Seeing the world as it is ravaged by the effects of climate change through the television screen is different than seeing it with your own two eyes. As you travel the world, or as you gear up to finally take a vacation, remember that every single sustainable step you make matters. Just because you made an eco-friendly homestead does not mean you can swear off sustainability while lounging on the beach.
What on earth is sustainable travel?
The idea of sustainable travel relates to a couple of things. First, tourism is a huge, world-altering trade that affects everyone. If you want to be a responsible, green traveler, you have to realize what it means give business to a location.
How much waste is generated, how many trees are razed down for a mega hotel, how the native culture reacts, and how the socioeconomic structure of the location is altered should all cross your mind. In other words, if you go to a distant oasis, do not trash it. Go visit other countries, but do not promote or leave behind any visible negative impacts – on anything or anyone.
Be a tree-hugging jet-setter
The first bit of advice for traveling more smartly is to have an open mind about where you are going. For example, glamping in the hills of Mongolia might be all the rage now, but that kind of luxury could damage the environment, or hurt the nomadic people that live in the area by driving away the herds they hunt.
Read also – 8 Signs You Were Born to Travel
5 Ways to protect the earth while traveling
1. Make reservations at a hotel only if it is eco-friendly and not impacting the environment wrongly
Because, sure, while the 100 story skyscraper called a beachfront hotel is nice and all, imagine what that did to the environment around it. Imagine how that changed the lives of the locals. Plus, hotels produce a lot of waste – food waste, energy waste, and human waste.
Be sure you are staying some place that actively recycles, uses sustainable resources, and has excursions based on the cultural activities of the locals, not just what is popular. Better yet, opt for a homestay or room with an Airbnb host. I guarantee that this has less of a negative impact on the environment and also provides better cultural experiences for you and your group.
2. Think about transportation
Taking the bus might seem logical, but public transportation that runs on gasoline and diesel is terrible for the environment. Opt for more travel-savvy options like electricity-powered subway lines or tram cars. Walk or bike when you can.
3. Pack your essentials–nothing else
It sounds a bit counter-intuitive at first, but hear me out. This means you can buy recyclable products from local businesses and vendors. Bring things that can be reused, rewashed, and repurposed. Bring your own shopping totes. This also means adjusting your habits.
4. Eat like the locals, not like a movie star
Fancy restaurants are great once in awhile, and I am by no means opposed to splurging once in awhile. However, think about going to family-owned and operated cafes or eateries. Simple places with good, ethnic food that cook from scratch. You are not only bolstering the local economy, you are supporting the culture and local agriculture.
5. Calculate the carbon footprint of your itinerary
There are some awesome websites out there that help you calculate your carbon footprint when flying to airports, renting cars, going on various excursions, and even staying at a hotel. Truly eye opening. Use services that help you formulate itineraries with a minimal carbon footprint and stick to it.
We are all global citizens, striving to keep everyone afloat. When you travel to faraway locals or discover the “hidden gems,” seek out the normal way of life there. Not only will your travels be more rewarding, but you will be preserving the culture of the region, protecting the environment, and giving business where it is deserved. Wishing you safe and happy travels!