling the same route by yourself in a gasoline-powered car. Some online carbon-footprint calculators can estimate the climate impact of your trip, based on which mode of transport you use.

If you have to fly, try to fly nonstop and on routes that are booked more fully. Google’s flight-booking tool now displays and compares estimates of carbon emissions for each flight (though the tool currently appears to underestimate the full climate impact of flying). While many argue that it is most important to reduce the carbon footprint of travel, you could also seek to offset a portion of the greenhouse gases that flying emits through a plethora of offset programmes, such as the one offered by Sustainable Travel International. Just be sure to research your options, as not all carbon offset programmes are considered effective.

Lastly, avoid jam-packed itineraries that have you jetting from destination to destination, and instead opt for a slower approach to travel – one where you take more time to engage with your destination, unwind and connect more deeply with the culture, people and the environment there. This can be better for the environment, in terms of saving carbon emissions, and also better for your wellbeing.

Choose dining and activities that support local interests

Plan to eat local while at your destination: that is, choose locally owned restaurants and food that is typical for the region. Not only will you get a taste for the cuisine, but you will also help to reduce economic leakage. When I plan my tours, I make it a goal to include a few days staying in a relatively small community (ie, a village) that engages in community-based tourism – in which tourist activities are planned and implemented by, and bring benefits to, the local community. One of the communities I visit in Belize features a restaurant that is entirely run by a women’s group. All monies earned are divided between those women. Not only do the visiting groups get to taste local dishes such as chimole or garnachas and meet families in the community, they also directly contribute to the livelihoods of the families of these women (and to the broader community, as these families in turn spend locally).

When planning other activities, seek operators that aim to educate, to conserve, and to minimise negative impacts on the local environment or community. For example, a snorkel operator who also teaches you about the local reef – and how you and other visitors can help reduce damage to it – adds more value to a trip, from an ethical perspective, than one who simply takes masses of people for a quick ride to the reef. Certain operators also make it a point to give back to local communities by training local guides, providing scholarships for children, or charging guests a community fee that is then used for development. Check out the websites or materials of tour operators. Are they transparent about where the money goes and who their suppliers or vendors are? Do they have a purchasing policy that favours local sources?

Try to get out of the tourist bubble, both physically and psychologically. Tourists typically stay in well-known tourist districts marked by guidebooks and touristic facilities. Many also travel to their destinations through tour operators from their country of origin, then stay in big resorts where they can eat food from their home country, watch TV from their culture, and so on. This restriction to a comfortable cultural bubble often happens without the tourist being well aware of it. Getting out of the tourist bubble – such as by venturing outside of a resort, taking a local class, going to a local music performance, staying in locally owned places, and using the transport options of your host country – not only gives you more of an opportunity to connect to your destination and the people who live there, it allows more of the financial benefits of tourism to reach them.

Also consider visiting a protected area that is open to the public, such as a national park, state park or even private protected areas. The aim of protected areas is conservation, and regulated tourism is a tool for monetarily supporting the existence of many of these areas. When you pay entry fees to protected areas, you contribute to their preservation. In Florida, I love visiting the Everglades National Park, which charges an entrance fee; in turn, the area is spared from the sprawling development of south Florida, there are no airboats allowed, and nature is conserved. Similarly, the Saba Marine Park in the Caribbean was established to protect the coral and marine environment around the island of Saba, and divers are charged a small fee for each dive there. Local guides will help you understand the environment you visit, and you will return home with a deeper appreciation for the wonders of this planet and the resource you had the privilege to see.

Seek genuine and respectful interaction with residents

Always travel with a sense of respect for your hosts and their culture. You are a guest at your destination, and also a cultural ambassador for your home country. Travel with that consciousness. To guide your interactions with locals, learn a few words in the local language if it differs from yours, ask before you take pictures of people or their possessions, and respect local customs and traditions.

Try to engage in at least one experience that allows for meaningful, direct interaction with people who live locally at your destination. Why are these experiences important? They provide opportunities for intercultural understanding and bridge-building, and they can enrich both the host and the traveller. If you travel with a socially conscious tour operator, they will often plan these encounters for you through a community visit, giveback activity or other social interactions. If you are an independent traveller, you could connect with locals through events on websites such as Meetup or Airbnb Experiences, or you could book a local cooking or dance class or another experience hosted by a local.

Another way to engage in meaningful and respectful interactions is through programmes that match visitors with hosts, enabling them to experience local culture, play a sport, volunteer, cook or share a meal together. One example is the Bahamas People-to-People programme, for which individual travellers fill out an online profile and are then matched with local hosts. I personally tried this when I visited the Bahamas and was matched with an amazing local couple who took me out to eat conch salad. We had a beer at their favourite local spot and talked at length about life and the culture of the islands. We stayed friends for many years – and they later came to visit Miami, where I took them out to one of my own favourite places.

For similar opportunities at your specific destination, you might check out a travel website such as Withlocals (which enables travellers to book experiences with local guides) or try a homestay visit. Homestays are programmes that let you stay directly with a local family, either in their house or in specific tourist housing in the community.

After the trip, share the experience with others

Give a positive review to operators and vendors who have gone above and beyond to aid the local community and to contribute to the preservation of local resources – all while providing you with an excellent experience – on the websites where they are listed and/or a shout-out on social media. Mention key terms such as sustainability , giveback and ethical travel . In this way, you help other travellers find these companies and individuals more easily and support their work.

As you share pictures and stories from your travel adventures on social media, mention the conscious choices you made and what you liked about your experiences. For example, if you made choices to reduce your environmental impact, what were they? In doing so, you can entice other travellers to think more consciously about their own travel choices and give them ideas about where to start.

Key points – How to be a more ethical traveller

  • Mass tourism has negative impacts on people and the planet. Travelling has many potential benefits, but travel-as-usual comes with environmental, economic and social drawbacks.
  • You can still enjoy the rewards of travel in a more ethical way. Making thoughtful travel choices not only enhances your trips but could help encourage change in the industry.
  • Select your destination with care. Think twice about choosing the most crowded places. Seek accommodation that is locally owned and that has been recognised for its sustainable practices.
  • Weigh your options for how to get there. Flying is costly to the climate. Try to minimise your emissions from flights – or, better yet, take buses or trains, or carpool instead.
  • Choose dining and activities that support local interests. Get outside the tourist bubble and find restaurants run by locals, community-minded tour operators, and others who benefit the place you’re visiting.
  • Seek genuine and respectful interaction with residents. Think of yourself as a cultural ambassador, and aim to have at least one experience each trip in which you interact directly with locals.
  • After the trip, share the experience with others. Promote those who helped to enrich your journey, and spread the word about options for more ethical travel.

