When it comes to travel, it is easy to overlook the impact that it has on the environment. Global tourism contributes to nearly 8% of the world’s carbon emissions. As such, every choice you make while traveling must come under scrutiny to ensure that we do our bit to offset our carbon footprint. Thankfully, travelling sustainably has never been easier.
Plan Longer Vacations
When making travel plans, sustainability should be a top priority. Are you simply jetting off to a far-off destination because you are getting a good deal on the flight tickets? If so, then hold the impulse until you have thought it through.
The CO2 generated for a short vacation will not only add to your carbon footprint but will also deprive you of the true joys of enjoying the vacation as you cannot immerse yourself in the travel experience. Plan and schedule your trip so that you can soak in the atmosphere and treat yourself to a well-deserved break that will keep your emissions to a minimum.
And no matter how long you’re away from home, you can always utilize measures such as outdoor furniture covers, chaise covers, and generator covers to keep your outdoor accessories protected even in your absence.
Smart, Slow Travel
The slow travel movement is gaining popularity across the travel community, and for good reason. This relaxed mode of exploration emphasizes building a connection with the local communities, culture, cuisines, and everything in between. It enhances the quality of the vacation and cuts down the stress of “hit-and-run” tourism.
So rather than obsessively checking things off your bucket list, slow down and immerse yourself in the process for an authentic, meaningful, and memorable vacation. Your experience will not only be more authentic, but significantly reduces your travel carbon footprint.
Hop-On Shared Transportation
Your preferred mode of transportation plays a huge role in the sustainability of your travels. As such, try and make a conscious choice of traveling by public or efficient modes of transport wherever possible, as shared and public transport bear the lowest degree of impact on the environment.
So hop on those trains, buses, and communal ride shares before thumbing down a private cab. Alternatively, you can even rent a bike and travel on foot while exploring your surroundings. As an added bonus, you will also end up saving quite a bit of cash while making this switch!
Ditch Single-Use or Disposable Plastic
The environmental impacts of single-use or disposable plastic are no secret. Consider replacing them with reusable accessories on your travels. For instance, rather than packing your meals or snacks in disposable baggies, clingfilm, or aluminum foil, you can use leak-proof, durable containers made from recycled plastics.
Similarly, carrying your own water bottle can eliminate the uncertainty of locating drinking water, paying a markup on the retail price, and generating plastic waste. The same sustainable principles applies to grocery bags that can be replaced with jute or canvas totes.
Pack Smart, Pack Light
Packing may not be the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to sustainability, but it actually plays a crucial part in your eco-friendly journey. When you travel with only your essentials, you are offsetting the waste that you may generate at your destination.
Given that some places will be ill-equipped to dispose of waste or to recycle it, the waste generated by tourists adds to the problem. Packing light and keeping your trash output to a minimum will make an effective impact on your travel footprint.
Find Green Accommodations
Luxury chain hotels may pose as an attractive stay option, but they also consume more resources than their small-scale counterparts. Fortunately, we are witnessing a resurgence of traditional B&Bs, guesthouses, and short-term rentals that are more sustainable than hotel chains.
Seek out ethical accommodations boasting sustainability certifications and green appliances. Not only are these kinds of stays more eco-friendly, they will likely save you some money thanks to lower booking prices.
Leave No Trace
The Leave No Trace principle promotes sustainable recreation and eco-tourism. You can practice it in its various forms – from turning off lights and heating/cooling systems while exiting the room to cleaning up after oneself after a camping trip.
Making the bed and putting the trash in the bin as a courtesy to your host go a long way in leaving no trace. It’s crucial that you do your bit to restore the balance of what the location looked like before you visited it.
Whether you are shopping for souvenirs or finding a place to dine, choosing to go local can promote sustainability in several ways. As a start, you are boosting the local economy and supporting self-sustenance in a place that is heavily dependent on tourism. Seasonal and locally grown foods are healthier and authentic souvenirs make for more memorable keepsakes than generic trinkets.
Travel Off the Beaten Path
Rather than planning a distant or overseas trip, you can always indulge in exploring nearby locations that offer eco-friendly activities like hiking, camping, spending the day at the beach, etc. It can be an excellent alternative to traveling to exotic locations abroad when you have adventure sports or natural beauty just a few states away!
You can board the next public transport, such as trains and buses, to reduce your emissions while also cutting down costs. And while you are out there, you will experience fewer barriers, be it lingual, cultural, or currency-related. Just remember to throw on the outdoor furniture covers such as loveseat covers to secure your furniture before you leave in the unlikely case of inclement weather.