Sustainable travel is about giving respect to the environment. It is also finding ways to cut the negative impact tourism has on local cultures and communities.
Whether you’ve already done these sustainable tourism practices or not, here are 7 simple ways you can do to make travel more sustainable.
1.Trade popular travel destinations for sustainable ones
Avoid popular travel destinations such as Barcelona, Amsterdam, and Venice. Visiting these destinations causes over-tourism. Doing so puts pressure on the locals who are struggling to keep up.
Over-tourism has caused:
- deterioration of historical sites
- increased traffic and
- rising prices that are driving out the locals
Choose sustainable travel destinations instead. Why not travel to a holiday destination like Bhutan? There, you’ll enjoy fewer crowds as well as lower prices.
2. Avoid taking the plane
Choose the greenest way to travel as much as possible such as taking the boat, train, or bus. The worst mode of transport is through a plane. It contributes to global warming as it releases a huge amount of carbon emissions into the air.
If flying to your travel destination is the only option, then try to book direct flights. Flights with stopovers mean more take-off and landing that can contribute to more carbon emissions in our air.
If you are travelling by car a lot, for work or for leisure, then it may be worth considering ways that you can be more friendly towards the environment whilst driving. As well as changing your driving style, you might want to consider the possibility of switching to an electric vehicle. Electric and hybrid vehicles have grown in popularity over the years, offering the same great experience as their petrol or diesel counterparts.
3.Offset your carbon emissions
Carbon offsetting is reducing the amount of carbon dioxide you produce. You can find many Carbon Offset programs online.
Carbon Offset programs allow you to calculate how much carbon dioxide you make during your travels. And to balance out your carbon footprint, you need to invest in many green travel projects such as My Climate or Reforestum.
3. Pack lightly and pack smart
Packing lightly is a simple, but effective way to make your travel more sustainable.
You see, the more luggage we have, the heavier planes, boats, and trains will be. The heavier the mode of transport becomes, the more fuel it needs. And the more fuel consumed, the more harm it brings to the environment.
So, try to decrease your luggage capacity by 50% of what you usually carry when travelling. Take the bare essentials and try the minimalist approach.
It is much easier if you have lighter luggage. And the best part, you save money on luggage fees.
5.Travel with reusables
Here are the things you need to have for sustainable travel:
- Avoid buying single-use plastic bottles during your travel. Pack reusable water bottles and a water purifier instead. You’ll need a water purifier if you travel to countries where access to potable water is scarce.
- Eco-friendly travel utensils such as a spork, knife, or a set of chopsticks will come in handy when you’re eating local street food. Or if you plan on cooking your meals.
- Pack a travel mug to avoid using disposable coffee cups. Moreover, your travel kit should consist of a reusable metal straw, a cloth shopping bag, and a container for leftovers.
6. Stay in one place if you can
Another great way to make your travel more sustainable is to avoid hopping from one hotel to another. Making the most of luxurious offers is fun but also think about the unnecessary laundry you’re creating. Checking in a new hotel means getting a clean room with freshly washed bed sheets.
Likewise, it’s okay to tell hotel staff not to change your towel during your stay. Just hang up your towel and reuse it.
Furthermore, leave the ‘do not disturb’ sign on your hotel door. It will help reduce the excessive washing of linen. Staying in one place can leave a positive impact on the environment since it reduces water and energy usage.
7.Use eco-friendly toiletries in hotels
Hotels these days are involved in sustainable tourism or green travel programs. For instance, Marriott’s bathrooms are now equipped with bulk dispensers to end the use of disposable plastic products.
But since not all hotels have embraced sustainability, you might want to bring your eco-friendly toiletries with you.
Here are sustainable tourism practices for travel toiletries:
- Use shampoo and conditioner bars instead of the ones with plastic bottle containers. Shampoo and conditioner bars can last for around 90 washes.
- If possible, try to swap your plastic toothbrush for a bamboo toothbrush. With it, you can clean your teeth without the fear of negatively impacting the environment.
- You might also want to bring in some travel tissues with you. With these tissues, you save more trees and also save a thousand gallons of water from contamination.
Final thoughts on sustainable travel
The boom of tourism has affected the planet. It is our responsibility as travellers to find ways that don’t harm local communities and the environment.
So whenever you travel, go for the greenest mode of transport. Pack light and only bring reusable cutleries and toiletries. Sustainable travel can be both fun and meaningful.