Volunteer tourism’s pitfalls and potential

Volunteer tourism ­– aka voluntourism: the combination of tourism and volunteering at a destination – can be a worthwhile way to connect with local people and give back to the local community. Traditionally, the volunteering was organised by churches, youth clubs or nonprofit agencies, and required a lengthy time commitment, intense preparation and planning. Over time, volunteering became a popular activity for travellers, turning it into a big industry. Unfortunately, this huge demand shifted the focus from making a difference in local communities toward fulfilling the desires of the traveller – eg, with more flexible programmes and short-term volunteering opportunities. The focus on the consumer created problems that have haunted this niche market, including inadequate volunteer preparation. In short, the industry rushed to meet the needs of tourists with insufficient regard for what communities really needed.

If you are interested in volunteering while abroad, it’s important to inform yourself about any organisation that facilitates volunteer tourism – including how it chooses projects and prepares volunteers, how much of the money that’s spent on a programme stays with the local community, and what your specific duties as a volunteer would be.

Special attention should be given when the volunteering involves working with children. Many companies in this industry do not run background checks on their volunteers or vet them for appropriate skills. Well-meaning volunteers are often not sufficiently trained to teach or work with children. And many tourism organisations do not directly manage volunteer programmes on site, instead outsourcing the oversight to local organisations. This means that often children have no one to report to, and likewise volunteers who witness violence or other problems may be unable to find a responsible person to talk to. Volunteering in an orphanage abroad is especially something to avoid, as many of these have been built specifically for tourism. In these cases, children are often recruited from their parents in small villages based on promises that they will get a good education and opportunities.

Misguided volunteer tourism has also led to many mismanaged projects, such as a building project in which shoddy construction work done by volunteers has to be redone properly by locals.

When it is done well, however, volunteering abroad can have positive impacts on a community. It can help fill the gap where local resources are insufficient, and tourists who volunteer can also help stimulate the local economy through their tourism dollars. Projects that have you commit a few weeks minimum are likely to be more beneficial and ethical. The Karenni Social Development Center in Thailand asks volunteers to commit to three months. Many programmes do work with local stakeholders and train volunteers. The nonprofit Reef Doctor, which does conservation work in Madagascar, offers a good example of a transparent programme.

To engage in ethical volunteering, avoid projects and operators that lack transparency into how projects are selected and where the money goes. Also avoid those that use belittling ‘poverty marketing’, which uses images of starved or poor children or adults to attract the attention of the volunteer. Look for an operator that shows responsibility in selecting volunteers and projects, and most of all involves the local community in project selection so that real local needs are met. Reflect on your own preparation and motivation for volunteering, too: are you willing to adapt to and respect the local culture, to be trained for your role or to show the necessary skills?

ESL Worksheets for Teachers

Check out our selection of worksheets filed under topic: ethics and conduct. use the search filters on the left to refine your search..


Customised lessons

Worksheet type

ethical travel lesson plan

Intermediate (B1-B2)

In this lesson, students learn language related to human rights law and the law of the sea by discussing issues related to refugees and migrants searching for safety or a better life.

by Susan Iannuzzi

ethical travel lesson plan

Mixed levels

This lesson looks at DNA and the recent announcement that scientists have completed the human genome for the first time in history. Students will listen to a news report, read an article and be introduced to higher-level idiomatic language. There will be opportunities for students to personalise the vocabulary and build their fluency by sharing their opinions on the topic.

by Peter Clarkin

ethical travel lesson plan

A breaking news lesson about the recent incident at the Oscars, with a news report about actor Will Smith hitting comedian Chris Rock and an article giving the opinions of four members of the public on the scandal. Students will learn related vocabulary, practise reading and listening skills and reinforce their new vocabulary with conversation practice.

by David Marriott

Note: Select the audio/video file for the appropriate level you’d like to use with your students. To change the level of the embedded audio or video file, click the play button for the level you want to use in the multimedia box.

ethical travel lesson plan

A special report news lesson about South Korea’s new solar power flowers, with a news report about the flower-shaped solar panels and an article about strange methods of generating energy. Students will learn related vocabulary, practise reading and listening skills and reinforce their new vocabulary with conversation practice.

by David J. Marriott

ethical travel lesson plan

Advanced (C1-C2)

In this worksheet, the concept of ‘time poverty’ is discussed in relation to the workplace and how it affects families, and particularly women. Exercises focus on reading and listening skills as well as relevant vocabulary. Students will also have the opportunity to discuss ideas relevant to the topic.

by Joe Wilson

ethical travel lesson plan

In this lesson, students will listen to an interview discussing the trend of "boomerang kids" – young adults moving back home with their parents – and read an article about the situation. Exercises focus on reading and listening skills, related vocabulary and students will have an opportunity to discuss the issues relating to the topic.

ethical travel lesson plan

The topic of this lesson is ethical travel. Students will listen to a radio programme about "voluntourism" and get the chance to discuss the pros and cons of combining volunteering and tourism. Students will learn level-appropriate language to talk about ethical travel with a focus on adjectives. They will read a blog about things to avoid on holiday if they want to be more ethical when they travel and take part in a roleplay with a travel agent. There is the chance to write a short essay on a topic connected to ethical travel and, in addition to this, students have the real-world task of planning an ethical holiday.

by Richard Moon

ethical travel lesson plan

Upper-intermediate (B2-C1)

This lesson looks at the reports around demonstrations in countries around the world over the situation in Ukraine. A news report looks at the events happening and the reaction in Russia. An article reports on the reaction around the world to the situation. Exercises focus on reading and listening skills, and related vocabulary. Students will have an opportunity to discuss questions related to the subject and give their own views.

Note: While this lesson doesn’t go into personal details, it is about a situation of conflict which some students may find upsetting due to personal experiences. Caution is advised before proceeding with this lesson.

ethical travel lesson plan

This worksheet focuses on online fraud using a conversation with a fraud helpline and an article discussing the various methods that criminals use for scams. Exercises focus on reading and listening skills and related vocabulary, and students will have an opportunity to discuss questions related to the topic.

ethical travel lesson plan

A breaking news lesson about the recent Anonymous actions taken against Russia, with a news report about the group’s decision to get involved in the Ukraine conflict and an article providing background and context on the group itself. Students will learn related vocabulary, practise reading and listening skills and reinforce their new vocabulary with conversation practice.

Note: This lesson refers to the ongoing situation in Ukraine, which some students may find upsetting or difficult to discuss. You may wish to use caution, in particular, if you have Ukrainian or Russian students.

ethical travel lesson plan

In this lesson, students learn language related to contracts and fraud through current and classic cases. This topic continues to evolve as technology and marketing advance.

by Susan Iannuzzi

ethical travel lesson plan

Students work with the theme of trends and changes in IELTS Listening Section 4 and Speaking Part 3. Exam tips are provided. They define academic vocabulary used for describing quantitative changes and listen to a lecture about overfishing. After exploring useful expressions from the listening, they consider how discussion questions on a similar topic can be related to the theme of trends and changes. There is also an optional extension activity giving practice in describing a line graph for IELTS Writing Task 1, using data from the lecture. This lesson is part of one unit in the IELTS preparation course plan which provides practice in listening/speaking, reading and writing for the IELTS exam. The full lesson plan takes a minimum of 60 minutes.

by Stephanie Hirschman

ethical travel lesson plan

On Thursday of last week, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, a democratic country in Eastern Europe. This breaking news lesson is based on an article that looks at the background to the war. The worksheet focuses on vocabulary development, reading/listening comprehension and speaking.

