People all over the world love to travel. It is adventure that connects people to distant lands and cultures and allows you to experience something you never thought you would ever be able to see and do. There is a certain kind of magic and feeling that a man gets when they are away from home, whether it is a plane trip or even a long cruise. Despite the fun and excitement of traveling, it can sometimes be a pain. Long sets at the airport, longer breaks, or maybe even eating something you probably shouldn’t. Generally speaking, people try to make their trip more enjoyable.
But how can people travel responsibly these days and still enjoy the comfort of new travel experiences? Sustainable tourism is not necessarily something particularly new, but in the last decade, world travelers have begun to take some initiatives to travel in new and less influential ways. Companies, hotels and places around the world have also taken it upon themselves to integrate more environmentally friendly ways of traveling. If you are heading to something new, here are some great tips for eco-friendly tourism.
We recognize that we have not always been the most responsible passengers in terms of sustainability. It’s still something we have to think about sometimes, because it’s still not second nature to us. But we have become better and we try to make it as unsuccessful as possible. We also try to stay in places that are ecological. It helps the world and makes us feel better.
Do not engage with local wildlife
One of the best things about traveling is experiencing unique things and seeing new and exciting places, people and sometimes animals. When you first arrive as a tourist, you will want to see the local flora and fauna and this is completely normal, but activities that directly involve animals are generally not exactly an environmentally friendly way to travel for several reasons.
If you’re a traveler interested in local wildlife through hiking or a guided tour, it might seem obvious that you don’t interact with wildlife, but people do. Feeding or touching wild animals makes them addicted to humans and can even sometimes lead to seizures if you are unfamiliar with the way the animal in question is treated. And unfortunately, when animals attack tourists, it is likely that the animals could be knocked down.
Many companies and places also advertise a “more practical” approach to wildlife, offering tourists the opportunity to pet or feed animals and take pictures with them. Depending on the organizations, some animals are caught illegally and mistreated while in captivity. There’s basically nothing wrong with wanting to experience local wildlife, but it’s important to know what you’re getting into ahead of time.
This actually bothers Katie and me. We have seen many tourists interact with the wilderness. We’ve even seen it on social media and people love it. But that is wrong and must be stopped. It is not good for wild animals and may be harmful to others.
Reduce the use of plastic
Although many places in the West have begun to adopt measures to help people reduce plastic use, some other places around the world have not necessarily caught up. Things like packaging and especially disposable plastics like straws may seem unimportant, but all those straws used end up adding up. For something you will use once, it will take you more than 200 years to decompose when you are in a restaurant, do not ask for straw from the server. Learn how to speak it in the local language just so you can understand your views.
Many areas of the U.S. appear to lag behind Europe and other parts of the world. It’s really sad, but plastic is destroying our water and continuing to fill our landfills.
Catch a direct flight when possible
If you travel, you will probably end up on a plane. Although air travel is not really the most sustainable route, there are ways you can reduce your carbon footprint during the flight. One of the greatest things you can do is fly directly to your destination. Sometimes it will cost more, but despite that, you won’t have to deal with interruptions. Moreover, a direct flight to your destination means there will be less carbon emissions if more than one plane is taken.
If you’re traveling to places like Europe, consider taking a ride and taking a train if you plan to tour the rest of the continent. Moreover, there are more than 30 members of IATA which is an aviation alliance whose goal is to invest in carbon reduction projects.
Carry your reusable bags
Similar to the above, carrying reusable shopping bags is a good idea for environmentally friendly tourism. Many places across North America and Europe offer reusable bags that can be purchased at almost any store. If you know that you will buy souvenirs abroad, be sure to put some of those reusable bags in your suitcase.
Decomposing plastic can take centuries, but carrying a reusable bag will help reduce plastic consumption when buying things overseas. You will sleep better at night knowing that your plastic bag does not rot in a landfill.
