How to travel more responsibly with a greater awareness of conserving natural resources
Being responsible while travelling does not mean sacrificing anything, but supports the idea of conscious travel and paying attention to how our actions at home and abroad affect the local economy and environment. “Our” planet is full of mysteries and adventures that have always attracted people, but it has only a limited number of natural resources. Unfortunately, many travel industries are not sustainable, from cruises to flights, to all-inclusive resorts and so on. Mass tourism is destroying cities and ancient cultures and polluting the entire planet. Being a sustainable traveller helps us to continue to enjoy exploring the planet while maintaining its pristine beauty, healthy ecosystems, and diverse communities. In this post, I will try to introduce you to some easy ways you can take care of an eco-friendly vacation or trip! I hope these little tips will help you plan your next trip.
ACCOMMODATE WITH LOCAL PROVIDERS
Opt for accommodation in locally owned accommodation, including eco-hotels and cottages, instead of all-inclusive resorts, ie accommodation owned by large chains. This ensures that your money goes directly to the local economy, keeping small businesses alive and strengthening the community. Pay attention to how many natural resources you use during your stay in the accommodation. Use water and energy as sparingly as possible. Remember, these are limited resources. The most sustainable decision is to stay in a camp where significantly less water and energy are used.
OPT FOR GREENER TRANSPORT WHENEVER POSSIBLE
Until the aviation industry gets greener, the simplest solution is to fly less. Instead of more short trips, consider longer vacations and make fewer flights a year. When flying, opt for economy class, as this is on average less polluting than business class. There are other ways to travel. Travelling by train can save up to 90% of CO2 emissions compared to air travel. When you are at a destination, try to use the most sustainable forms of transportation. If you can, explore on foot or go by bike. Use public transport and take the bus, or join the long-distance ride together.
Instead of packing a huge suitcase, take only hand luggage. The more freight trains, planes, and cars have to carry, the more fuel they use, which means more carbon is released into the atmosphere. Think about all the things you only use once or even never while travelling, and prefer to leave them at home. What you pack is just as important as how much you pack.
What you take with you on the trip can help reduce waste at the destination. Try replacing disposable plastic with more environmentally friendly alternatives such as solid toiletries instead of mini bottles and a bamboo toothbrush instead of plastic. Bring things with you that will allow you to consume less disposable plastic to reduce the trail you leave behind: for example, reusable cutlery, a tote shopping bag, a reusable coffee cup. In the case of trips to areas without available waste management systems (such as forests, jungles, or remote mountain areas), all waste should be collected, retained, and then separated and disposed of where possible.
EAT LOCALLY / BUY LOCALLY
When travelling, try to eat like the locals, so you will get to know the local culture better and eat healthier. Shop at markets rather than supermarkets to support local growers. Visit local restaurants instead of fast-food chains. When buying gifts and souvenirs, look for products that are an expression of local culture and are made in the local environment. We need to be aware of the importance of our impact on the local communities we visit. We avoid businesses and their products that could contribute to human rights violations. Instead, support businesses that employ the local population and treat them fairly.
Clearly, we will not be able to green the travel industry overnight, but as consumers, we have the power to put our money where it matters. Let’s enjoy learning about the culture, customs, gastronomy, and traditions of the local population. Let’s try to contribute to the development of responsible and sustainable tourism with our presence and contribute to a healthier planet with our journey.