Note: This lesson has attracted a wide spectrum of feedback from praise to condemnation, with even a few teachers accusing us of Western bias. We’re unable to publish every comment as our comments feature is not designed to be a discussion forum.

Here’s our position:

1. We wish the current news wasn’t so painful, especially since we are based in Poland and we have Ukrainian employees. There was a demand from teachers to cover it, as well as from Ukrainians urging us to help spread the news to those citizens of Russia who do not have access to the full picture of what’s going on.

2. While we try to use a variety of cited news sources to ensure objectivity, we are not investigative journalists. We cannot cover every possible viewpoint and angle in a 350-word article. However, we see no justification for the military aggression used against Ukraine and its civilians.

3. Common sense should dictate whether teachers decide to use this lesson or not. We strongly discourage using any lesson plan which may cause distress to your students.

ethical travel lesson plan

In this lesson, students learn language related to employment law and contracts by discussing gig economy workers. The evolution of employment law as a result of the gig economy continues to affect contracts and the classification of workers.

ethical travel lesson plan

A breaking news worksheet about a bridge in Rotterdam being partially dismantled to make way for a superyacht owned by Jeff Bezos. Students will learn related vocabulary, practise reading and listening skills and reinforce their new vocabulary in conversation tasks.

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Ethical Travel , Travel , Travel Tips

20 ethical travel tips: how to be a responsible traveller.

It’s now more important than ever for us to learn how to be a responsible traveller and reduce our impact on the environments, the communities and the wildlife we come into contact with. After all, with the world being more vulnerable than ever, we should be able to see things when we travel, but we must also do our best not to harm them. But how? With the ethical travel tips in this post, you’ll find out what it means to travel ethically, and how to be a responsible traveller too.

1. Be prepared to educate others

Education is perhaps  the most  important aspect of ethical travel. A few years ago, no-one really knew what it meant to be travel ethically. We didn’t understand that riding elephants was harmful, or that buying brand new toiletries for each new destination may have been polluting the planet beyond repair. We didn’t always think twice before staying in a large all-inclusive resort or eating at McDonalds without considering the lady down the street who had just opened a new restaurant to support her family. But that’s okay, because now we know better and can help those that don’t. Thanks to the  irresponsible behaviour  of some tourists becoming widespread news and the emergence of ethical travel blogs like this one, information on how to become a more responsible traveller is now widespread. Just remember that not everyone has access to this same information. That’s why it’s important to politely speak up if you see another tourist dropping litter on the floor, or report incidents where you see a camel handler mistreating one of its animals. They won’t know any better unless we tell them.

2. Use ethical tourism companies

Not all tour operators place the same focus on ethical travel, so it’s important to do your research before giving away your hard-earned cash to just anyone. Intrepid Travel’s tours are designed with its responsible travel policy in mind, meaning that guests will be encouraged to support local companies and people as well as respect the destinations they visit. G Adventures has a similar policy, so by travelling with these tour operators you’ll be helping promote ethical travel. Try to avoid companies that offer unethical wildlife encounters as part of their tours, or who seek to make profit by exploiting children during orphanage visits. You can never really be sure of their intentions in these situations, and it’s best to support via charitable efforts instead. You could also consider  slow travel  companies, which are committed to supporting local communities and producers.

3. Visit lesser-known attractions and tourist sites

The most popular attractions in a destination are usually crowded with tourists. By visiting these places, you may be contributing to their monopoly over other lesser-known sights, as well as putting strain on the transport to reach them. Instead, try exploring more off-the-beaten-track destinations to spread the wealth. You never know what hidden gems you might stumble across when you throw away your guide book. 

Would Be Traveller Ethical Travel Tips Petra Jordan

4. Be conscious of what you are eating

The food you eat when travelling can be just as important as the transport you use when it comes to ethical travel. We all have our own ways of eating more ethically: for some, this is becoming vegetarian or vegan. For others, it’s making sure you seek out food sourced locally or from ethical farms. But if you’d prefer other ways of eating ethically, consider buying from local markets and restaurants to reduce your use of plastic packaging and to support local businesses. No matter where you buy your food, try not to order more food than you need just because it’s cheap or because you want to try everything. Wasted food is harmful to the environment and disrespectful to the people that cooked it for you. Start by ordering a few small dishes because you can always order more if you’re still hungry later.

5. Avoid all-inclusive resorts

While it can be tempting to book a holiday to an all-inclusive resort, I’d urge you not to due to the sheer amount of waste they produce and their monopoly over local businesses. All-inclusive resorts promote a culture of waste. You can eat and drink as much as you want, often to excess, and even if you don’t eat it, the food is still going to be prepared and wasted. The resorts also produce an incredible amount of plastic, from the  plastic cups the drinks are served in  to the straws they readily give out. All this single-use plastic is damaging our environment, so try to stay in smaller, independent hotels with eco-friendly policies.

6. Do not support unethical animal encounters

Now a topic that’s very close to my heart is the ethical treatment of animals in tourism. The sad truth is that there are still a number of attractions across the world that mis-treat wild animals for profit. In Asia, some companies have been known to drug tigers in order that tourists can interact with them in cages. Others may train elephants to paint and dance for tourist enjoyment. The Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage claims to save stray baby elephants, orphaned in the wild. It was set up with strong foundations, but staff have since continued to breed elephants in captivity, chain them up and encourage tourists to take selfies with them for money. In Africa, captive breeding farms exist where lions, leopards and cheetah are forced to accompany visitors on walks and pose with them in photos. Once they’re considered too big to be cute, they’re shipped off to canned hunting where wealthy tourists pay to shoot them in an area from which they can’t escape. Thanks to the growing understanding around responsible travel, there are many more ethical animal attractions and  opportunities to volunteer with wildlife  available now. However, if you’re in any doubt as to the intentions or practices of an animal encounter, it’s safer not to take part.

7. Go on safari to see animals in the wild

No-one can deny the best way to see animals is in the wild where they belong. While zoos may be an easy way to keep the kids entertained or to see animals you might not otherwise see in the wild, please do your research first to check the animals are well-treated. 

Would Be Traveller Ethical Travel Tips Elephants in the Wild

 Instead, you could opt to visit private nature reserves and national parks that have a vested interest in conservation. That way, if you come across an animal in the wild, it feels much more rewarding to know that the animals could run away and hide, but they’ve decided to stay and let you observe them. Plus, in most national parks, you’ll need to pay extra park fees to support the work of rangers and vets that help to prolong the existence of many endangered species. What’s not to love?

