Traveling need not be only fun, enlightening, and educational. It should also have minimal impact on the environment while helping local communities and economies thrive from tourism activities.
You can start making a change in tourism trends by implementing sustainable travel practices. Here are eco-friendly travel tips you can incorporate into your next trip.
1. CHOOSE SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORT OPTIONS
While it may be unavoidable to travel by plane to get to international destinations, it is still possible to pursue a sustainable trip by being smarter with your choices of transport.
For instance, you can select eco-friendly flights that emit less greenhouse gases throughout their journey. It may be tempting to hop on budget flights, but you will get a fuller experience when you travel by land. Look for direct flights with no stopovers, since the take-off and landing consume more fuel, thus the increased carbon emission.
If you are traveling with a group, take advantage of ridesharing options. Carpooling will not only save you money but also make sure you are optimising the transport.
There are more electric vehicles available nowadays, so consider riding these alternatives for lesser carbon emissions. They will most likely cost the same, but you will be doing the environment a favour by taking a more sustainable travel option.
If the areas you will be going to are not that far, why not take a bike? You will not be contributing to carbon emissions at all, and you will get to exercise at the same time. Walking is also another option to consider for a sustainable trip.
You can also minimise the carbon footprint from flying by traveling locally. Not only will you get to know more about your home country, but you will also contribute to boosting the local tourism economy, all while minimising carbon emissions.
2. AVOID BOOKING CRUISE SHIPS
If you think taking a plane is the most unsustainable way to travel, then you have not heard about what cruise ships can do. Riding one may look luxurious and dreamy, but the experience you will get is limited. You will also not be able to enjoy the adventure of walking into unfamiliar territory because you will most likely stay on the ship throughout the journey.
Cruise ships are notorious for being harmful to marine life. Some ships throw away their waste into the ocean, disturbing the ecosystem and destroying reefs in the process. Although the waste may have undergone treatment, especially with newer ships, the majority have outdated equipment for processing waste by-products.
Also, cruise ships do little to help the local tourism on where they dock. Tourists only buy souvenirs not even enough to help boost the economy in the area.
3. STAY IN AN ENVIRONMENT-FRIENDLY ACCOMODATION
One of the ways on how to be a sustainable traveller is to carefully choose where you will be staying for the rest of your journey. Instead of staying in a hotel, go for hostels, guest houses, and boutique hotels.
Hotels are huge contributors to pollution. The daily laundry, 24/7 air-conditioned rooms, plastic bottles and toiletries thrown away, and massive amounts of food wasted all harm the environment because of the irresponsible use of resources.
When looking for accommodations, an eco-friendly travel tip is to do your research about their practices. There are travel websites that let you filter hotels and other accommodations that are eco-conscious in their services.
Couchsurfing is one of the most practical and best sustainable travel options to consider. Since you will be sharing resources and facilities, you will be producing less waste. Additionally, you will get to have a more immersive experience and make a new friend in an unfamiliar place at the same time.
4. LEAVE NO TRACE BEHIND
Whether you are camping in the mountains or just walking down a busy city alley, never leave a trace of your visit. Do not litter, remove objects from their original place, or deface trees, rocks, and walls. These are the most basic sustainable travel tips, and yet, many people forget about the importance of these practices.
5. VISIT LESS-TRAVELLED PLACES
Overtourism has a huge impact on the quality of life of the people living in the area. It also disturbs the natural ecosystem while making it impossible for you to fully enjoy the experience.
Sustainable tourism should help in poverty reduction, boost the local economy, and promote local produce in the area. It also involves protecting the heritage and educating tourists on the culture of the society.
Overtourism, on the other hand, does the opposite, by distressing the harmony in the area. This results in the deterioration of the environment, increased waste and pollution, and disruption in the daily lifestyle of the locals. Sometimes, price inflation happens because the massive number of tourists creates an imbalance in the supply and demand of resources.
Instead of going to popular tourist destinations, visit those less travelled by people. Oftentimes, they are hidden gems that you can take time to enjoy. If you want to visit the popular sites, do it during shoulder season when fewer people are around.
6. OFFSET YOUR TRAVEL
Tourism contributes to the world’s carbon footprint, accounting for around 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Every time you travel, you contribute to global warming and climate change. An eco-friendly travel tip to mitigate the impact of your activity is through carbon offsetting.
Carbon offsetting is a way to balance out your contribution to greenhouse emissions. It works by computing the amount of CO2 you produced during your trip and then partaking in sustainability projects equivalent to your computed emission. So, if the assessed carbon emission from your trip is around 1 metric ton of CO2 gases, you must offset the same amount for sustainable travel.
Conservation projects, reforestation activities, and efforts to generate renewable energy are some of the initiatives you can participate in to offset your carbon footprint. You can buy carbon offsets from legitimate organisations pushing for environmental responsibility.
7. USE ECO-FRIENDLY SUNSCREEN AND LOTION
Sunscreens, lotions, and bug sprays often contain chemicals that are harmful to the environment. They can be washed off your skin when you dip in the beach, and the toxic components can affect marine life.
Practice more responsible and sustainable travel by buying skincare products made from natural, non-toxic ingredients. Using these products will not only help maintain the ecosystem but also avoid applying unhealthy elements to your skin.
8. BRING REUSABLE ITEMS WITH YOU
The disposal of piles of plastic waste in tourist sites is one of the biggest issues that locals face because of tourism. While there are places with recycling hubs that can help collect the waste, most tourist destinations lack the facility for processing plastic waste.
Here is how you can be a sustainable traveller : minimise, or even avoid, using disposable plastic items. Collapsible Tupperware, food containers, travel water bottles, cloth napkins, and eco-friendly toiletries can be used to replace single-use items.
Never throw plastic bags in non-designated areas, especially when you are hiking into the wild. They will last for decades (even centuries) before they start degrading. Instead, use eco-friendly bags like the WRAPTIE™ Grab Bag because they are durable, versatile, and are usually made of organic components.
Another sustainable travel tip to consider is bringing a WRAPTIE™ tie-down strap with you. It is an essential gear that is a better alternative to a rope or bungee cord. It has the same purpose in tying things together or securing a load, but better because it does not have buckles or sharp ends that can damage your property. Additionally, it is made of recycled materials, so you are basically reducing plastic waste by getting a WRAPTIE™ tie-down strap.
Sustainable travel makes it possible to minimise your impact on the environment while creating a positive impression on human, animal, and nature welfare. Even if the sustainable travel tips discussed here might seem insignificant, they can have a huge effect when done collectively and in a long-term timeframe. It will not harm to make them a habit and encourage others to do the same so that the future generations will still have something to look forward to in their travels.
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