As countries begin reopening their borders for travel, many people have a holiday on their minds.
And understandably so!
But there is another thing which people should be more conscientious of as they begin planning their next trip, and that is traveling sustainably.
With the current climate threat sustainable travel, sometimes known as responsible travel, should be at the forefront of people’s minds.
What Is Sustainable Travel?
Sustainable travel is basically acknowledging that what you do while travelling can have profound effects on the planet; whether it is the local environment and people, or the economy of the places you visit.
The goal of sustainable travel is to take responsibility for any negative effects you may cause while travelling, and do what you can to reduce those impacts. These impacts may be environmental, social or economical.
It is all about doing your part to preserve the destination.
Why Is Sustainable Travel So Important?
It is no surprise that sustainable travel is a hot topic as COVID restrictions begin to ease, many people have been making an effort to reduce their carbon footprint for years now.
And with scientists and other experts constantly warning people the dangers humanity faces if we do not get the changing climate under control A.S.A.P, finding the best ways to travel responsibly is a great place to start.
Tourism is accountable for roughly 8% of global CO2 emissions, with nearly half of the emissions coming from transport alone.
By learning different ways that you can help minimise the damage caused when you go on holiday, you can start to make a change that will save the planet.
7 Sustainable Travel Tips
Trying to figure out where to begin when learning how to travel sustainably can be daunting. Coming up are seven tips for sustainable travel, though there are many, many more!
1. Consider Your Transport
With transport being one of the biggest pollutants in travel, reconsidering how you get to your destination can be a great step.
For example, can you catch the train instead of a flight or a long car journey? Trains have a lower carbon footprint than both of those, so can really lessen the damage done.
This can also apply once you are at your destination! Instead of just taking a cab every time you go sightseeing, try hiring a bicycle and go through it at your own pace. Not only does this create fewer carbon emissions, but it also allows you to really immerse yourself in the local culture.
2. Keep Your Travel Direct
When greener travel options are not available, there are still things which can be done to travel sustainably.
One of those is simple ensuring you take the shortest and most direct travel route. Opting for the shortest flights that go straight to your destination, or driving the shortest route rather than the scenic ones.
It may seem small but it can make all the difference over time!
3. Support The Locals
When you buy from local businesses you can ensure that the money you spend stays within that community and its economy.
So when you are booking your accommodation, take a look and see if any local B&B’s have room. And when shopping for your souvenirs try and purchase them from small businesses.
By keeping your money within the local economy, you can help the people who actually live there. Rather than spending money at a large global corporation where that money is less likely to return to the community.
4. Try To Avoid Animal Based Souvenirs
When buying your souvenirs it can be good practice to avoid any made of animal bones or hides.
In many cases it is impossible to tell if the animal was hunted legally or sustainable. So by purchasing these products, you may be contributing to illegal wildlife hunting. Which then in turn harms the environment around you.
Because you may not be able to tell when an item is sustainably sourced it is easier to avoid the products altogether.
5. If You Can’t Go Local, Search For Eco
Sometimes a local option is unavailable, whether it is accommodation or food. Rather than avoid your destination until either of those become available, you could look into green or eco friendly companies nearby too!
More and more companies are looking into greener trade and practices. So if you cannot find a local business to support, try looking into the companies nearby dedicated to sustainability instead.
6. Be Responsible With Wildlife
This applies to both the animals still in nature and those in captivity.
When out in nature be sure to act respectfully and ensure you leave minimal evidence that you were there. Simple things like picking up your rubbish or not disrupting the area too much can really help the local wildlife remain calm.
If you plan to go snorkeling or scuba diving to see the coral reef, look into coral safe sunscreen. Many contain toxins that can actually bleach the coral and cause it harm.
Another important thing to avoid if sustainability is your aim, would be any up close and personal interactions with wild animals. Any creature being forced to interact with humans, when typically they would not, are likely under extreme amounts of stress and discomfort.
These animals are often kept in poor conditions and even malnourished in order to keep them placid.
7. Consider Your Luggage
One thing becoming more and more popular within sustainable travel is packing lightly.
If everyone has the maximum luggage weight then the plane will be heavier too, the heavier a plane is the more fuel it burns, the more emissions it gives off.
By packing lighter and aiming to only take a carry on, you can help reduce the plane’s fuel consumption, and in turn reduce the emissions.
Another thing to consider when you are packing, is your toiletries and products. Consider buying eco-friendly and biodegradable products from sustainable brands for your trip.
This will cut down the long-term waste you contribute to your destination country, and help keep the local environment clean.
The important thing to remember when trying to be more sustainable with your life choices is that mistakes are okay. You are only human and they are bound to happen, but even if you only manage small changes, the domino effect they will build up to will be worth it.
The change needed to help the climate is drastic, but achievable, one person at a time!