8. Do not ride animals

It’s well-known that it’s unethical to ride elephants, but what about other animals? I’m a firm believer that animals should be given a choice as to whether they want to interact with you or not. Riding them takes away this choice, so I would rather not do it. It still surprises me to see donkeys, camels and even horses being ridden by perfectly fit and healthy tourists just for fun. Even if these animals are considered ‘working animals’, you can never really be sure how well they’re treated and how many other tourists they’ve had to carry before you that same day. Being ridden puts an enormous amount of both emotional and physical stress on the animal, and do you really want to be the tourist that broke the camel’s back?

9. Remember the marine life

Just like with land-based animals, it’s best to observe marine life from a distance rather than swimming with them in captivity. When heading out on a whale watching excursion, choose a company with good reviews, clear policies and experienced guides that treat whales with respect. If you  enjoy diving and snorkeling , there are some easy ways to become a more environmentally friendly diver. Remember to avoid touching corals with any part of your body, and never remove or leave anything behind as it could cause huge damage. All underwater creatures are wild animals, so try to stay at a safe distance so as not to cause distress. The oceans are already beautiful – let’s keep them that way!

10. Purchase only cruelty-free products

If you’re an animal lover, pay attention to the products you use when you travel to make sure they don’t cause unnecessary harm. To be a more cruelty-free traveller, look for the little bunny logo on health and beauty packaging or check out  Cruelty Free Kitty  – the best resource for brands and products that are cruelty-free. Remember that some souvenirs also directly involve the death of animals in their production. Did you know that silk is made by boiling silk worms alive? Or that pearls are only created when an oyster secretes a stress hormone from which it may not survive? So next time you’re shopping for souvenirs, have a little think about where it came from first.

11. Use less plastic when you travel

We all know that the sheer amount of single-use plastic is damaging the environment. Yet, it’s surprisingly easy to reduce your use of plastic when travelling if you use these tips:

  • Take a reusable water bottle with a filter, that will allow you to drink tap water anywhere in the world. I love my  Water-to-go bottle , and you can get one for 15% off by using the code WBT15
  • Invest in shampoo bars and solid deodorant, or bring your own toiletries in re-usable toiletry bottles
  • Carry a couple of reusable bags or totes on day trips to hold food and souvenirs. Refuse plastic bags from market stalls and see how much you can carry in your hands!
  • Buy a KeepCup instead of throwing away a disposable cup each time you drink a coffee
  • Just  say no  to straws or buy a reusable one and carry it with you in your backpack
  • Swap your plastic toothbrush for an eco-friendly alternative, such as those made from bamboo
  • Use eco-friendly sanitary products like cups or period pants, or buy bio-degradable natural tampons
  • Buy an electric razor instead of disposable blades. I love my Philips SatinShave Prestige but there are plenty of alternatives available

Though most alternatives to plastic do cost a little more than single-use ones, think of them like an investment in both your bank balance and the environment 🙂

12. Stay in eco-friendly accommodation

Many forms of accommodation are growing more conscious of their impact on the environment. Some have solar panels, use 100% renewable energy and have strong recycling programmes. Others re-use shower water to water the plants, offer free bike rental and commit to supporting local breakfast suppliers. It’s much better to support these kinds of initiatives than all-inclusive resorts or large hotels that give no thought to the environment. To find your next eco-friendly accommodation, browse  Booking.com  and look out for places that have sustainability policies or hold ‘green’ status on other sites.

13. Use public or shared transport where possible

Instead of hiring a car to reach your destination, try finding public transport, a shared minibus or tour that will take you. Not only will this usually be cheaper, it also means you’re reducing the amount of cars on the road and thereby reducing carbon emissions. 

Would Be Traveller Ethical Travel Tips Walk More

14. Walk more

Walking is a fantastic way to see the world. Of course, it’s not feasible to walk everywhere all of the time, but if you have a choice between taking a 5 minute subway ride or walking for an hour, walk every time! Plus, walking is so much better for the environment than any other form of transport.

15. Consider Carbon Offsetting programmes

Carbon offsetting schemes have grown in popularity over the past few years. Many schemes take donations and then plant trees across the world on your behalf. Through these schemes, you are ‘repaying’ the carbon you’ve helped cause by flying, using electricity or even buying products. You can offset your carbon once a year by counting up all your air miles, or after each and every trip.  Carbon Footprint  has a calculator where you can work out all your travel and household emissions for the year. It’s then possible to offset those emissions by choosing between the different off-setting options, which include planting trees in the UK, contributing to reforestation in Kenya or even Carbon Footprint’s global portfolio. 

Would Be Traveller Ethical Travel Tips Oslo Park

When we travel, it’s important to promote the positive  social impact of tourism  and minimise (as much as possible) the negative.

16. Shop and eat at local places

There are many benefits to shopping and eating at independent shops, markets and restaurants. More often than not, the quality of locally produced food and products is much higher than mass-produced. The food especially is more authentic and unique, rather than the famous golden arches. But most of all, by shopping and eating at local places, you’re supporting that country and the people that have put in the hard work. Think of it like this – how much better does it feel, to imagine you’re helping a local restaurant owner’s daughter afford to go to school, rather than helping to fund an international corporation owner’s newest car?

17. Treat people the way you want to be treated

When travelling, you’ll come into contact with hundreds of different people, from the cabin crew on your plane, to hotel staff in your destination. It’s important to remember that every single person you meet is a human being, and should be treated as such. Smile and say hello, ask them how they are, say thank you if they do something to help and ask their permission before taking their photo.

18. Do not expect people in other countries to speak your language

Native English speakers are often guilty of assuming that everyone speaks our language when abroad. Yet, if you travel to very off-the-beaten track destinations, they may have never even spoken to a tourist, let alone heard your language. It shows a deep respect for the country you’re visiting (and its people) if you attempt to learn at least a few words of theirs. So rather than using hand gestures and raising your voice, you could actually communicate with the people you meet. Thanks to the plethora of apps and translation websites available now, it’s easier than ever to learn a new language!  Duolingo  is just one example of a free app that covers loads of languages, from French and Spanish to Vietnamese and Hindi. The app makes learning languages fun, meaning you can pick up the basic greetings, pleasantries and other essential phrases with minimal effort. 

Would Be Traveller Ethical Travel Tips Respect Cultures

19. Respect local traditions and etiquette

There are unique customs and traditions in every country and it’s important to respect them all. From chopstick etiquette in Japan, to being conscious of where and when you eat in  Muslim countries during Ramadan , following the traditions demonstrates huge respect for the country you’re visiting. Pay attention to dress codes, especially when visiting religious buildings. If in any doubt, do as the locals do and follow the instructions given to you by staff. It also pays to do your research before you go.