Book ecological accommodation
While traveling abroad, you will most likely need to find some type of accommodation. There are many eco-friendly travel companies that can help you find sustainable hotels, and even Airbnb, but there is also a lot of research that you can do yourself. In the US, make sure your accommodation is LEED certified or traveling internationally, the EarthCheck, Green Globe and Green Tourism Business Scheme are all programs that attest to sustainability.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Ecotourism is a growing market so many hotels and accommodations offer some sort of green initiative.
Leave the place in good condition
Whether you are staying at a hotel or spending a few days at a campsite, it is important to leave the place in good or even better condition than you arrived. While this might not sound smart at all, leaving the place you found it is probably one of the easiest ways for sustainable tourism.
There are probably environmental things you may not have considered before. For example, while hiking, make sure you always stick to the marked hiking trails. If you do not follow the intended path, you can damage the shrubbery and the balance of the flora, not to mention that something dangerous could lurk from the path anyway. Another good thing you should consider is packing your own garbage bags and being careful not to leave trash and trash behind.
Shop locally and avoid larger organizations
This tip has several layers and is a great way to make your trip very special and of course environmentally sensitive at the same time. Choosing local businesses instead of big franchises is what you should do first and foremost. When it comes to eating in restaurants or taking food, going to a local place will not only be an authentic and better experience, but there is a good chance that the food it will serve will come from local producers, which will give the meal a very small carbon footprint. .
But it is obvious that the local business has more than just food. Eco-friendly travel companies will always take care of the local population and the local environment before putting travel needs ahead of them. Responsible tours and shopping areas owned and managed by the local population will be given to locals and the people who live there. Many of these companies will be proud of their transparency and social responsibility.
Find out if your accommodation’s resources are local
Similar to how you should look for local restaurants, it is also important that the hotel you are staying in is environmentally friendly and uses local resources.
Many hotels will let you know that on-site facilities, such as food, electricity and labor, are local. Local workers mean there is less carbon footprint when they come and go from work to home, and it also improves the lives of locals more directly. Food should come from local producers for the same reason, and energy from solar or local generators is also much more environmentally friendly.
Bypass public transportation
When you’re in a new country, it seems a little intimidating to get around you. Taxis and Uber are always an easy option, but for those interested in environmentally friendly modes of transportation, public transportation is the best way to get around. Almost every major city in the world has some form of public transportation infrastructure and not only is it the most environmentally friendly mode of transportation, but it is also the most affordable. It’s good for the country and good for your wallet!
Many places nearby will also have a bike rental program where you can rent a bike for a day or even for a few minutes if you just need to cross town. It’s a great eco-friendly way to get around the city, it’s generally affordable and best of all, you can stop when you want and admire the new city. You don’t have the same experience in a car as in walking or cycling.
Take a short shower
We are human and sometimes we have to clean up. When you get off a long plane ride, sometimes the first thing you want to do is jump in the shower. But showers can pretty much burden local water supplies. Always look for more sustainable ways to swim.
If you’re staying somewhere where toiletries are, be sure to use them before you take more and take home anything you don’t end up using. Avoid bathing because baths can consume up to 70 liters of water and showers 10 to 25. If you are traveling with a partner, be quick and consider taking a shared shower
Create your own sustainable travel kit
Before embarking on your next adventure, take a few things to make your trip a little eco-friendly. Preparing in advance like packing a travel kit can make it all better. Pack essentials, such as snacks, in reusable containers, reusable cutlery so you don’t have to rely on plastic or disposable ones, and a refillable water bottle saves money and plastic. Other things you could consider are quick-drying towels, as they are compact and environmentally friendly. Some sunscreens contain chemicals that affect the balance of aquatic plants and animals, so many places across Australia, Hawaii and Florida have begun trying to encourage the use of sunscreens adapted to ridges.
Our final word
While people will always want to travel, there is no reason why international or even local travel cannot be done in an environmentally friendly and green way. There are many things that people do not take into account when trying to travel green, such as shopping locally, bringing their own reusable bags, as well as giving up the use of plastic straws. Everything from leftovers to what you eat can be done in the most sustainable way of traveling. Traveling comfortably while being aware of the environment and its impact on our travel is not an impossible feat, and a multitude of things we can do all to make the travel experience better for both tourists and locals alike.