20. Learn the tipping culture in your destination

Remember what works in one country doesn’t necessarily work in another. For example, tipping at all in China can be seen as rude and disrespectful, and could prompt your waitress to chase you down the street to give you the money you ‘forgot’ (I’m speaking from experience). Yet, tipping 10-20% of the bill in Mexico is essential when you’ve experienced good service, and could cause your waiter to chase you down the street if you haven’t given enough. The point is, make sure you’re following the right advice for the country you’re in, not the country you’re from. This will help to avoid embarrassment and potentially upsetting your wait staff.

There are hundreds of definitions of ‘ethical travel’ but one thing seems to be common across them all. Ethical travel means travelling with respect: respect for the people, the environment, the wildlife and the destination you come into contact with. Other than the photographs you take, there should be no other trace that you were ever there.

Do you have any other ethical travel tips to share? Please do leave a comment below as I’d love to hear them! If you’re committed to travelling more ethically, pin this post for later >>

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ESL Activities

ESL Games, Activities, Lesson Plans, Jobs & More

in Icebreakers + Warm-Ups · Listening · Reading · Speaking · Writing

Travel & Holidays ESL Games, Worksheets | ESL Travel Activities

If you need some fresh, new ideas for the ESL travel and holiday unit that you can find in most textbooks, then you’re in the right place. We’ll share our top ideas for games and activities, along with travel vocabulary, worksheets and lesson plans. Let’s get to the best ESL holiday activities.


ESL holiday and travel-themed activities

Let’s get into everything you need to know for an ESL holiday lesson. Keep on reading!

ESL Travel and Holiday Activities

Here are the top ESL travel activities that you may want to try out with your students.

#1: Plan a Trip

Have your students plan a dream vacation in English! Instead of researching in their first language, use Google in English. In order to practice writing, keep notes only in English. Here’s an example of how you might plan your trip using English. You can have your students add as little, or as much detail as you’d like. However, the point of the activity is to practice writing in point form which is useful when writing outlines for tests or essays.

Day 1: Monday, January 1

Fly Seoul (3pm) —-> Vancouver (7am) Check in Hotel ABC, 123 Avenue Rest, relax

Day 2: Tuesday, January 2

Stay Hotel ABC Tour Stanley Park Eat Pub XYZ dinner

Day 3: Wednesday, January 3

Check out Hotel ABC Rent car Budget 123 Drive Whistler Rent skis shop ABC Go Skiing Lunch ski lodge Check in Hotel ABC Whistler Bed early

Procedure for one of my favourite ESL travel activities:

  • Give students time to do some Internet research about a place they want to go. It’s helpful to specify the number of days. I generally make a rule that they must do this research in English. Suggest some helpful websites where they might like to start (Trip Advisor, Air BnB, etc.).
  • Students can make a day-by-day itinerary of what they’re trip is going to look like.
  • They can share about their trip with the class or turn it in for a graded assignment.

63 ESL Holiday Games & Activities: Fun Ideas for Halloween, Christmas, New Year's, Valentine's,...

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#2: A-Z Alphabet Game

If you know that your students already know a fair bit about holiday and travel, you may want to try this quick warm-up game. Or, you could consider using it as a review game at the end of a class.

The way it works is that students, in pairs or small groups write down the alphabet on a piece of paper. Then, they have to think of one travel related word for each letter. It doesn’t have to be done in order. For example:

P: Passport

The winner is the team with the most completed letters at the end of the allotted time. Do you want to find out more? Check this out: A-Z Alphabet Game ESL .

#3: Travel Word Association

This is nice ESL activity to do if you know that your students have studied about travel and holidays before. They can shout out vocabulary words related to this and you can make a mind map or sorts on the board. Group similar things together. For example, articles of clothing.

Find out more about this quick ESL warmer right here: ESL Vocabulary Word Association.

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#4: Postcards ESOL Travel Activity

If you can get your hands on some cheap postcards or have some laying around your house or teacher’s office, try out this fun writing activity. It may just be the novelty factor, but students seem to love it. This activity is ideal for working on common greetings, the past tense (more ideas here: ESL past tense games ), and using descriptive words, as well as using synonyms to avoid repetition.

Distribute the postcards to the students. You can do one per student, or put the students into pairs. They have to look at the picture on the front of the postcard and imagine that they went on this vacation. Then, they can write about their trip to a friend or family member.

Next, the students trade postcards with another student or group. After reading them, they can write a response back of at least a few sentences. Finally, you may want to display them around the class as they’re colourful and fun and other students may enjoy reading them! Have some fun with this ESOL travel activity.

  • Give each student or pair a postcard. They look at the picture and imagine what they did on that vacation, and then pretend that they’re writing to a friend or family member.
  •  Exchange postcards and another student or group have to write a response to what they read.
  • Display the postcards around your classroom (optional).

#5: Travel or Holiday Videos

I’m ALL about using videos with my ESL/EFL students. They’re fun, engaging and a nice way to grab student’s attention and introduce a topic. Of course, you can base an entire class around one too if you design the activities well.

If you want to find out more about using them in your classes and some activities and games to do with them, you’ll want to check this out: Using Videos for Teaching English .

#6: Dictogloss ESOL Travel Activity

This is a challenging activity that works on listening and writing skills. Find a short story related to holiday or travel. It could even be a description of your own vacation that you took recently.

Then, you read out the story to your students in a way that is a bit challenging for them to catch every word. Students have to take notes and then try to reconstruct what they heard based on their notes in small groups. You can read it again so that students have a chance to make some additions or corrections. Finally, students compare their version with the original.

Do you want to try it out with your students? You can learn more about one of the best ESL travel activities here: ESL Dictogloss Activity .

#7: Holidays ESL Lesson Plan

It’s easy to plan an ESL lesson about any topic, including holidays. Check out this video for the steps to follow:

#8: Yes/No Questions and Answers

If you think about it, holidays and travel lend themselves to a ton of yes/no questions. For example:

  • Did you fly or drive?
  • Did you eat some delicious things?
  • Was the food good?
  • Did you have nice weather?

If you want to see some activities or games to work on these kinds of questions, you’ll want to check this out: Yes/No Activities and Games.

67 ESL Conversation Topics with Questions, Vocabulary, Writing Prompts & More: For English Teachers...

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#9: ESL Food Activities and Games

I’m not sure if it’s the same for you, but when I travel, it’s ALL about the food. I want to try all the delicious things where I’m staying! The good news is that I have a ton of fun, interactive games and activities for food. You can easily adapt most of them to focus on holidays.

You can find out more details here: ESL Food Activities.

#10: ESL Surveys

I love to use surveys in my classes because they lend themselves to just about any topic. In the case of travel, they’re ideal for working on the present perfect and simple past together.

For example:

Have you ever travelled to another country?

Where did you go?

If you want to know more about how to design and use surveys in your classes for an ESL travel lesson, then you’ll want to check this out: Surveys for ESL Students.


ESL Travel Games and Activities

I also love to use ESL surveys to get students to express an opinion in English.

#11: Present Perfect Activities Related to Travel

The present perfect is often used to talk about vacations, travel and holidays. For example:

  • Have you ever been to another country?
  • Have you travelled to ______ before?

In order to incorporate this grammatical construction into some of your lesson, you’ll want to check this out: Present Perfect ESL Activities.

#12: Brochure Scanning

This is an excellent travel activity! You’ll have to get your hands on some travel brochures first. The way it works is that students get tons of practice with a reading sub-skill (scanning) because they have to look quickly through the brochures to find specific bits of information. For example, cost or number or days.

Do you want to try out this reading activity? You can find out all the details here: Brochure Scanning Reading Activity for ESL .

#13: Odd One Out ESL Warmer

This is a quick English warm-up activity that you can try out with your students. The way it works is that you write words, in groups of 4 on the board. 3 are similar and 1 is the odd one out. Students have to choose this one and say why it doesn’t fit. For example:

Bathing suit, sunglasses, boots, flip-flops

Answers: Boots because it’s not for a beach vacation. I accept many different answers as long as students support it well.

You can learn more about this ESL warm-up here: Odd One Out for ESL .

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#14: Would you Rather? 

I’m sure you’ve done this before with friends. You have to choose between two negative things, or two positive things. For example, how you want to die, or what you want to eat. In this case, students could choose between two types of vacation. For example:

Would you rather have a beach or forest vacation?

Would you rather stay in a big hotel, or an AirBNB?

Learn more about this nice activity for an ESL travel lesson here: ESL Would You Rather?

39 Task-Based Language Teaching and Learning Activities: A Very Practical Guide to Using TBL in the...

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#15: Task Based Activity: Dream Vacation

I love to incorporate this style of teaching into my holiday lessons. It allows students more freedom to choose what they want to learn about and also builds opportunities for some serious teamwork.

In this case, I’ll have students work in groups of 2-3 to plan a dream vacation. They can do some research to find out all the details including how to get there, food, budget, where to stay, etc. Then, they either have to write a report and hand it in to me and/or do a short presentation to the class.

Need some more ideas for this style of a lesson? Check this out: Task-Based Learning .

#16: Travel Themed Charades

I love to play charades with my students. The way it works is that you can think of some travel-related phrases. For example:

  • Flying on a plane
  • Sleeping on a bus
  • Eating noodles
  • Buying souvenirs

Then, students have to act this out and their teammates have to guess what the phrase is. More details here: ESL Charades.

#17: Travel Journal

Encourage students to keep a travel journal for a fictional trip. They can describe their experiences, sights, and sounds, using new vocabulary.


Travel and Holidays ESL

#18: Eliciting in an ESL Travel Lesson

Unless your students are absolute beginners, then it’s likely that they already know a good amount of travel and holiday vocabulary. That’s often why I like to start off my ESL traveling lesson by using some eliciting techniques. There are two main reasons for this.

The first reason is that it’s possible to find out what the students already know about this topic to avoid wasting class time covering these things. The second is that it helps students activate their prior knowledge about travel/holidays to make the new things they learn more memorable. Learn how to do this tactic for an ESL holiday lesson here:

ESL Eliciting Advice .

#19: Travel Listening Lesson

A nice way to talk about any topic is through a listening lesson. In this case, find a conversation between two people talking about an upcoming vacation plan. Or, someone talking about a favourite vacation from the past (it could even be you). Then, design an entire listening lesson around that. Find out how here:

#20: Idiom ESL Traveling Activity

There are lots of idioms related to holidays, travel and transportation. Here are just a few of them:

  • All hands on deck
  • To send flying
  • Bump in the road
  • Off the rails
  • Train wreck
  • Asleep at the wheel
  • Fall off the wagon
  • Hit the road

One of the best ways to make these idioms super memorable is to do this fun activity. Afterwards, your students will never forget! Learn more about this ESL activity:

Idiom Activity for Language Learners .

#21: Concentration ESL Traveling Vocabulary

One of the best ways to review new words during an ESL holiday or travel lesson is to play this memory game. Depending on the level of the students, make some matching pairs of cards with the following:

  • Word/picture
  • Word/definition
  • Word/clue about the word

Then in small groups, students play the game to find the matches. Find out all the details about how to set it up and play:

ESL Concentration Game .

#22: Speaking Fluency Activity

To use this activity with a unit on holidays or travel, have students talk about a past, or upcoming vacation.

#23: Me Too!

Students have to make a true statement about themselves related to holidays and travelling. For example:

  • I’ve been to Japan.
  • I hate the beach.
  • My family goes on a big vacation every summer.

If other students can agree, they stand up and say, “Me too!”

#24: Labour Day Guessing Game

#25: Holiday Interviews

Pair students and have them interview each other about their favorite holidays. They can then present their partner’s holiday to the class.

#26: Travel Bingo

Create bingo cards with images or words related to travel and holidays. Students mark off the squares as they learn new vocabulary.

#27: Travel-Themed Role-Plays

Set up role-plays where students act as travelers, airport staff, or hotel receptionists. This helps them practice common travel dialogues.

#28: Travel Vocabulary Pictionary

Play Pictionary using travel-related words. Students take turns drawing and guessing the vocabulary words.

#29: Travel Storytelling

Ask students to create and share short stories about a memorable travel experience they’ve had or wish to have in the future.

#30: Travel Debate

Have students debate the pros and cons of traveling. This encourages critical thinking and speaking skills.

Travel and Holiday Vocabulary

Here are some of the most common vocabulary words that you may want to teach your students related to traveling for an ESL holiday lesson.

  • bathing suit
  • boarding pass
  • vaccination
  • The months of the year in English

Do you have any ESL travelling vocabulary that you’d like us to add to the list? Leave a comment and let us know!

Travel Worksheets and Lesson Plans for ESL

If you’re looking for some worksheets or lesson plans related to holidays and travel, then you’ll want to check out some of our top resource recommendations:

ESOL Courses

ISL Collective

Lingua House

ESL Travel Vocabulary Worksheets

If you want students to get some practice with ESL travel vocab, here are a few recommendations:

English Club

Did you Like these Travel Games for ESL?

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You can get the book in digital or print formats. Take the e-version with you to your favourite coffee shop for lesson planning on the go. Or, keep a copy on the bookshelf in your office to use as a handy reference guide. But the best idea is to have it with you at all times for those English teaching emergencies.

Do you want to find out more? Head on over to Amazon to pick up your copy today:


FAQs about ESL Travel Lessons

There are a number of common questions that people have about teaching this unit. Here are the answers to some of the most popular ones.

What is the purpose of teaching the travel and holiday unit to English learners?

The purpose is to help English learners develop vocabulary, grammar, and conversational skills related to travel and holidays.

What topics can be covered within the travel and holiday unit?

Topics can include modes of transportation, booking accommodations, tourist attractions, holiday activities, travel phrases, and cultural aspects of different destinations.

How can I introduce vocabulary related to travel and holidays?

You can introduce vocabulary through visual aids, realia (actual objects), flashcards, and interactive activities such as matching games or vocabulary quizzes.

What grammar structures can be taught in the travel and holiday unit?

Grammar structures such as present simple for schedules and timetables, past simple for recounting travel experiences, future tenses for making travel plans, and modal verbs for expressing preferences or asking for permission can be taught.

What speaking activities can be used to practice travel and holiday-related topics?

Role-plays, group discussions about dream destinations, travel itineraries, or describing holiday experiences are effective speaking activities. Additionally, pair work activities like “Find Someone Who” or “Guess the Destination” can engage learners in conversation.

ESL Travel Activities and Games: Join the Conversation

What are your thoughts about these Holiday ESL activities? Do you have another one that you’d like to recommend to us? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you.

Also be sure to give this article a share on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter. It’ll help other busy English teachers, like yourself find this useful resource for ESOL travel lessons.


ESL Travel Lesson

Last update on 2022-07-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

ethical travel lesson plan

About Jackie

Jackie Bolen has been teaching English for more than 15 years to students in South Korea and Canada. She's taught all ages, levels and kinds of TEFL classes. She holds an MA degree, along with the Celta and Delta English teaching certifications.

Jackie is the author of more than 60 books for English teachers and English learners, including Business English Vocabulary Builder and 39 No-Prep/Low-Prep ESL Speaking Activities for Teenagers and Adults . She loves to share her ESL games, activities, teaching tips, and more with other teachers throughout the world.

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ethical travel lesson plan

Topic: Travelling

speaking about travel preparation

Are you ready to go?

With this lesson, students discuss travel preparation, watch a video about tips on packing and talk about potential challenges when travelling. You can also do a vocabulary activity to revise vocabulary related to the topic.

structures with so and such

It’s such a lovely place! (so and such)

With this lesson, students talk about travel experiences, watch a short video about the capital city of Ghana and practise ‘so’ and ‘such’ structures. They also share their personal experiences and discuss the advantages of different travel options.

vocabulary related to accommodation

Hotel reviews

Engage students in conversations about different types of places to stay and their experiences! With this lesson, students practise vocabulary related to accommodation, watch videos and write hotel reviews.

vocabulary to describe experiences

My home is your home

Check out this lesson to have an engaging conversation about home exchange and house sitting and help your students learn useful vocabulary to describe experiences.

lesson about travelling by plane

Please have your boarding pass ready

Students learn airport and plane phrases, listen to announcements and watch a video with a song. They also talk, role-play and exchange ideas.

Talk about business trips

Business trips: fun or boring?

This lesson allows students to talk about business trips, learn some useful vocabulary, and have a lot of discussion and role-play. 

ethical travel lesson plan

Downsides of tourism

This speaking lesson focuses on talking about tourism and its problems. Students talk about travelling in general and tourism as an industry, watch a video and discuss solutions to the problems. 

ethical travel lesson plan

The intangible benefits of travelling

In this lesson students talk about the article they read at home, learn some vocabulary and talk about different ways of travelling and their benefits. 

ESL lesson about coffee

Food culture, coffee culture

In this ESL lesson about coffee and food culture students have a lot of discussion, watch a video, study nouns that can be both countable and uncountable, and have a lot of fun practice.

ESL lesson about living abroad

Living abroad

In this ESL lesson about living abroad, students watch a testimonial video about learning Portuguese in Brazil, learn some useful collocations and talk about living in different countries. 

lesson about St. Patrick’s Day

Nation branding and St. Patrick’s Day

In this lesson about St. Patrick’s Day, students watch a video about the origins of the holiday. They also discuss nation branding and practise vocabulary for talking about abstract ideas. 

Speaking about air travel

Are you into flying?

This worksheet focuses on speaking about air travel. Students answer different questions, watch and discuss a video. They also read and discuss short stories and create their own. 

tourism lesson plan

Would you like a lava snack?

With this tourism lesson plan, students discuss gastro-tourism, watch a video and learn vocabulary related to food. 

free time activities

Life is better outdoors!

In this lesson, students watch a video about Taiwan and practise vocabulary related to nature and free time activities.

Present Perfect and Past Simple

You’re never too old for great things

In this lesson, students learn the differences between Present Perfect and Past Simple. They also practise using the two tenses, watch a video and talk about active lives of elderly people. 

adjectives to describe art

Visiting the art capital

This lesson plan is all about New York. Students will discuss some quotes about New York, watch a video about art in this city and learn adjectives to describe art.

travel worksheet for pre-intermediate students

Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer

With this travel worksheet, pre-intermediate students can talk about how travelling changes them and learn some useful vocabulary. They also read a short text, watch a video about dream travel destinations and write an email.

hiking vocabulary

Let’s go hiking!

In this lesson students learn hiking vocabulary, read some tips, watch a video about hiking and decide what they would and wouldn’t take on a hike. 

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  1. Travel Brochures Lesson Plan

    ethical travel lesson plan

  2. The ethical travel guide : your passport to exciting alternative

    ethical travel lesson plan

  3. 5 Ethical Travel Resolutions for the Responsible Traveller

    ethical travel lesson plan

  4. The Best Essential Guide To Responsible and Ethical Travel 2023

    ethical travel lesson plan

  5. 10 Ethical Travel Experts Share Their Tips For Traveling More Responsibly

    ethical travel lesson plan

  6. Editable Lesson Plan , Ethical Considerations + Template CCSS

    ethical travel lesson plan


  1. Ethical Travel Agent

  2. 6th👲 Gulliver's travel//LESSON PLAN//6th STD//Term II English👍✔️

  3. Resources , books and strategy for Ehtics

  4. What is Responsible Travel and Its Importance?

  5. How to Choose Responsible Tour Operators for Ethical Travel

  6. Ethical Travel


  1. Ethical Tourism

    This free ESL lesson plan on ethical tourism has been designed for adults and young adults at an intermediate (B1/B2) to advanced (C1/C2) level and should last around 45 to 60 minutes for one student. The rise of the ethical consumer has also started to have an effect on the travel industry.

  2. Lesson Plan: Ethics in Travel and Tourism Management

    In this lesson, students will understand the ethical and legal responsibilities in the travel and tourism industry. Students will demonstrate making ethical and professional decisions through role-play and then ask the question, "What would you do?" Download the lesson plan.

  3. Ethical travel: ESL/EFL Lesson Plan and Worksheet

    Publication date: 03/18/2022. The topic of this lesson is ethical travel. Students will listen to a radio programme about "voluntourism" and get the chance to discuss the pros and cons of combining volunteering and tourism. Students will learn level-appropriate language to talk about ethical travel with a focus on adjectives.

  4. PDF My Ethic for Global Learning Lesson Plan

    This lesson plan will challenge participants to interrogate attitudes and behaviors associated with U.S. travelers and tourists and develop their own personal ethical principles for traveling and global learning. They will watch a documentary and read several articles that will help them learn about ethical issues with tourism and travel/study ...

  5. PDF Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's needs, but not every man's g

    2. Ethical Tourism Vocabulary • mass tourism (noun) - large numbers of organised tourists to a destination. • overdevelopment (noun) - excessive development, especially that leads to what are considered negative, irreversible changes to an area. • economic leakage (noun) - money that escapes a local economy; in terms of tourism, when money spent by tourists does not remain in the ...

  6. The Ethics of Voluntourism and the Purpose of Travel

    The Ethics of Voluntourism and the Purpose of Travel. Objectives: Students will be able to: Describe the difference between "relief work" and "development work" Articulate how voluntourism can negatively affect people, and identify positive alternatives Argue for what they believe the purpose of travel to be Today's Under-reported Fact: Studies have shown that over 90% of children housed in ...

  7. How to Travel Ethically (Beginner's Guide)

    3.Choose eco-friendly transportation. Consider taking public transportation, walking, or cycling instead of renting a car or taking taxis. If you do need to rent a car, choose a fuel-efficient vehicle. Consider offsetting the carbon emissions from your flights by purchasing carbon credits or donating to environmental causes. 4.


    n Ambassador for your country.Create a poster to display around your school showing your 5 top tips to travel. responsibly- some ideas below.• Leave only. tle• Give smiles, not gifts• Encourag. cross cultural understanding.• Put. shoes.Conclusion Activity: Add yourself to the map on the Home Page http:/.

  9. Ethical travel: ESL/EFL Lesson Plan and Worksheet

    The topic of this lesson is ethical travel. Students will listen to a radio programme about "voluntourism" and get the chance to discuss the pros and cons of combining volunteering and tourism. Students will learn level-appropriate language to talk about ethical travel with a focus on adjectives. They will read a blog about things to avoid on holiday if they want to be more ethical when they ...

  10. PDF BBC Learning English Weekender Ethical Travel

    Trisha Barnett, head of Tourism Concern who've published "The Ethical Travel Guide". There, Trisha was talking about the effect that tourists can have on the people who live in the countries they visit. In that case, the new hotel was like a spaceship - something very alien had landed in the Pacific. Weekender bbclearningenglish.com.

  11. Ethical Issues in Travel Lesson Plans & Worksheets

    Find ethical issues in travel lesson plans and teaching resources. Quickly find that inspire student learning. ... Learning Explorer An all-in-one learning object repository and curriculum management platform that combines Lesson Planet's library of educator-reviews to open educational resources with district materials and district-licensed ...

  12. How to Be a More Responsible Tourist: a Traveler's Guide to Ethical Tourism

    This enjoyable read lays out the how-tos of responsible and experiential travel, from choosing ethical tour operators to sharing meals with locals. The book also contains case studies, expert interviews and information on how to place protecting local societies and the environment at the forefront of any trip.

  13. How to be a more ethical traveller

    When I plan my tours, I make it a goal to include a few days staying in a relatively small community (ie, a village) that engages in community-based tourism - in which tourist activities are planned and implemented by, and bring benefits to, the local community. ... Sustainable Travel and Ethical Tourism (2021), ...

  14. The Best Lesson that Privileged People Can Learn from Ethical Travel

    Photo taken by author. Learning to surrender to uncertainty can be done in many different situations. But ethical travel can be one of the most incredible ways to learn this valuable lesson.

  15. ESL Lesson Plans For Teachers Topic: Ethics And Conduct

    The topic of this lesson is ethical travel. Students will listen to a radio programme about "voluntourism" and get the chance to discuss the pros and cons of combining volunteering and tourism. ... We strongly discourage using any lesson plan which may cause distress to your students. Business English. Lesson . 60 min. Gold lesson plans are ...

  16. 20 Ethical Travel Tips: How To Be A Responsible Traveller

    11. Use less plastic when you travel. We all know that the sheer amount of single-use plastic is damaging the environment. Yet, it's surprisingly easy to reduce your use of plastic when travelling if you use these tips: Take a reusable water bottle with a filter, that will allow you to drink tap water anywhere in the world.

  17. Ethical Tourism Explained: Plus, 23 Ethical Travel Tips

    The Gambia. Primate in Kololi, The Gambia (Photo: Bryan Osborne) My friends over at the EthicalTraveler.org have listed The Gambia as a top ethical destination in 2019, 2020, and 2021. The country is increasingly focusing on responsible tourism by promoting a different experience of The Gambia away from the beaches.

  18. Making Travel Plans

    Travel English. Int. Teens & Adults. In this lesson, Ellen and Martin Baxter make travel plans. Students listen to the couple's conversation and practice it. The lesson includes a vocabulary and comprehension check. Launch Tasks.

  19. ESL Holiday and Travel Lesson: Games, Activities, Lesson Plans

    If you need some fresh, new ideas for the ESL travel and holiday unit that you can find in most textbooks, then you're in the right place. We'll share our top ideas for games and activities, along with travel vocabulary, worksheets and lesson plans. Let's get to the best ESL holiday activities. ESL holiday and travel-themed activities.

  20. Travelling Lesson Plans

    Global Issues. This speaking lesson focuses on talking about tourism and its problems. Students talk about travelling in general and tourism as an industry, watch a video and discuss solutions to the problems. Unlimited Plan Show. C1 / Advanced | C2 / Proficiency. Critical Reading Club 30 min / 45 min. Add to saved lessons.

  21. Essential Guide to Responsible & Ethical Travel

    As an ethical traveller, you can protect yourself and your fellow travellers by getting your flu shot, wearing a mask, washing your hands frequently and using hand sanitizer. If you have any symptoms, consider rebooking your travel. Buy only ethical tours or holidays packages • Don't be guided solely by your budget. We've all been there.

  22. PDF "Everyone Else Does It!" Ethics Project

    Microsoft Word - Everyone Else Does It.doc. "Everyone Else Does It!". Ethics Project. This lesson on ethics is intended to provide a practical examination of ethics as it applies to students in their last years of high school moving on into careers. After discussing and recording the fundamentals of ethics as a class, the students are given ...

  23. LESSON PLAN (docx)

    2 Lesson Plan: Legal, Professional, and Ethical Considerations in Behavioral Health Care Course Learning Outcome By the end of the lesson, the students should be able to apply legal, professional, and ethical considerations important to the delivery of safe and effective behavioral health care. Lesson Overview This lesson will explain the relevant legal requirements, professional concerns, and ...

  24. Texta

    By leveraging AI lesson plan generators, schools and organizations can enhance the learning experience for students and empower teachers to deliver more personalized instruction. Conclusion. In conclusion, using AI technology to generate interactive lesson plans has the potential to revolutionize the way educators plan and deliver instruction.